Hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators has paid the California Air Resources Board (CARB) $2.5 million to settle CARB claims that Lumber Liquidators sold composite wood products that exceeded the state’s formaldehyde limits.
Lumber Liquidators says it has not sold these products since May 2015.
“Consumer safety is our top priority and, over the past year, we have implemented a number of customer-focused initiatives,” said CEO John Presley in a statement. “We strengthened our quality assurance procedures, launched the largest voluntary testing program in our nation’s history and, in May 2015, voluntarily suspended the sale of all laminate flooring sourced from China. We look forward to continuing to work with CARB to establish new industry standards for flooring product testing. We believe today’s settlement will go a long way in helping us to execute our strategy, which includes rebuilding our brand and communicating — with clarity and candor — the value of our products to our customers and stakeholders.”
During inspections at Lumber Liquidators’ stores in California between September 2013 and May 2015, CARB staff obtained boxes of laminate flooring samples for testing that were labeled as compliant. CARB notified Lumber Liquidators that the testing showed some of the samples exceeded state formaldehyde limits. CARB alleges that the company failed to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure that laminate flooring sold in California complied with the formaldehyde emissions standards in California’s Airborne Toxic Control Measure for composite wood products.
Formaldehyde is a toxic air contaminant, a known human carcinogen and a respiratory irritant, is found in a variety of manufactured products and is a common component of resins used as adhesives to form composite wood products.
Under CARB’s regulation, composite wood products must be independently certified as complying with the state standard for formaldehyde.
CARB says Lumber Liquidators cooperated with state officials during the investigation. The full payment by Lumber Liquidators of $2.5 million has been deposited into the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research to improve California’s air quality.
Additionally, Lumber Liquidators has developed, and agreed to implement, a Fabricator Laminate Evaluation and Audit Program and a Composite Core Testing Research Program, requiring the company to conduct regular audits of existing and new suppliers and to randomly test composite core samples. Lumber Liquidators says the new programs “will set a new standard for the industry and ensure that all products are tested appropriately and consistently on behalf of consumers and businesses.”
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