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Senator Schumer wants Lumber Liquidators products to go, Alcoa to stay

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Staff writer ▼ | March 23, 2015
Charles Schumer
New York State   Is Lumber Liquidators selling dangerous products?

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to launch an investigation into the safety of Chinese-imported wood flooring material from Lumber Liquidators.

A 60 Minutes report exposed concerns that Lumber Liquidators' laminate flooring contains unsafe levels of a dangerous carcinogen.
Senator Schumer ureged CPSC to initiate recalls or other disciplinary action if the product is found to be dangerous. He noted that homes recently rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy could be at risk, and that negative respiratory impacts are more strongly felt in apartments with poor ventilation.

CPSC said that the CPSC, in consultation with the EPA and CDC, should test whether this wood-flooring product, that is reportedly tainted with high levels formaldehyde, is out of compliance with industry voluntary standards for formaldehyde in household products, or worse, an immediate hazard to human health.

More broadly, he also urged the CPSC to do a full review of the standards set by the laminate product industry in regards to safe amounts of formaldehyde in laminate flooring, to determine if a stronger CPSC-set standard is needed.

A recent 60 Minutes report, which tested wood materials from New York stores, exposed concerns that Lumber Liquidators' laminate flooring contains unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a dangerous carcinogen that can also cause short- and long-term respiratory problems.

In addition, the '60 Minutes' report suggested that Chinese mills manufacturing the product were not complying with the California Air Resources Board emission standard and were falsely labeled as compliant.

"Lumber Liquidators is reportedly selling formaldehyde-tainted wood flooring to customers everywhere, and the federal government must step in to investigate whether this product is dangerous and if a recall or other disciplinary action must be taken.

"The fact that this carcinogen may be polluting the air inside New York City apartments and homes newly rebuilt after Sandy makes it a top concern for this region, and it seems abundantly clear that the company cannot be left to its own devices in addressing this potential health threat," said Senator Schumer.

In addition, Senator Schumer is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether Lumber Liquidators has been using unfair and deceptive practices by mislabeling their products as compliant with the California emission standard.

According to the 60 Minutes report, Lumber Liquidators labeled their products as CARB 2 Compliant, however, the Chinese-mills claimed that the products were not actually complying with the state's emission requirements.

Senator Schumer announced that, during a personal phone call with Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, Kleinfeld gave a strong indication that Alcoa is committed to the plant in Massena.

Following the call, Senator Schumer said he was confident the plant has a good future and feels optimistic that Massena jobs are well-positioned to withstand market vagaries and the current global cost-cutting at Alcoa that is taking place as a result of the current down market for aluminum and Alcoa's resultant global reduction of smelting capacity.

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