Wood laminate flooring offers a clean, hardwood look without the price tag associated with real hardwood floors, but it also offers something else not associated with real wood floors, reports MarketWatch; formaldehyde. But don’t worry; for the most part, emission levels from floors are so low they are harmless.
Hardwood floors are a sought after feature in a home, so in an effort to provide this feature while keeping a house as affordable as possible, many builders are installing wood laminate flooring. Laminate looks like hardwood but is made up of several layers of materials that are all glued together. It is within the adhesives that the formaldehyde is found.
Formaldehyde exposure is linked to respiratory illness and certain cancers and laminate floors made in China between 2012 and 2014 were discovered to have levels of formaldehyde that could lead to breathing trouble. As with most health problems, children and older adults are the most affected. Some of this flooring was sold by Lumber Liquidators until May 7, 2015, but have since been discontinued. Lumber Liquidators is offering a free testing program for any customers who purchased the affected products.
Laminate flooring isn’t the only type of floor that has some health risks associated with it, though. Vinyl flooring contains phthalates, which are chemicals that can interfere with people’s hormones, but again, the levels found in floors are not at dangerous levels. For anyone who wants to be extra cautious, it is recommended to mop the floors often and wash children’s hands who may have been crawling on the floor. Carpet comes with its own host of problems as it can trap dust, mold, and mildew and lead to breathing problems. Unlike laminate flooring, whose emissions lessen over time, carpet’s risks can increase over time as more and more dust and debris is trapped.