Lumber Liquidators Offers Free Formaldehyde Tests

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Lumber Liquidators said Thursday it will offer consumers free home air quality test kits following a "60 Minutes" report that accused the company of selling laminated flooring from China contaminated with excessive amounts of formaldehyde.

The company has created a page on its site to process requests: lumberliquidators.com/ll/testkit.

The air quality tests can assess the amount of formaldehyde in the air, but can't identify where it's coming from. Other types of furniture and gas-burning stoves can also emit the chemical, which is a carcinogen.

Should the results exceed "accepted thresholds" Lumber Liquidators would consider whether to conduct further unspecified tests. The company didn't say whether it would pay for flooring removal and reinstallation.

The tests will be of the same quality used to assess workplace air quality under OSHA requirements, Lumber Liquidators noted in slides prepared for investors.

Lumber Liquidators installs millions of square feet of flooring each year in the U.S. and Canada. Laminate flooring comprises 15 percent of Lumber Liquidators sales. The "60 Minutes" report focused on flooring from China consisting of laminate atop a composite wood or particleboard base, and not the company's more expensive hardwoord products.

Formaldehyde is sometimes used in the manufacturing process for the composite wood base layer. The lamination and sealing process generally seals in the chemical. However, as with carpets and couches, the formaldehyde can sometimes "off-gas" in decreasing amounts over time.

The board recommends concerned customers open windows and increase ventilation. But it didn't recommend ripping up floors as that might release more formaldehyde and be unnecessarily expensive.

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