Why is flooring so toxic?

Some kinds of flooring raise the risk of cancer, warn the Centers for Disease Control in a report released this month. They tested laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators between 2012 and 2014 and found levels of formaldehyde high enough to trigger asthma, irritate eyes and throat, and elevate cancer risk to as much as 30 cases per 100,000 people.

Without a doubt, the first question to ask is whether your family’s health is at risk. There are steps you can, and should, take to protect health.

But Oregon Environmental Council is asking some other tough questions, too:

Seriously. Do flooring materials have to be made with toxics?

  • It is not only possible to make safer flooring, it’s widely available. Some of the safer alternatives come from Oregon. OSU and other university researchers have developed alternatives, and Oregon regon companies, are putting them into use. Ask for low-VOC or no added formaldehyde products, or look for FloorScore certification. But there’s no law to stop stores from selling pressed wood products with high levels of formaldehyde.

If these chemicals are so harmful, why isn’t there a law?

  • Because our federal process is slow, slow, slow. Authorities have spent eight years wading through the process and have not yet put a law in place to limit formaldehyde.

Isn’t there a better way?

  • Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 3.00.42 PMYes. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission points to California’s law as the standard for safer products. The label pictured here shows that a product meets the state’s health-protective standards.

Arrgh! Why is national toxics law so broken?

  • We’ve been asking ourselves the same question for decades. But we haven’t just waited for an answer. We’ve pushed Oregon to step up and take action on toxic chemicals with the Toxic Free Kids Act, an executive order on green chemistry and other laws to protect people from exposure to hazardous chemicals.

I’m mad! What can I do?

  • It’s not just about formaldehyde—it’s about how our nation manages tens of thousands of chemicals in everyday products. It’s time to overhaul the broken Toxic Substances Control Act.

Congress is closer than ever to passing reform. But there’s a lot of details to work out, and a lot of pressure from the chemical industry to put profit first. You can be a voice for putting health first. Sign the petition with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

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