By now, most people have heard the recent news about formaldehyde levels in laminate flooring made in China. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen at high levels and regulations set forth by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have limited formaldehyde levels in products such as laminate and engineered wood flooring.
This isn’t the first time building products from China have been scrutinized. In 2001 there were several cases of homeowners suffering from acute respiratory problems such as asthma and breathing issues. The building products used in these homes were tested, and it was discovered that Chinese drywall were releasing gaseous emissions of carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.
In the production of laminate floors, glues are used to bond fibers together to create the fiber core then a sticker that resembles real wood is applied to the top of the fiber core and a clear coat is applied protect the faux wood sticker. Laminates aren’t the only type of flooring that is made by gluing multiple parts; engineered flooring uses similar glues to adhere a wood veneer to a plywood core. Cheaper glues contain high levels of formaldehyde, while expensive glues contain little to no formaldehyde. One of the largest producers of both laminate and engineered wood floors is China because of its lower labor and production costs. This cheaper product often comes at the cost of safety.
While most Chinese factories produce laminate flooring, only a few can create CARB 2 compliant products. One of the biggest risks in importing products from China is the lack of definitive production oversight in many factories. Many of the factories that produce flooring products find it very costly to use glues that are CARB 2 compliant and cut costs by using high-level formaldehyde glues and illegally labeling it as CARB 2 compliant.
At AdvantageLumber.com we stay out of the laminate flooring market and focus on mid to high end natural flooring options like our solid hardwood floors and our eco-friendly recycled wood solid flooring. We are an American company with American-made products that believes in ethical practices to provide safe and reliable materials for all our customers.