Lumber Liquidators Promises To Sell Vinyl Flooring Free Of Potentially Dangerous Chemicals

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 1.31.45 PMLumber Liquidators has had a tough time in the news cycle lately, what with two separate federal investigations: one alleging that some of their products give off potentially dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, and another over allegedly illegally imported hardwoods. In an apparent effort to ease concerns over what its products are made from, the company is now promising to only sell vinyl flooring free of reprocessed plastics, which could contain potentially harmful chemicals.

Lumber Liquidators announced on Tuesday that it is adopting new standards, and won’t sell vinyl flooring made with reprocessed plastic, as well as limiting lead in flooring to less than 100 parts per million. It’ll be the first retailer to make such a pledge.

Though it might sound like a good idea — recycling old plastic into new products seems harmless enough — experts say that the end product can often be contaminated with lead, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, phthalates and other toxic chemicals. This is a result of the global trade in plastic waste, which often includes wire and cables from old electronics.

According to the Mind the Store Campaign (a project by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families) which worked with the retailer to develop its new flooring standards, the Ecology Center in Michigan found that lead was present at elevated concentrations in at least 69% of the inner layers of flooring it tested from six different retailers.

The new standards are expected to be phased in over the next year.

“Lumber Liquidators is committed to setting the highest standards for the sourcing of flooring products,” said Jill Witter, Chief Compliance and Legal Officer of Lumber Liquidators. “We are pleased to work with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families on this initiative, as part of our ongoing efforts to lead the industry forward with responsible sourcing practices.”

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