California Consumer Lawsuit Brought Against Flooring Manufacturer for Dangerous Product
In the wake of a report on the CBS news program 60 Minutes last March, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court in California against Lumber Liquidators over possible dangerously unsafe levels of formaldehyde in one of its laminate flooring products.
The 60 Minutes report investigated claims that certain laminate flooring manufactured for Lumber Liquidators in China contained elevated levels of formaldehyde. It has also been claimed that the Chinese facilities mislabeled their products as being compliant with safety standards when actually they were not. The amount of formaldehyde in the flooring may have been as high as 20 times the amount allowed by California safety standards and at a level considered unsafe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Although refusing to admit that any of their products are unsafe, Lumber Liquidators began supplying testing kits with the purchase of their products at no additional cost, so that consumers could check the level of formaldehyde gas in their home or office where the flooring was installed.
Testing Leads to Lawsuit
One couple who were concerned about the flooring they were planning to use in their baby’s room decided to test the product. Yet rather than use the kit provided by the manufacturer, they had an independent test performed, and the technician who conducted the test told them the flooring was unsafe. Lumber Liquidators’ response was that the independent test was inaccurate and instructed the couple to use the kit provided by the flooring company. The independent test examined the amount of formaldehyde in the composite flooring product itself, while the company’s test kits only measure the levels of formaldehyde gas in the air. The couple has since filed a lawsuit against the company in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. The plaintiffs in Washington v. Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. are seeking to represent other consumers who purchased the contaminated product in a class action.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and in addition to the cancer risk, prolonged exposure can cause chronic respiratory irritation and place people at a greater risk for developing asthma. This risk is particularly high among children. The gaseous fumes emitted by formaldehyde in an enclosed space, such as a home, can reach a high enough level of concentration to cause acute and long-term ill effects on the health of those who inhale the air regularly. Considering that the formaldehyde in this case rises from the floor, the problem is particularly concerning for infants and small children who spend a great deal of time playing on the floor, including engaging in physical activity that would increase their rate of respiration and cause them to breathe in higher quantities of the gas directly from the flooring.
Toxic Exposure could be the Cause of Your Illness
If you experience headaches, dizziness or nausea for an unexplained reason, or if you develop a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma or even certain types of cancer, the cause may be exposure to mold or harmful chemicals or vapors emanating from your home or office. There are ways to test the environment and determine whether you are being made sick because of Chinese drywall, laminate flooring, or some other product manufactured and sold in violation of state or federal health and safety standards. Talk to an experienced personal injury and products liability attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. In Palmdale and throughout southern California’s Antelope Valley, contact the Kistler Law Firm, APC for a free consultation.