A 60 Minutes investigation revealed that Lumber Liquidators sold Chinese-made flooring that was contaminated with high levels of a chemical that can cause cancer. Now it has agreed to a government demand to test all of the flooring.
Betty Banks learned she had Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring in her Texas home last year. She believes it was making her sick.
"I was experiencing runny nose, runny eyes, dry hacking cough." She said she had no idea there was a need to test the flooring.
As part of an undercover investigation, 60 Minutes went inside some of the Chinese factories where the laminate boards were made. Their investigation revealed workers were using boards with higher levels of formaldehyde to make Lumber Liquidator's laminate in order to cut costs.
The flooring was sold between 2011 and 2015, and was purchased by 614,000 customers in the United States. Lumber Liquidators has tested the air quality in only a fraction of those homes -- 17,000.
But the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is now requiring Lumber Liquidators use a more stringent measure to test the flooring and wants all homes to be tested under a new recall program.
"There is concern that some homes could still have harmful levels of formaldehyde coming from certain products from the company, and the safest course of action is to ... get the test kit and follow the steps that we laid out," said Elliot Kaye, the commission's chairman.
Customers must request test kits from the company, and are asked not to remove the flooring on their own, as that could cause exposure to the chemical.
Betty Banks said she could not wait. She paid to have the boards removed, but says she's run out of money for a new floor.
"You would never believe the agony that I've been going through."
Lumber Liquidators is facing more than 200 class action lawsuits. The company has agreed not to sell 22 million feet of the Chinese-made boards like the ones that were in Banks' home, and will replace flooring found to be unsafe.
Lumber Liquidators released a statement on the agreement on behalf of CEO John Presley:
"Today's agreement with the CPSC validates the actions we voluntarily took over the last year and puts another legacy regulatory issue behind us. Importantly, the announcement is not a mandatory product recall. Instead, it provides for a continuation of the free testing program we launched for customers last year. To date, we have completed 17,000 home air tests and 1,300 flooring tests and every piece of laminate tested has fallen within remediation guidelines. Over the last year, we have resolved all outstanding issues with health and safety regulatory officials, taken specific steps to strengthen our compliance process, appointed new leadership and refocused all our efforts on delivering quality products to our customers," said John Presley, CEO of Lumber Liquidators.
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