Formaldehyde Lawsuit Against Lowe's and Armstrong
On May 6th, 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against Lowe’s Home Centers, as well as flooring manufacturer, Armstrong World Industries, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that Armstrong composite laminate flooring products were tested and found to contain dangerously high levels of formaldehyde that did not comply with the maximums allowed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and that both Armstrong and Lowe’s were aware of test results provided by laboratories in 2013 and 2014.
CARB allows concentrations of formaldehyde of 0.05 to 0.13 parts per million; however, the products sold by Lowe’s were demonstrated to contain levels of 0.22 to 0.27 parts per million.
Additionally, it is alleged that Armstrong failed to conduct tests on their products, which would be a violation of CARB requirements.
Armstrong denies these claims and states that they not only follow certification guidelines, as well as state and federal laws, but that they also perform periodic tests on their products at third-party labs to ensure their products comply with standards.
While this lawsuit is underway, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to release new rules and regulations related to Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) about formaldehyde in composite woods, and in particular, laminated products. The rule went to OMB, who has 90 days to review it, on March 28. And although there have been some delays in the release of these regulations, they are currently due to be released in May, 2016.
It is important to remember that many conditions can affect the level of formaldehyde that is released by various products. Heat and humidity are two factors largely responsible for seemingly higher levels of formaldehyde. Products such as composite laminate flooring in a closed home with little to no airflow on a hot, humid summer day can exhibit higher levels of formaldehyde than discovered with the air conditioner running or the windows open.
NTA is an IAS Accredited Testing Laboratory staffed with technicians and engineers who are experts in Formaldehyde Testing practices, and is CARB approved to provide Formaldehyde testing. If you have questions about formaldehyde testing and are interested in a verification testing program NTA can help you set up a program which fits your company.