CDC Corrects Error, Finds Health Risk Of Laminate Flooring Higher Than Previously Announced

Two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released their report on formaldehyde levels emitted by certain types of laminate flooring, including but not limited to controversial lines imported from China and sold at Lumber Liquidators. Now the CDC has revised its report, noting that the levels of formaldehyde given off by the flooring could cause higher rates of cancer, breathing problems, and irritation than previously thought.

The discrepancy is because of a flaw in their calculations, where they used an incorrect ceiling height. The CDC didn’t say how far off that ceiling height was, but the actual levels were triple what the high-ceilinged version showed.

While low levels of formaldehyde are all around us, and we even produce it as part of our metabolic processes, too much of it in the air can increase the risk of cancer, trigger problems for people with asthma and other long problems, and cause eye, nose, and throat irritation for people who spend time in homes with the flooring.

The tests showed that the flooring emitted relatively low levels of formaldehyde that could cause eye, nose, and respiratory system irritation at the higher end of the range, relatively low rates of cancer, and respiratory problems for people with pre-existing lung problems.

The CDC will re-issue their report, but announced what the results will probably be: cancer rates would rise from 2 to 9 cases per 100,000 people living with the problematic laminate to between 6 and 30 cases per 100,000 people. People are also more likely to experience eye, nose, and throat irritation and breathing problems.

This investigation began last spring with a report from CBS News about high levels of formaldehyde in prooducts sold at Lumber Liquidators, leading to a federal investigation and this CDC reserach. Lumber Liquidators stopped selling the products shortly after those reports, but the products remain in many customers’ homes.

Lumber Liquidators stock plunges on revised CDC report [AP]
Formaldehyde Laminate Flooring Clinician Fact Sheet [CDC]