I’ve had quite a few calls today, following the 60 Minutes report about formaldehyde in laminate flooring sold by lumber liquidators, about the safety of flooring materials used in our industry.
For those of you who have not seen the report, Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes reported on allegations that Lumber Liquidators has sold laminate floors manufactured in China with dangerous levels of formaldehyde. Lumber Liquidators was founded in Stoughton, Massachusetts, is headquartered in Toano, VA and sells flooring products throughout the U.S and locally in Cranston, RI, Warwick, RI and Swansea, MA. Laminate flooring is frequently used as a cheaper alternative to hardwood floors and formaldehyde is almost always used in the glue that binds the materials together. Formaldehyde is a colorless chemical that many of you are familiar with because it is used as embalming fluid and it can escape from the glue and into the air. Long term exposure to formaldehyde has been shown to cause chronic respiratory issues, asthma and is tied to various types of cancer, especially in children. In extremely small amounts, and with limited exposure, formaldehyde is deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Anderson Cooper and 60 minutes uncovered that Lumber Liquidators, to save money, has been selling laminate flooring products that contain up to twenty times the amount of formaldehyde that is considered safe by the EPA. It’s currently illegal in California and will be in the remaining 49 states in 2015.
Now that I’ve explained several dangers, I’d like to talk about the safety of all flooring products and why I do not sell laminate and bamboo flooring for China. In China there is no OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). They do not enforce, nor do they have in place, health and environmental safety standards. Also, all flooring manufacturers offer warranties and if your floors are found to be unsafe or defective you will have to contact the manufacturer in China. I’ve been in the flooring industry a long time and I’ve have heard nothing but horror stories about customers attempting take advantage of the warranty that was sold with laminate or bamboo flooring.
I personally only sell American made flooring. Our wood is harvested from North America and is from what is called a Managed Growth Forest. They actually plant more trees than they harvest. My customers and I have peace of mind knowing the flooring in their home is safe for their family and is environmentally friendly.