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The flooring products in questions allegedly release formaldehyde, which can affect people's health and well-being.

The flooring products in questions allegedly release formaldehyde, which can affect people’s health and well-being.

Los Angeles, CA — It’s bad enough to be facing a parade of lawsuits ranging from allegations of stock price affectations to defective products. However, when Anderson Cooper and the venerable 60 Minutes comes knocking at your door, you know you’re not going to have a good day.

Such are the issues facing Lumber Liquidators, a US vendor of Chinese flooring products that are alleged to have not only failed California’s so-called CARB-2 safety standards, plaintiffs also claim levels of formaldehyde in the products exceed safe limits by serious margins.

The issue takes on greater significance given the adoption of the California Air Resource Board Phase 2 (CARB-2) emissions standard for formaldehyde in manufactured products as the US standard several years ago, which finally comes into effect nationwide later this year.

According to the report aired on 60 Minutes, glue used in the production of laminate flooring can sometimes contain formaldehyde. In low levels it’s not considered a problem, especially when the formaldehyde is encased in the product, preventing emissions from escaping into the air.

The problem with Lumber Liquidators Flooring formaldehyde, according to the allegations, is that a greater level of formaldehyde is used in the production of products for Lumber Liquidators, in an effort to keep costs down.

Such a high level of formaldehyde, according to environmental experts interviewed by CBS News for 60 Minutes, can succeed in escaping from the product into the air, making homeowners ill.

That’s the allegation carried in a Lumber Liquidators Defective Flooring Class Action Lawsuit filed by John and Tracie-Linn Tyrrell in federal court in California March 5.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch (3/5/15), John Tyrrell began experiencing symptoms that include extreme shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, and incessant coughing and sneezing shortly after he and his son-in-law installed the laminate flooring.

“Despite repeated medical tests, his doctors have not been able to identify the cause of these symptoms,” the lawsuit claims.

The proposed class action seeks to represent any consumer who purchased Chinese flooring products from Lumber Liquidators in the last four years. They seek re-imbursement for the material and installation, as well as unspecified damages.

The lawsuit also seeks to force Lumber Liquidators’s hand by having an injunction granted, preventing the company from selling the allegedly defective products.

“Based on lawsuits, articles and blog posts, [Lumber Liquidators] knew or should have known that its laminate wood flooring products were not compliant with [California emissions] standards,” the lawsuit said.

“Despite this knowledge, defendant failed to reformulate its flooring products so that they are compliant or to disclose to consumers that these products emit unlawful levels of formaldehyde.”

Lumber Liquidators, according to the Dispatch report, is “currently reviewing the allegations contained in this lawsuit,” the company said.

“It appears that many of the claims mimic contentions raised in a separate suit that was filed by a law firm that also represents a short-seller, which looks to benefit from decreases in our stock price, in another action against us. We believe in the safety of our products and intend to defend this suit vigorously.”

Out of 31 samples of Chinese flooring products imported by Lumber Liquidators independently tested by 60 Minutes at two certified testing labs, all but one sample presented with seriously high levels of formaldehyde that exceeded state and pending federal guidelines.

Upon dispatching reporters to the manufacturing facility in China, 60 Minutes was told the facility had the capability of manufacturing to the CARB-2 standard, but switched to cheaper manufacturing methods that utilized higher levels of formaldehyde in the wood glue for products manufactured for Lumber Liquidators.

Officials of the manufacturing facility also admitted to 60 Minutes reporters using a hidden camera that products were improperly labeled as CARB-2 compliant, or so it is alleged.

In a filing, Lumber Liquidators said “we believe that ‘60 Minutes’ used an improper test method in its reporting that is not included in California regulations and does not measure a product according to how it is actually used by consumers. We stand by every single plank of wood and laminate we sell all around the country.”

The case is John Tyrrell et al v. Lumber Liquidators Inc., Case No. 2:2015cv01615, California Central District Court.


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Popular green options were not always the least toxic or “healthy” materials, a couple’s research showed.

