Lumber Liquidators Laminate Flooring and Increased Cancer Risk


A class action lawsuit filed in Virginia alleges that Lumber Liquidators Chinese Wood Flooring releases unacceptably high levels of formaldehyde. The suit also alleges that the company illegally sources wood from China, including habitats of endangered species, according to USA Today.

Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) which means that at room temperature, formaldehyde is released in gas form, known as “off-gassing.” The National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. Even with brief exposure, the chemical is linked to adverse effects including asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, the suit alleges.

Laws have been enacted to ensure limited exposure to counteract formaldehyde’s dangers. Common adverse reactions include burning eyes, nose and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, coughing, joint pain and nausea. On February 10, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced findings that stated two to nine cancer cases per 100,000 people could be linked to formaldehyde exposure. Only days later, an updated CDC report revealed six to 30 cancer cases per 100,000 people, USA Today reports.

Last year, sales of China-made laminates were suspended after the carcinogenic qualities were identified. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the potential tie between excessive formaldehyde exposures and some cancers, such as leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer, wrote USA Today.

The CDC recommends, in addition to limiting exposure to formaldehyde, people should improve ventilation, use dehumidifiers and regularly clear the collection tray. The use of air conditioners to maintain a moderate temperature, is also advised.