A customer who has seen the 60 Minutes report is now questioning a flooring purchase she was about to make from a different flooring retailer.
“No worries,” her salesman says. “All of our flooring meets CARB 2 (California Air Resources Board) standards for formaldehyde.” He is misleading, but not intentionally.
To assist its salespeople, a national retail group issues an alert to its members that reads: “All of our laminate flooring meets CARB 2 standards.” Another over-simplification.
Most flooring retailers – including those touting “natural” products – have limited understanding of how to gauge a floor’s impact on indoor-air quality. Understanding the evolution of people-friendly products, keeping up with the ever-changing status of which manufacturer has added a certification and what the certification means, is a specialized field of its own.
CARB 2 – the standard cited by 60 Minutes during its March 1 broadcast — does not ensure safe formaldehyde emissions from any finished flooring product. This regulation only applies to composite wood products, such as medium- or high-density fiberboard, that go into making laminate and engineered hardwood floors. And it will soon become U.S. law — with a very needed change that the flooring industry will hopefully be able to understand and explain correctly.