Investigation raises questions about formaldehyde in Minnesota floors

Lumber Liquidators says anyone who has purchased laminate flooring can return it, as the company stands by its products.

A "60 Minutes" investigation revealed China-made flooring sold at the stores contains unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a chemical linked to cancer.

But Fox 9 hasn't gotten a clear answer in response to our queries about what customers who have already installed the flooring can do.

One such customer is Zach Stoeker, whose been living in a house with laminate floors since last August.

In the wake of the "60 Minutes" investigation, Stoeker is trying to figure out where his floors came from.

"We'll certainly have to call our builders to see if it's a problem, then if it's a problem we'll certainly have to fix it," he says.

The flooring in question is made in China, where it's allegedly being mislabeled as safe. Formaldehyde is used in the flooring's glue. It's a chemical that can be released into the air, and concentrated exposure can be harmful, especially for children.

It's legal, however, in trace amounts in wood found in many household items.

Shawn Nelson, former president of the Twin Cities Builders Association, says the "60 Minutes" investigation has raised difficult questions.

"We're trying to understand the scope of this," he says. "Is it isolated to the specific manufacturer that was brought up? If so, how do people go about addressing that issue?"

Lumber Liquidators has six locations in Minnesota. The company released a statement saying they stand by their products, but are looking into product safety concerns at its Chinese mills.

Management is offering refunds on new laminate flooring, but the aforementioned question about customers who have already installed the product remains an open one.

The Department of Health says there are a few ways to check for formaldehyde. Take a sample of your flooring to a lab to get it tested, or buy a formaldehyde detector to check your air quality at home.

But both options, unfortunately, can be expensive.


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