CDC Warns of Greater Health Risks with Lumber Liquidators Laminate Flooring than Earlier Thought

Some types of laminate flooring made by Lumber Liquidators pose a greater risk of causing cancer or other health problems than previously announced, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC said people who purchased Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring made in China are about three times more likely to get cancer than had previously been calculated, USA Today reports.

On February 10, the CDC had said that formaldehyde levels in certain versions of Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring could cause two to nine cancer cases per 100,000 people. The new estimate is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people, the CDC said on February 22, 2016. In addition to cancer, people exposed to the flooring are also susceptible to increased risks of exacerbated respiratory issues such as asthma and eye, nose and throat irritation, the CDC said.

Lumber Liquidators sells more than $120 million annually in laminate flooring, including products made in the U.S. and Europe, according to a quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  In 2015, the company suspended sales of laminates made in China after allegations of carcinogenic properties surfaced, according to USA Today. The discrepancy in the CDC’s calculation arose because the regulators initially used an incorrect figure for ceiling height in determining exposure risk.

A Texas City, Texas couple who had installed the affected Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring in their home two to three years ago are concerned by this week’s revelation because of their 6- and 15-year-old sons. They had completed the air-quality tests offered by Lumber Liquidators last year after the concerns first emerged, but they say they are now considering having tests done at their own expense because they are not sure they trust the company’s tests.

The CDC said its recommendations to consumers would probably not change: “We strongly stress taking steps to reduce exposures, which should alleviate respiratory and eye, nose and throat irritation. These steps should also reduce the cancer risk.” The CDC website has information on how to reduce exposure to formaldehyde, and specific recommendation for people who installed flooring from Lumber Liquidators.

Lumber Liquidators said in a statement that the CDC’s “revised calculation overestimates any potential health risks from these products, and we are encouraged that CDC is seeking a broader review of their conclusions,” according to USA Today.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that to reduce exposure to formaldehyde—which it has classified as a probable human carcinogen—people should improve ventilation, use dehumidifiers and clear the collection tray regularly, and they should air conditioners to maintain a moderate temperature.

The issue with Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring came to light in March 2015 when the CBS News program “60 Minutes” broadcast an investigation into the flooring products made in China. Lumber Liquidators halted sales of China-made laminate flooring in March 2015 and offered customers free air-quality tests, USA Today reports.

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