Lumber Liquidators Suited in Federal Court Over Traces of Formaldehyde

Using a tape measure
The Manhattan Federal Court will hear a class-action lawsuit against Lumber Liquidators, the largest hardwood flooring company in the United States, over an alleged carcinogen present in its laminate flooring.

The New York Post reports that the suit accuses the company of neglecting to warn its customers about a chemical present in its flooring glue, formaldehyde, as well as lying about its compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards. CARB standards are used by various states to enforce clean air measures in addition to federal standards.

Paul Said, one of the four plaintiffs in the lawsuit, paid $3,000 for 1,000 square feet of laminate flooring in his home on the upper west side of Manhattan. He claims to have suffered asthma attacks during the installation and has since taken asthma medications and begun using an inhaler. Despite his experience working on construction sites, Said had no previous history of asthma.

“He needs to use asthma medications and an inhaler whenever he is inside his home,” the suit said. “His medical doctor told him that dust from the flooring installation is causing the asthma.”

The other plaintiffs include a resident of Bayonne, New Jersey as well as a couple in North Richland Hills, Texas. The latter, Frank and Melanie Graham, purchased and installed 350 square feet of laminate flooring in December. Since then, Melanie has suffered from severe respiratory problems. Amazingly, the Grahams learned about the alleged cause from a 60 Minutes report in March which revealed, among other things, that only one out of 31 samples of the company’s laminate flooring passed formaldehyde emission standards.

The floors, it should be noted, are imported from China.

Scant amounts of formaldehyde are allowed under CARB and federal law. However, in larger doses the organic compound is considered toxic and carcinogenic. Formaldehyde can also lead to death. Some of the company’s tests indicated 13 times the legal limit according to 60 Minutes.

Flooring companies across the country must fulfill strict standards in order to secure the safety of its customers.

Lumber Liquidators, for its part, is denying the accusations of the suit.

“Lumber Liquidators is committed to providing our customers with safe, high-quality products. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously against the claims asserted in this suit,” a spokesman for the company said.