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CDC Report: Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring Causes Higher Cancer Risk Than Previously Stated

The CDC said the risk from formaldehyde in laminate flooring was more than stated in it’s earlier report from Feb. 10th, and consumers were three times more likely to get cancer if exposed, than had previously been calculated.

 

Report by Paula Antolini
February 22, 2016 1:05PM EDT

 

laminateflooring

CDC Report: Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring Causes Higher Cancer Risk Than Previously Stated

Lumber Liquidators stock shot down 20% after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report regarding dangers of formaldehyde in laminate flooring, regarding tests specifically on certain kinds of Lumber Liquidator flooring products.

The CDC said the risk from formaldehyde in laminate flooring was more than stated in it’s earlier report from Feb. 10th, and consumers were three times more likely to get cancer if exposed, than had previously been calculated.

The original CDC report from Feb. 10th stated that the risk from exposure to formaldehyde in laminate flooring could cause two to nine cancer cases per 100,000 people.

The revised report by the CDC stated that the figure is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people.

The differences in figures stems from a discrepancy in ceiling height measurements taken for tests to determine exposure risk.

The CDC said other ailments consumers could be exposed to are respiratory issues such as asthma and eye, nose and throat irritation.

The issue was brought into the public eye last year after a 60 Minutes report on March 1, 2015, revealed that Lumber Liquidator’s Chinese-made wood laminate flooring contains toxic and potentially illegal amounts of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

“Between 30 and 50 class actions have been filed against Delaware-based Lumber Liquidators alleging its Chinese-made wood laminate flooring emits levels of formaldehyde six to seven times higher than emissions standards allow. The known carcinogen, used in the glue that binds the wood together, can cause various respiratory issues, from shortness of breath to pneumonia. The plaintiffs allege the manufacturer—the largest seller of engineered wood in the United States—lied about the product’s safety. State and federal agencies are investigating.”

More than $120 million in laminate flooring is sold annually by Lumber Liquidators and this includes products in the U.S. and Europe.  Last year after the news about the carcinogens in laminate flooring was revealed the company stopped selling China-made laminates.

 

*****

From the Feb. 10th report:

BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

“On March 1, 2015, the CBS news program 60 Minutes reported that an American company, Lumber Liquidators, was selling Chinese-produced laminate wood flooring products that emit high levels of formaldehyde.

“60 Minutes tested formaldehyde emissions from 31 boxes of flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators in Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Two independent laboratories tested the laminate flooring samples for compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standard according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM International) method D6007 (ASTM International, 2014).

The 60 Minutes test results were reported to have substantially exceeded the CARB Phase 2 emission standards for medium density fiberboard (MDF) of 135 micrograms of formaldehyde per cubic meter of air (μ g/m3) (CARB 2008).

“In March, 2015, Senator Bill Nelson requested that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determine whether the laminate flooring products present a risk to consumers.

“In response, in April 2015, CPSC, the agency with regulatory jurisdiction over products sold to consumers, requested NCEH/ATSDR’s assistance in determining whether or not residential exposure to formaldehyde from the Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring samples could cause adverse health effects.”

 

*****

Latest CDC Report:

Statement regarding Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring Report

Laminate Flooring Test Results – Health Issues and Solutions

CDC/ATSDR was notified February 13 of an error in its report released February 10, 2016, about the possible health effects from exposure to formaldehyde emitted from select laminate flooring samples. Health risks of people who have the laminate flooring are being revised to reflect greater exposure to formaldehyde, which could cause eye, nose, and throat irritation for anyone. The estimated risk of cancer associated with exposure to the flooring increased.

The CDC/ATSDR indoor air model used an incorrect value for ceiling height.  As a result, the health risks were calculated using airborne concentration estimates about 3 times lower than they should have been.  The original report found:

•  Exposure to the low end of the modeled levels of formaldehyde in indoor air could cause increased frequency of asthma symptoms and other respiratory issues for people with asthma and COPD;

•  Exposure to the higher-end levels could result in eye, nose, and throat irritation for anyone; and

•  Low risk of cancer (2-9 cases per 100,000 people).

After correcting the measurement in the model, CDC/ATSDR is revising the possible health effects. The final results are not yet available, but are estimated to be closer to these:

•  Exposure to the range of modeled levels of formaldehyde in indoor air could cause increased symptoms and other respiratory issues for people with asthma and COPD;

•  Exposure to the lowest modeled levels of formaldehyde could result in eye, nose, and throat irritation for anyone; and

•  The estimated risk of cancer is 6-30 cases per 100,000 people. Because of the very conservative (health protective) nature of the models used in this analysis, ‎the calculated risk is likely lower than our modeled estimate.

Our recommendations will likely remain the same –we strongly stress taking steps to reduce exposures, which should alleviate respiratory and eye, nose and throat irritation.  These steps should also reduce the cancer risk.

Currently, CDC/ATSDR is conducting a quality review of the indoor air model and the revised results.  The new draft report will be reviewed by CPSC, EPA, and HUD.  The revised report will be posted when available.

 

*****

Connecticut has eight Lumber Liquidator locations:
Lumber Liquidators, Hartford #1002, 121 Brainard Road, Hartford, CT 06114, Phone: (860) 527-8434, Email: Store002@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Norwalk #1094, 651 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06854, Phone: (203) 842-0840, Email: Store094@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Waterford #1215, 150 Cross Road, Waterford, CT 06385, Phone: (860) 237-4545, Email: Store215@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, North Haven #1232, 430 Universal Drive North, North Haven, CT 06473, Phone: (203) 889-4703, Email: Store232@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Danbury #1263, 71 Newtown Road, Danbury, CT 06810, Phone: (203) 702-1430, Email: Store263@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Waterbury #1325, 1012 Wolcott St., Waterbury, CT 06705, Phone: (203) 721-6145, Email: Store325@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Milford #1350, 1389 Boston Post Road, Milford, CT 06460, Phone: (203) 693-4022, Email: Store350@lumberliquidators.com
Lumber Liquidators, Torrington #1360, 237 High Street, Torrington, CT 06790, Phone: (860) 387-7032, Email: Store360@lumberliquidators.com
 

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105 thoughts on “CDC Report: Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring Causes Higher Cancer Risk Than Previously Stated

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