Flooring, and Formaldehyde
Recently CBS news reporters for 60 Minutes uncovered an issue with Lumber Liquidators bamboo flooring from China. Their investigative reporters revealed that Lumber Liquidators flooring has high levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is listed as a carcinogen by several health standard organizations.
Formaldehyde in laminate flooring can be the source of respiratory problems – breathing issues, and symptoms similar to a cold or flu. Children, who are closer to the floor in height, are closer to the source and are especially sensitive. People with asthma will have problems with formaldehyde as well.
Formaldehyde is found in the glue of the flooring. To make a laminate product either wood particle or wood layers are glued together with a glue or resin that uses formaldehyde. Some of this material “off-gasses” or releases slowly into the air above the floor, and then is distributed through your home as the air moves. Tight, energy efficient houses tend to have more formaldehyde because the air is not exchanged as much as in home where the windows are opened and fresh air is allowed to enter. Formaldehyde can build up in the colder months because we keep our doors and windows shut to keep heating bills low.
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Below is the link to the story aired by CBS 60 Minutes on March 1, 2015. The program investigates Chinese flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators. Several samples of various floorings manufactured in China were tested to measure the levels of formaldehyde that is released. The results are astounding, initially the laboratories thought that something was wrong with their testing equipment.