30 June 2016
Hardwood Retailer Ceases Sales of Mainland Chinese Wood Flooring as Part of CPSC Deal
A leading U.S. hardwood retailer has agreed to not resume sales of laminate wood flooring previously imported from mainland China and will continue a comprehensive testing programme as part of a recall programme that affects consumers who purchased mainland Chinese laminate flooring from the company during a three-year period. In homes where the laminate flooring is found to emit elevated levels of formaldehyde, the company will provide any required remediation.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that approximately 614,000 consumers throughout the United States purchased mainland Chinese laminate flooring through the Virginia-based company from 2011 through May 2015. The CPSC initiated an investigation on 25 March 2015 to determine whether this flooring emitted elevated levels of formaldehyde that could potentially represent a health hazard to humans. Allegations were also made that the flooring did not comply with current California Air Resources Board standards for formaldehyde emissions.
After performing a number of tests and consulting with other agencies, the CPSC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry determined that eye, nose and throat irritation could occur with the higher formaldehyde emitting flooring samples in certain home environments. While anyone can potentially experience irritation symptoms, it is more likely among children, older adults and people with respiratory issues such as asthma or other breathing problems. Very high levels of formaldehyde in a home may also be associated with a small increase in cancer risk.
The Virginia-based company stopped selling mainland Chinese laminate flooring in May 2015 and agreed that its future laminate flooring products will be subject to enhanced supplier controls designed to achieve compliance with California formaldehyde requirements and any future federal requirements for laminate flooring. Currently, the company’s laminate flooring comes only from North America and Europe.
For consumers found to have elevated levels of formaldehyde in their homes, the company will contact them for more extensive testing of their laminate flooring. Based on these test results, the company has agreed to work with consumers to reduce the formaldehyde emissions levels and improve the indoor air quality of their homes. If those efforts are unsuccessful, the company will pay for a certified industrial hygienist to examine the home and propose an additional remedy.