Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

…Know Your Sources:

You may be aware that the news has been reporting on imported laminate flooring, from China, having elevated formaldehyde concentrations. The Formaldehyde levels appear to be exceeding California Air Resources Board (CARB) criteria. Our laboratory has been analyzing formaldehyde in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for years under the LEED program following USGBC criteria.

We would like to raise a little caution that just an IAQ test may not be conclusive and that a headspace chamber test should be done. The reason for this is that we must realize that we live in a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) world and they are everywhere. Formaldehyde is a VOC and is used in all types of products such as building materials, cosmetics, consumer products and in cigarettes smoke just to name a few.

So why is it important that we do a headspace chamber test on the flooring first rather than just an IAQ test? The reason is simple; you need to define the source.

If you measure only your indoor air and you start getting close to the threshold (10-30 ppb or 12-37 ug/M3) how do you know what the potential source is? For all we know the sampling area itself could contain new furniture or new carpeting, people in the house could be smokers or new cabinets may have been installed. We have already seen in our LEED sampling program that formaldehyde has been detected and no laminate flooring was installed.

Since the story was released, Centek Labs has already received numerous laminate flooring samples from homeowners and environmental engineers. The sample results from China and other locations have been more than eyebrow raising. We noticed elevated levels of formaldehyde in the headspace samples from China and trace amounts if not any of the few USA brands that we have received.

The samples detecting elevated levels are in the process of collecting indoor air samples that the homeowner can easily take and send back to the lab. However, as always they still should have a consultant’s expertise for the interpretation of data.

I know this is coming a bit fast, but before we start going in panic mode claiming we have issues, it needs to be taken slow to confirm the source. Centek Labs highly recommends that you ask the common who, what, when and where questions.

We will try to keep you updated with any further findings and really would appreciate your comments.

Other great information on formaldehyde in flooring:



By |2019-01-24T15:50:41+00:00|Indoor Air Quality, Industrial Hygene, LEED, Product Testing, Uncategorized, Vapor Intrusion|Comments Off on Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring

About the Author:

Russ has been doing GC/GMS technology for over 30 years in the environmental, indoor air quality and BioGas industries. He holds a degree in Chemistry and has been working with many government officials such as the EPA, DOH and DOD just to name a few. He started Centek Laboratories back in 2003 with 1 GC/MS system and a hand full of canisters to test for volatile organic compounds (VOC's) utilizing EPA Method TO-15. Over the years he applied this type of chemistry to other industries. Centek Laboratories is not only doing IAQ for LEED certification but also in the vapor intrusion, industrial hygiene, BioGas and product testing fields. Russ has also been published and presented with engineering firms for vapor intrusion for the UMAS conference in Amherst, MA. He has also helped countless LEED consultants with testing and problem solving with specific IAQ issues to run a successful LEED eq. 3.2 programs. Russ has also promoted the laboratory to be everything green with the use of reusable media and minimal paperless programs. Centek Labs Air Quality Testing in Syracuse, New York