Beautiful Laminate Flooring? Attn: May Contain Cancer-Causing Formaldehyde

A CBS 60 Minutes report last month found that laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators, manufactured in China, is assembled using glue containing high levels of formaldehyde. The company sold over $1 billion of merchandise in 2014.

Signs of formaldehyde

Wheezing, running eyes, coughing, breathing problems are all symptoms of high levels of formaldehyde. Families with small children that spend a lot of time close to the floor, especially in winter, could be most susceptible.

Agencies such as the EPA and the National Cancer Institute say that above certain levels of formaldehyde in the air (0.1 ppm or 100 ppb) individuals may experience adverse health effects.

New homes are the worst culprits for high levels of toxic fumes. Resins and adhesives in engineered wood products such as particleboard, plywood and medium density fiberboard (MDF) may contain formaldehyde. Glues used in these new materials take time to “off gas” and in the Canadian climate, where doors and windows are kept tightly shut, the toxins don’t have anywhere to go but into your lungs.

Since the 60 Minutes report, concerned consumers have been flooding the phones asking questions and demanding consumer protection agencies get more info.

A recent ban on another toxin

Just this month, Home Depot announced that it would be phasing out toxic vinyl flooring which contains phthalates, long banned from children’s products. Phthalates are used to soften plastic and make it more flexible. A recent study by, part of a nonprofit Ecology Center, tested 65 vinyl floors and found that 58 per cent had phthalates. Homeowners indicated their vinyl had been purchased from major home improvement retailers.

What to do

Best advice according to 60 Minutes? Get your air quality tested by a professional to find out if it’s at a safe level.

For more information on air quality tests, consult