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New concerns over toxic laminate floors made in China

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it miscalculated the cancer risk from formaldehyde seeping from laminate flooring made in China for Lumber Liquidators. (KEYE TV)

New alarm bells over toxic floors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it miscalculated the cancer risk from formaldehyde seeping from laminate flooring made in China for Lumber Liquidators. Now the CDC says the cancer risk is three times higher than previously thought.

Hollis Horner is an environmental engineer with Indoor Environmental Consultants in Austin. He uses several types of instruments to see if the air in a home or business is toxic.

"Formaldehyde is one of the bigger ones because it's incorporated into adhesives and glues," Horner said. "You find adhesives and glues in things like cabinetry, particle board, and medium fiber density board."

You also find formaldehyde in laminate flooring.

A CBS 60 Minutes investigation revealed laminate flooring made in China for Lumber Liquidators has high levels of formaldehyde.

"The symptoms involve respiration issues, eye, nose and throat irritation," Horner said.

This got the attention of the CDC. The laminate was tested and CDC scientists say the formaldehyde levels could be dangerous.

"Well, first of all it would be best to kind of verify if you actually got a batch of laminate that may have come from Lumber Liquidators that was from China, cause they do sell other products," Horner said. "But if you do indeed verify you do have that type of laminate in your house you should probably get an air quality check on it."

To reassure customers, Lumber Liquidators is offering a free air quality test kit administered by an independent accredited lab. But Horner says you can also get your own test kits or hire an outside expert to analyze the air quality.

Horner uses passive sampling badges or intake tabs to collect air samples. Sampling can range from four hours to seven days. You would place the sampling badge or kit in the breathing zones three to six feet off the ground.

He says the longer the sample times the better. If extremely high levels of formaldehyde are found he says many times your best remedy is to rip out the flooring.

"In some cases that is the best course of action," Horner said. "In the case of formaldehyde really there are only two effective ways to remove the source or ventilate the area with a large amount of outside air."

Air quality testing can range from $175 to nearly $1000, but it all comes down to peace of mind and breathing easier knowing your air quality is safe.

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