March 2015
Indoor Environmental News
Chinese Laminate Flooring Creates Formaldehyde Exposure Concerns   
On March 1st, "60 Minutes" broadcast a report about Chinese-made laminate flooring that has been found to emit high levels of formaldehyde.  The show interviewed experts who had tested over 150 boxes of the laminate flooring bought at multiple locations across California from one of the largest flooring stores in the United States.  They found the products emitted an average of 6 to 7 times the state standard for the chemical.  Dr. Philip Landrigan of New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital said on the show that long-term exposure to formaldehyde at the levels which the Chinese-made floors allegedly contain could increase peoples' risk of chronic respiratory irritation and asthma. 

 

In California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sets standards for the amount of formaldehyde emissions that can come from flooring and other materials.  The California Composite Wood Products Regulation requires finished goods made with hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB) and medium density fiberboard (MDF) to comply with the regulatory requirements and to be labeled as such.  The laminate flooring tested in the report all showed that the flooring was CARB Phase 2 Compliant on their boxes. 

 

The investigative reporters then purchased 31 boxes of the laminate flooring materials from stores in Texas, Virginia, Florida, Illinois and New York.  The samples were sent to two separate laboratories and all but one failed compliance with California's regulations.  Some samples were reportedly over 13 times the limit.

 

"We have been receiving inquiries from concerned homeowners and businesses who watched the program and are now concerned that they may be exposed to high levels of formaldehyde in their homes, schools and businesses," said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.  "People have a right to be concerned, especially parents with young children who spend a great deal of their time on the floor and could be exposed to high concentrations of the chemical.  Health effects due to exposure may include eye, nose and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; and severe allergic reactions including the triggering of asthma attacks in asthmatics.  At IEC, our indoor air quality experts offer formaldehyde testing services across Texas and the Gulf States to identify homes and buildings that have high formaldehyde levels so that actions can be taken to ensure the health and well-being of all building occupants." 


To learn more about IEC's formaldehyde and other indoor environmental quality testing and consulting services,
 
 please visit www.iecinc.net , email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.

 

 

Helping Businesses & Families Recover from Smoke and Water Damage following a Fire

While homes and businesses can be completely destroyed by fires, in multi-tenant situations and when a fire is in close proximity to other buildings, other properties can also suffer damages. 

 

Water damage is often quite evident from efforts to extinguish a blaze.  It may cause obvious damages such as collapsed ceilings, but other times the damage may be out of sight.  This can include moisture trapped in walls, ceilings and crawl spaces that could allow for the growth of mold.  Once mold begins to grow, it can impact the indoor air quality (IAQ) of both the unit that suffered direct damage and other multi-tenant units nearby.

 

Damage from a fire can also include smoke damage which can impact properties some distance from the initial fire as it infiltrates into structures.  Smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that may include ash, soot, char and other materials.  The corrosive effect of smoke residues can begin to cause extensive etching, corrosion and discoloration as time passes. Preventing additional damage and removing odors and residues can be a significant challenge for most property owners as it must be done thoroughly to be effective. During cleanup and repair activities of damaged properties, lead-based paints and asbestos may also be encountered in older properties. 

 

IEC's indoor environmental quality experts offer smoke, water damage, mold, asbestos and lead testing and consulting services to help families and businesses quickly and safely recover from a structural fire or smoke infiltration. IEC also recently sponsored an educational video about fire, smoke and water damage in buildings that can be seen at: 

 

Fire, Smoke & Water Damage in Your Property
Fire, Smoke & Water Damage in Your Property


To learn more about property damage and indoor environmental concerns following a fire,  please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.