Feds investigate safety of Lumber Liquidators flooring

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating Lumber Liquidators Chinese-made laminate flooring after a national TV broadcast raised concerns over levels of formaldehyde.

Chairman Elliot F. Kaye said Wednesday that the agency is taking the issue seriously and is working to get answers for consumers, but it's too early to tell whether any flooring would be recalled.

"As a parent of young children, I completely understand and share the strong desire that parents and other consumers have to know as soon as possible whether these products present a health risk," Kaye said.

The agency is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Trade Commission.

The move comes after a report on CBS' "60 Minutes" this month that said Lumber Liquidators' laminate flooring made in China contains high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) have both called for investigations.

The discount hardwood flooring retailer's stock jumped on news of the probe, rising $3.03, or 10.5%, to $31.86. The Toano, Va., company has said it complies with regulations for its products, including California standards for formaldehyde emissions.

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. said in a statement that it wants to reassure consumers that its flooring is safe, and it looks forward to addressing the issues with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies and lawmakers who have questions about its products. The company said Wednesday that it is fully cooperating and already has provided a significant amount of testing and safety information to the agency.

The company's executives also have criticized "60 Minutes," saying that the television program "distorted the facts" and used a test for its report that was not a "real-world" test. The Federal Wood Industries Coalition said this month that "deconstructive testing" removes a coating on laminate flooring that helps to reduce formaldehyde emissions and that the testing method is not required to meet California standards.

Lumber Liquidators has more than 350 locations in North America.

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