Lawmaker Calls for Federal Probe of Chinese Laminate Flooring

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A Florida Senator is asking the federal government to investigate laminate flooring made in China after a recent news report showed that flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators allegedly had high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) on Wednesday sent a letter to the heads of three government agencies — Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye, Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden, MD, and Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez — asking them to probe whether the imported laminate flooring is a risk to public health. Nelson is a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

In a statement from his office, Nelson said the flooring should be removed from people's homes if testing confirms high concentrations of formaldehyde. "Because this could affect millions of homeowners, it's imperative we get some answers quickly," he said.

Lumber Liquidators responded in a statement Wednesday, saying it is committed to making sure its products are safe.

"Lumber Liquidators shares Senator Bill Nelson’s desire for consumer safety. Over the past few years, Lumber Liquidators has been actively engaged with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attending workshops, offering support and providing comments. We support the development of uniform regulations that are clear, practical, and safe," the statement said. "We are committed to safety and will continue to deliver the best quality product at the best price to our customers."

On Sunday, CBS News' "60 Minutes" aired a program in which it had independent laboratories test laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators for high concentrations of formaldehyde. The show said that samples of the flooring had levels of formaldehyde well in excess of limits set by the California Air Resources Board.

Lumber Liquidators said Monday that the news program used an improper testing method and that it stands by its products.

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— Patrick Rizzo

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