Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in various products since pre-historic times. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the public started to become aware of adverse health effects from exposure and it became regulated by the federal government under AHERA in 1986.
Because of its strength and resistance to heat, it became popular in a number of manufacturing practices. Due to this popularity, it can be found today in a number of residential and commercial materials such as drywall compound, floor tile and adhesive and insulation.
Indoors. That is where most people spend their time. With that said, it is important that the indoor air quality (IAQ) surrounding us is healthy. Increasing rates of childhood asthma, allergies and poor general wellbeing, as well as learning and behavioral problems have been linked to poor IAQ in buildings, in homes and offices. Mold, particulates and chemical contaminants can all contribute to comfort or health challenges indoors.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) to date has, we believe, the only applicable regulation for formaldehyde emissions in the country, but is legally applicable only to products sold in California.
Lumber Liquidators, a nationwide company, has had numerous complaints from homeowners regarding the Chinese-made laminate flooring. However, the concern has also been noticed in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. Lumber Liquidators, in response, began providing free air test kits to their customers using a local lab in the Tampa area.
Indoor Environmental Technologies’ president, Will Spates, was interviewed by CNBC and explains what his experience has been thus far in testing formaldehyde levels in homes that have Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring and the methods used for formaldehyde testing.
With all the discussion about this issue, we think a potentially important factor may be going unnoticed. This is the role of humidity or moisture content in the formaldehyde emissions from laminate flooring and other materials.
Sunday evening, March 1, 60 Minutes stated that the majority of samples of Lumber Liquidators Chinese-made laminate flooring submitted to two certified labs contained levels of formaldehyde exceeding the limits set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), despite the laminate flooring being labeled as in compliance.