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Report: High formaldehyde levels found in Va. flooring from Lumber Liquidators

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Posted at 11:22 AM, Mar 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-02 11:22:39-05

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A report on CBS’ “60 Minutes” has knocked the floor out from under Lumber Liquidators. The report by CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring sold by the company contains high levels of the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde. Lumber Liquidators plunged more than 20% in early morning stock trading on Monday.

That’s after the stock lost more than a quarter of its value — 26% — last Wednesday after the CEO warned investors of an upcoming report on the show that would portray the company “in an unfavorable light.”

Lumber Liquidators has 352 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

The ’60 Minutes’ report cited lab tests performed for an environmental and consumer protection nonprofit that found some samples of laminate flooring contained very high levels of the chemical.

Some pieces had six to seven times the level of formaldehyde allowed under California law, according to environmental attorney Richard Drury, who was interviewed by ’60 Minutes.’ Others had 20 times the limit.

A doctor told CBS long-term exposure to chemicals at those levels “would increase the risk for chronic respiratory irritation, change in a person’s lung function, increased risk of asthma” and be especially dangerous for children.

The suspect flooring is in “hundreds of thousands” of homes nationwide, according to Drury.

Lumber Liquidators’ products have long been viewed skeptically by environmentalists. It has been accused of illegally sourcing wood, and those accusations may be behind a 2013 raid on its headquarters.

A spokeswoman for Lumber Liquidators did not immediately return a call Monday morning.

The CBS special report is here.