How to Check Your Floors for Formaldehyde

How to check your floors for formaldehyde

Updated March 6, 2015: For anyone in doubt about how the CBS 60 Minutes formaldehyde tests were conducted, here are the details and procedures used in the testing process.  From this, it’s pretty hard to rebut the evidence.

March 3, 2015: Here at Software Voucher, we don’t often deviate from talking about software – Whether it be news, product release date updates, or the latest deals. But once in a while, we take a step back and cover other important news of the day. Today, we’ll take a look at the devastating news coming from CBS’s 60-Minutes that most of the laminate flooring manufactured in China coming from Lumber Liquidators contain extreme levels of formaldehyde, a cancer causing carcinogen, up to 13 times allowed in the state of California.

Why is this important?

Formaldehyde is something that you definitely don’t to have in your home, let alone expose you or your family members to. It’s especially harmful to children and is linked to certain cancers, asthma, headaches and depression. What’s worse is that it’s a colorless and odorless in many applications, so just because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not present in your home.

If it’s so bad, then why do companies use it?

It’s simple – Companies like Lumber Liquidators use formaldehyde because it’s one of the cheapest glues available to in the manufacturing process of laminate and engineered wood. Typically, they will save 10% to 15% of the cost to make the finished product by utilizing these cheap glues, thus helping maximize profits. And in a commodity industry, like in flooring, not playing by the rules can give you a lucrative edge over your competitors.

How can I test my flooring for formaldehyde?

Regardless if you purchased your laminate or engineered wood from Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot, Lowes, or any other store yesterday or 10 years ago, it’s always smart to have your floors and/or home air quality tested to see if it contains safe and acceptable levels of formaldehyde. Remember, you’ll also find that formaldehyde is used in certain varnishes and finishes in other hardwood floors, as well older home insulation products, so just because you don’t laminate floors in your house it doesn’t mean you’re safe.

Here are some of your testing options:

  • First, see if your floor has already been tested – Your floor many have already been tested by a professional lab. Below are the Lumber Liquidators samples tested by gcmonitor.org that may pose some risk:
    • 8 mm Bristol County Cherry Laminate Flooring
    • 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana French Oak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Antique Bamboo Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Oceanside Plank Bamboo Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Warm Springs Chestnut Laminate Flooring
    • 15 mm Dream Home St. James Sky Lakes Pine Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Chimney Tops Smoked Oak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Vintner’s Reserve Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Cape Doctor Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Cumberland Mountain Oak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Americas Mission Olive Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Glacier Peak Poplar Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Golden Teak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Imperial Teak Laminate Flooring (SKU 10029601)
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Handscraped Summer Retreat Teak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Sandy Hills Hickory Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Tanzanian Wenge Laminate Flooring
    • 8 mm Dream Home Nirvana Royal Mahogany Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Blacksburg Barn Board Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Brazilian Koa Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Golden Acacia Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Ispiri Poplar Forest Oak Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home Kensington Manor Fumed African Ironwood Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James African Mahogany Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Chimney Rock Charcoal Laminate Flooring
    • 12 mm Dream Home St. James Nantucket Beech Laminate Flooring

If you own a different brand that’s not on the list, try to do an quick internet search to see if you can find out more information on that particular brand.

  • Home air test kits – This the probably the easiest way to test your home air. You can pick up a do-it-yourself kit at Amazon, or check out your local Home Depot or Lowes to see if their have one in stock. The way the one on Amazon works is that you is that you test the air in your home for levels of formaldehyde (not the floor boar itself). These test kits will typically cost anywhere from $65.00 to $150.00.
  • Floor testing – You can take a small sample of your existing flooring and that it to a local independent lab for testing (you can find one here). Just remember that testing can be rather expensive and may cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. However, if you purchased your flooring from Lumber Liquidators, check out ClassAction.org to see if they will test your floor for free as part of the impeding lawsuit.

Comments

Let us know if you’re affected by LL’s tainted floors. Leave your comments below.

  1. March 5, 2016

    Shaun

    I purchased my floor about 8 years ago from sams club where they mixed up in selling the contaminated flooring as well? Its the roys signature moso bamboo flooring?

  2. March 5, 2015

    phyllis

    Are the do it yourself test kits reliable and accurate?

    • March 5, 2015

      Eric

      Hi Phyllis,

      We found this one that states that it meets OSHA accuracy requirements… however, most kits/options should give you a fairly good idea of the formaldehyde levels when used properly. Just be be sure to read up on some of the customer reviews before deciding which kit to buy.

      Good luck,
      Eric

  3. March 3, 2015

    Robert Smith

    I installed the 12 mm sandy hill hickory 4 months ago. I’ve checked with my insurance company and they will not cover it since it was a manufacturing issue! I feel pretty mad and lost on what my next step should be. I ordered a formaldehyde meter (not kit) to measure the house but I see that LL has posted that you can’t pinpoint the problem from that, since there are many sources of formaldehyde in the house. Can’t afford to replace the flooring or have a piece tested to confirm the issue. The lawsuit will take years, WTF. Do I rip it out and live with concrete floors? Does that void any settlement? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated? Thanks

    • March 4, 2015

      Eric

      Hi Robert,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation and the all countless others that seem to be affects. As Lumber Liquidators won’t take back the flooring (at least at this time), I don’t see any other option than talking to a lawyer or contacting the folks organizing the class action lawsuit (they might be able to help you perform the tests).

      It’s obvious that LL is doing all they can to deny any wrong doing… you can clearly see that in some of their responses to customers on Facebook, i.e. “There is not a single, documented case of a person becoming ill or being harmed by a product sold by Lumber Liquidators”. You can tell that they are not in a position to offer any sort of compensation for the mess… Not something you would expect from a reputable company.

      Robert, let us know how you resolve the issue – We’d love to share it with the other folks who are in the same situation.

      Best regards,
      Eric

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eric owenWritten by Eric

This page was written by Eric Owen, an expert on software news and deals. Connect with him on Google+