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Dangerous Levels of Formaldehyde Found in Laminate Flooring

March 18, 2015

Does your home contain laminate or engineered flooring? A 60 Minutes report this past week revealed that some brands of laminate flooring made in China and imported here into America contain dangerous levels of the cancer causing chemical compound formaldehyde. According to the report, certain brands of laminate flooring currently being sold by Lumber Liquidators, the country’s top flooring retailer, have tested at levels 20% higher than what is legally permitted by California’s regulatory standards. Although these standards currently only apply to California, they are set to become the national standard later this year.

Laminate flooring is legally allowed to contain some small traces of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde in trace amounts is commonly found in flooring, roofs, doors, and windows. This compound is used in some inexpensive flooring glue and is known to cause cancer and respiratory ailments. The glue is used to bind wood particles together to make the core boards in laminate and composite flooring. The laminated surface keeps the majority of the formaldehyde emissions trapped inside, however; this chemical compound does leak into the air. The amount of formaldehyde present in your home indoor air depends upon your ventilation and the amount of formaldehyde present in the glue.

What can you do to protect your family from the dangers of formaldehyde?

If you have laminate, composite flooring, carpet, or tile it is a great idea to purchase a home air test kit that will identify the presence of formaldehyde in your home. Not only will the test alert you to the presence of formaldehyde, it will inform you whether or not the level found in your home poses a threat. Your test report will explain the levels of formaldehyde present in your home along with permissible exposure limits.

Even if you purchased your flooring from another manufacturer, it is in your best interest to test your home. Formaldehyde may be found in laminate, MDF, OSB, particle board, as well as in the adhesives used for regular hardwood, carpet and tile. A formaldehyde test will alert you to the presence of this dangerous compound so that you can take action to remediate the source.

Choose a reputable retailer when purchasing new flooring and making home improvements. Many flooring retailers have made a commitment to offering consumers safer flooring options that contain little to no formaldehyde emissions. While they may cost more than the alternatives that use cheaper adhesives, they will be well worth the investment. Look for eco-friendly and formaldehyde free options when you are making home improvements to protect the quality of your home air.