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Sen. Bill Nelsons call for Lumber Liquidators probe

Formaldehyde used for laminate flooring exceeds safe levels

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A member of Congress is calling for a federal investigation into Lumber Liquidators.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson wants to know if the company broke federal law about false marketing claims by selling laminate flooring that contain unsafe levels of the cancer-causing chemical, formaldehyde. 

A "60 Minutes" report on Sunday revealed the presence of formaldehyde in the company's flooring.

Nelson sent a letter to several national organizations -- including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) -- asking to open an investigation on the laminate flooring -- and whether the company that sells it made false marketing claims.

"We want a good quality product, a safe product -- our product is what we say it is and it's safe for your kids its safe for you," said chairman and founder of Lumber Liquidators, Tom Sullivan.

Sullivan earlier promised his products were safe. But the company is now under fire after the "60 Minutes" piece revealed that laminate made in China and sold by the retail giant contained significant amounts of the toxic chemical that can cause cancer and lead to other conditions such as skin, eye, nose and throat irritations.

"I studied the data, I have testified in court for 40 years that formaldehyde is highly toxic. The cause is not just eye irritation, eye damage, nose irritation, throat irritation but I testified in a trial in Georgia where formaldehyde exposure caused nasal cancer with chronic exposure so laminate made in China exceeds the levels of formaldehyde," said Dr. Richard Lipsey, a forensic toxicologist.

Lipsey has had over 100 cases involving the Chinese government and their products, and said the formaldehyde used in the glue for the laminate flooring exceeds safe levels without a doubt.

Nelson sent a letter calling for a federal investigation into the flooring, including the statement: "Because this could affect millions of homeowners, it's imperative we get some answers quickly."

Lipsey said if you have laminate flooring in your home and are concerned, there's something you can do.

"You can file a lawsuit, but first, get the laminate out of your home and air the house out with activated charcoal filters, then find a toxic lawyer in Jacksonville. I work for dozens of them in the last 40 years as a forensic toxicologist, suing manufacturers and distributors with formaldehyde in their products," said Lipsey.

Lumber Liquidators' response to the recent report was that they are "a leader in safety." The company said Wednesday they share Sen. Nelson's desire for consumer safety and that they've been working with the government on safety regulations over the past several years.