Things may have just gone from bad to worse for Lumber Liquidators—and the customers who have purchased and installed their flooring. According to new reports by the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC), people exposed to Lumber Liquidators flooring are more likely to get cancer than previously suggested.
The formaldehyde risk in flooring first came to light in August 2015 in a “60 minutes” episode that exposed the sale of China-made laminate wood containing high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, by Lumber Liquidators.
While tests results completed last month showed minimal health risks from the China-made laminate flooring that was sold, a simple mathematical error meant the numbers were incorrect; in fact, the likelihood of cancer was actually three times higher, or 6-30 cases per 100,000 people. Greater exposure to the formaldehyde can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and increased symptoms for those with respiratory issues.
The CDC said the recommendations on dealing with the level of formaldehyde will likely remain the same—mainly taking steps to reduce exposure.
After the media first reported the possibility of a cancer risk last summer, Lumber Liquidators began providing formaldehyde test kits to consumers to help ease concerns. As a property owner or manager, you are responsible for providing a safe living or working space for your tenants. Property owners or managers of multi-family housing or commercial offices that may have used Chinese laminate flooring in units or enclosed spaces should consider air quality testing, which could mitigate any potential lawsuits in the future.
We’ll have to wait to see the long-term results of the laminate wood—and whether Lumber Liquidators survives this latest damaging report. In the meantime, be sure you are protecting your tenants and consider speaking with an attorney on how to best proceed.