When a Minneapolis couple decided to replace their mold-riddled, 1950s-era home, they wanted to use the least toxic materials available.

Since the wife had just undergone treatment for ovarian cancer, the couple wanted to reduce their exposure to chemicals and toxins linked to cancer to help prevent occurrences.

Their quest was not an easy one, since there exists no official standard for building a “healthy” home, and the couple had to do their own research into materials, studies and marketing claims to get what they wanted.

The inside of their luxuriously large house now features curved stone and wood walls, high ceilings, glass-and-steel floating stairs and copper accents.

The couple’s non-toxic options include:

  • Cast-iron pipes instead of PVC piping
  • Water purification system
  • Air purification system
  • American Clay plaster on inside walls that resists mold
  • Wood floors with toxin-free, water-based finishes
  • A green roof for insulation and better indoor air quality
  • Recycled-glass counter tops

It is still a fact that non-toxic and green homes often cost a bit more, but a growing public awareness about chemical exposures and potentially harmful materials may help make them become more available to the general public.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Air cleaners for better indoor air quality

Whether it’s during construction or after completion, the indoor air in most buildings tends to be polluted in some way, exposing people to airborne chemicals, odors, dust, particles, biological contaminants and mold.

Electrocorp has developed portable and extremely powerful air cleaners for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications as well as for residential use.

The air cleaners purify the air with a multistage filtration system containing deep beds of activated carbon for chemicals, odors and gases, HEPA for particles and dust, pre-filters for larger pollutants and optional UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of molds, bacteria and viruses.

Contact Electrocorp for more information or recommendations.

Green building standards worry chemical manufacturers.

The proposed standards by the U.S. Green Building Council have many chemical manufacturers up in arms, saying that the new rules would unfairly target their products.

Business groups are lobbying lawmakers to reconsider the proposed standards to avoid job losses in the industry.

The proposed changes, known as LEED 2012 or LEED v4, encourage builders to avoid certain materials that go into roofing, piping and vinyl siding to earn a green building certification.

The chemical makers say that a fragile building construction sector will suffer from even more uncertainty if those materials are being avoided.

The Green Building Council, however, has rejected the notion that the building economy would be affected by the proposed changes.

The standards do not ban any products and instead rewards companies that produce more transparent and well-documented building materials, they say.

The final vote of the standards has been delayed until June 2013, and the standards may be changed until then.

Source: The Hill

Better indoor air quality in green construction and older buildings

Poor indoor air quality has been linked with a wide range of health symptoms and lower productivity, among other effects.

Electrocorp has teamed up with engineers, environmental consultants, government buyers and construction professionals to help provide cleaner and healthier air during and after building projects.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications feature deep-bed activated carbon (or charcoal) filters for chemicals and odors, a HEPA filter for particles and optional UV germicidal filtration for biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.

Building materials with mineral compounds and zeolites can reduce formaldehyde exposure

A new method using minerals in particleboard could significantly reduce formaldehyde emissions indoors.

Formaldehyde, one of the many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that have been classified as dangerous to human health by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), can be found in the adhesives that are commonly used for gluing particleboard.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pressed wood products that use adhesives with urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins are one of the most significant sources of formaldehyde in homes.

Formaldehyde emissions reduced

According to an article published in January 2011 on the website ScienceDaily, researchers in Germany have developed a new method using mineral compounds with zeolites that were modified with amino groups to boost adsorption rates.  When they put the zeolite powder into the sample particleboard, they measured a reduction in formaldehyde emissions of 40 percent in both long-term and short-term tests.

This technology could potentially reduce indoor air pollutant levels, the researchers say.
Air purifiers with carbon filter remove VOCs from the air

The development of the mineral compound method is great news for the improvement of indoor air, but until it is commercialized and available for builders and contractors, it’s up to powerful air purifiers with highly adsorbent activated carbon filters to remove VOCs such as formaldehyde from the air.

Electrocorp offers a wide range of commercial and industrial air purifiers for a wide range of applications such as environmental consulting, facility management and mold and asbestos abatement.


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