The safety and sanctity of the home has always been an aspiration to many. "A man's home is his castle." "Home is where the heart is." There are many sayings expressing the love for ones home and family and rightly so. There is often a feeling of peace and well being around thoughts of home. It isn't like that for everyone, though, in cases of abuse, violence, and poverty for example. In an ideal world, however, the desire to achieve some kind of peace in your own sanctuary may be relatively high on the list of things to do in a lifetime.
Where I am going with this is the latest news from the EPA and Lumber Liquidators about the amount of formaldehyde in laminate flooring made in China. The questions of how and why come up and can be answered here. Last year sales of the Chinese made products was suspended because of excessive off-gassing of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. All this came to the public's attention from a 60 Minutes investigation airing last March.
Investors have been upset and the CEO of Lumber Liquidators resigned and sales and profits are down. My heart bleeds for them. Not. Families have been and are being exposed to unsafe amounts of formaldehyde constantly. Lumber Liquidators has offered free air testing in homes. Whoopdee-do. What they should do is immediately start ripping out the questionable flooring and replacing it at no charge and hope their customers still don't sue them out of business which they may do anyway.
In the meantime, from USA Today, "In an unrelated matter, Lumber Liquidators recently agreed to a criminal settlement
involving $13 million in penalties and five years of probation after
acknowledging it was guilty of illegally importing wood from forests
that are home to endangered species."
So much for ever considering buying anything from Lumber Liquidators.
It also was not until the 2012 passage of the Drywall Safety Act that drywall containing "high levels of hydrogen sulfide were found in the samples of Chinese
wallboard, as well as sulfur dioxide, carbon disulfide, methyl
mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, carbonyl sulfide and ethyl mercaptan." You see, after the hurricane seasons back around 2004 and 2005, rebuilding and repairing of houses overwhelmed the domestic drywall producers and we started importing the contaminated stuff from China. Over 20,000 homes were affected in the following years, mostly in Florida and Louisiana.
I had this horrible thought of living in a home in Flint, Michigan built with Chinese drywall and Lumber Liquidators flooring with poisonous water coming out of the taps. Suddenly the American dream of home ownership didn't look so appealing. It is much easier to bail when you rent than when you own, especially if your family is being slowly poisoned or killed by the home they live in.
I work in a small town contractor-oriented lumber yard, but I am usually aware of what goes on even out in the more heavily populated areas of the country. There are common and relatively easy ways to know where your products come from. FSC® Chain of Custody Certified is the one we use to ensure we don't sell illegal wood or unsafe wood products. I will personally not sell any W.R. Grace products because of what they did to Libby, Montana which is still contaminated with asbestos.
Profits before people is not acceptable, but still goes on. The gutting of regulatory agencies by congress and presidents has been allowed to go nearly unchecked for years and we the people continue to pay the price. At some point just rocking the boat won't be enough. It will be time to sink the ship.