Danger of some laminate wood flooring was underestimated, report says

(CNN)Everyone exposed to formaldehyde in some laminate flooring could experience adverse health effects, according to a revised report issued by several government agencies. The revised report, released Tuesday, also found lifetime cancer risk from the flooring to be higher than identified in the original version of the report.

The report, issued by the National Center for Environmental Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, says the issues are specific to laminate wood flooring produced in China and sold by Lumber Liquidators, based in Toano, Virginia. The company, which claims to be “the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in North America,” said it stopped selling the products last year.

Calculation error

“The revised report concludes that irritation and breathing problems could occur in everyone exposed to formaldehyde in the tested laminate flooring, not just in sensitive groups. The report also increased the estimated lifetime cancer risk from breathing the highest levels of formaldehyde from the affected flooring all day, every day for two years. The lifetime cancer risk increased from the previous estimate of two to nine extra cases for every 100,000 people to between six and 30 extra cases per 100,000 people,” the CDC and ATSDR said Tuesday.
“The American Cancer Society estimates that up to 50,000 of every 100,000 people may develop cancer from all causes over their lifetimes,” the CDC said.
Lumber Liquidators stock plunges as CDC raises cancer risk of flooring
The original report found the risk was three times lower than the risk identified in the new report. First released on February 10, the report was pulled from the agency website on February 19, “after it was discovered that an incorrect value for ceiling height was used in the report’s indoor air model, resulting in a miscalculation of airborne formaldehyde concentration estimates,” according to a statement announcing the revision.
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