The recent revelations by CBS on 60 Minutes are confirmation that some Chinese laminate producers have deceived and misled consumers for many years. Importers of these dangerous products must also accept their share of the responsibility for disregarding the dangers of selling flooring with levels of formaldehyde exceeding the maximum allowable limit. These manufacturers and importers based their decisions to purchase and sell this material based solely on cost knowing full well there is always a reason for low prices.
CBS reports that all samples of Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators that were tested failed to meet California Formaldehyde Emissions Standards; averaging 6-7 times above the standard and some as hight as almost 20 times. While this report specifically investigated Lumber Liquidators, the segment has since gone viral resulting in consumers reacting by removing these floors at their own expense for fear that the product may cause health issues.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and is responsible for a myriad of other diseases. Long term exposure at these levels can cause certain cancers, chronic respiratory issues and irritation of the eye, nose and throat; children are more likely to be affected and show symptoms.
As the segment on 60 Minutes revealed, some Chinese laminate producers have intentionally misrepresented their products by labelling them as CARB II compliant when they were not; these manufacturer’s essentially made CARB II compliancy an optional upgrade at a higher cost. In Canada there are no rules regulating emission levels, only voluntary guidelines for imported floors and as a company which doesn’t sacrifice quality for profit we need to educate our customers and the public at large about the potential dangers of selecting product based solely on the price.
At Stevens Omni, we import laminate flooring produced in Germany and Belgium, manufactuered to strict specifications mandated by the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring; this includes meeting the European E1 standard for formaldehyde emissions which is a higher standard than CARB. Kronotex and Balterio have public web sites which provide accurate specifications, standards and statements on formaldehyde emissions.
We have put together the folloring list of URLs to provide more information on this serious issue as well as links to our laminate manufacturer’s statements regarding formaldehyde emissions. We encourage every one of our customers to view the 60 Minutes report and become familiar with all of the resources provided below. These links can also be found on our website and Facebook Page.