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More on tests used to investigate Lumber Liquidators

The following information will help to explain the tests commissioned by 60 Minutes for the report broadcast on March 1, 2015

Update: The California Air Resources Board has updated information for consumers. Please find that information by following this link: http://www.arb.ca.gov/html/fact_sheets/composite_wood_flooring_faq.pdf


60 Minutes purchased 31 boxes of Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators stores in Virginia, Florida, Texas, Illinois and New York and sent them to two certified labs, HPVA and Benchmark International, for two kinds of tests.

First the labs tested the products for CARB (California Air Resources Board) 2 compliance. CARB's emissions standards regulate the formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products used in finished goods such as laminate flooring. The underlying medium density fiberboard, or "core" of the product must pass CARB's emissions standards in order for the product to be sold legally in California. CARB publishes its official methodology for analyzing formaldehyde emissions in finished goods - or "SOP" (Standard Operating Procedure for testing finished goods) on its website. 60 Minutes also confirmed with CARB officials that this deconstructive test method is the way they test finished goods for CARB formaldehyde emissions compliance. The labs tested Lumber Liquidators' Chinese-made laminates, using the method that CARB developed and uses. Thirty of the 31 samples tested contained levels of formaldehyde emissions that exceed the limits set by CARB. It is illegal to sell laminates in California which exceed the formaldehyde emissions limits set by CARB. The labs found that the highest-emitting Lumber Liquidators product tested released 13 times more formaldehyde than the CARB Phase 2 limits.

The second test the labs did was the CDPH (California Department of Public Health test) 01350 test, which measures the concentration of formaldehyde emissions coming off the laminates into the air of a typical home. The highest-emitting Lumber Liquidators sample that the labs tested emitted a concentration of formaldehyde into the air of a typical home that the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has cited as "polluted indoor conditions."

To see the test results, click here.