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CDC/ATSDR Revises Report of Possible Health Effects Associated with Formaldehyde in Select Laminate Flooring

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: March 22, 2016
Contact: CDC Media Relations
404-639-3286

What

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has revised its report “Possible Health Implications from Exposure to Formaldehyde Emitted from Laminate Flooring Samples Tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

The report was pulled from the CDC/ATSDR website on February 19th after it was discovered that an incorrect value for ceiling height was used in the report's indoor air model, resulting in a miscalculation of airborne formaldehyde concentration estimates. Since the discovery of the error, CDC/ATSDR revised the value in the indoor air model, conducted a quality review of the revised results, and re-evaluated the possible health implications. The revised report has been reviewed by outside experts and experts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The revised report concludes that irritation and breathing problems could occur in everyone exposed to formaldehyde in the tested laminate flooring, not just in sensitive groups. The report also increased the estimated lifetime cancer risk from breathing the highest levels of formaldehyde from the affected flooring all day, every day for 2 years. The lifetime cancer risk increased from the previous estimate of 2 to 9 extra cases for every 100,000 people to between 6 and 30 extra cases per 100,000 people. The American Cancer Society estimates that up to 50,000 of every 100,000 people may develop cancer from all causes over their lifetimes.

When

The revised report was published online today, Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Where

The full report is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/laminateflooring/.

Background

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requested the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) to evaluate possible health effects from formaldehyde released into indoor air from specific types of laminate flooring made in China between 2012 and 2014 and sold at Lumber Liquidators® stores in the United States.

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ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects due to exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

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