The hits just keep on coming for Lumber Liquidators in their burgeoning formaldehyde flooring scandal. Amidst class action lawsuits and criminal investigations comes news that the company's stock price has been tanking, even farther than expected.
Why? Because the flooring in question is even more of a cancer risk than expected. The Centers for Disease Control released an elevated warning, saying the the risk of contracting cancer from exposure to certain laminate floors is now at six to 30 cases per 100,000 people, triple what it had previously warned.
Falling Through the Floor
News broke last year that certain Chinese-made laminate flooring imported and sold by Lumber Liquidators contained dangerous amounts of formaldehyde, which can be found in the glue used to make the flooring. According to a 60 Minutes investigation, labs found that the average level of formaldehyde in tested products exceeded California's formaldehyde emission standards by 600-700 percent.
A few months later came word that the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing criminal charges under the Lacey Act, which makes it "unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell ... any plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any Federal, State, foreign, or Indian tribal law, treaty, or regulation." Just last month, Lumber Liquidators agreed to pay $13 million in criminal fines and penalties for illegally cutting down Mongolian oak trees in Russia. (The trees protect endangered Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.)
On Shaky Ground
And now, that illegal flooring is even more dangerous than suspected. The new CDC report indicates that even "exposure to the lowest modeled levels of formaldehyde could result in eye, nose, and throat irritation," and the organization admitted it underestimated the airborne concentration of formaldehyde from the flooring. While it admits the estimate is conservative on the high side, the "estimated risk of cancer is 6-30 cases per 100,000 people."
If you purchased laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators between 2012 and 2014, make sure you follow these CDC guidelines to minimize the risk of formaldehyde exposure. And if you are suffering from breathing problems or ear, nose, or throat irritation, you should seek medical attention, and contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you.