Lumber Liquidators stops sales of Chinese-made flooring

Lumber Liquidators suspends sales of laminate flooring made in China

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. said Thursday that it was suspending sales of all laminate flooring from China one week after the hardwood flooring company said the U.S. Department of Justice was seeking criminal charges over the possibly hazardous products.

The Toano, Va., company said a committee composed of independent experts has been reviewing allegations about the Chinese-made laminate flooring.

So far, the company said, the review appears to show that the suppliers have sold products that are “certified and labeled as compliant with California formaldehyde standards.”

A “60 Minutes” investigation in March found high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, in the Chinese-made laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators.

In an SEC filing last week, the company said searches were conducted in September 2013 at its corporate offices by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The search warrants requested information about the import of “certain wood flooring products” under the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in illegally sourced wildlife, fish and plant products.

In March, the company offered free indoor air-quality screening tests to customers who had purchased Chinese laminate flooring.

Lumber Liquidators said Thursday that initial results from those tests showed that more than 97% of customers' homes were within the World Health Organization's guidelines for indoor formaldehyde levels.

“Despite the initial positive air-quality testing results we have received, we believe it is the right decision to suspend the sale of these products.” said Robert Lynch, the company's chief executive.

Shares of Lumber Liquidators fell 16 cents, or 0.6%, to $27.07.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


6:04 p.m.: This article was updated with the stock closing price.

This article was first posted at 8:33 a.m.