SACRAMENTO - Hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators Inc. has paid the California Air Resources Board (CARB) $2.5 million to settle claims that the company sold composite wood products that exceeded California formaldehyde limits, and failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure those products met such limits.
Additionally, Lumber Liquidators has developed and agreed to implement, a “Fabricator Laminate Evaluation and Audit Program” and a “Composite Core Testing Research Program,” requiring the company to conduct regular audits of existing and new suppliers and to randomly test composite core samples in accordance with CARB’s standard operating procedure for preparing finished goods for testing.
This is CARB’s first documented enforcement action on this regulation, and it may be a sign that CARB will begin to ensure compliance more aggressively.
“The California Air Resources Board adopted the ATCM to protect the public from toxic exposures to formaldehyde from composite wood products, and we are enforcing this regulation,” CARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax said. “Companies need to understand we expect compliance with our rules, and we will hold those accountable who do not comply.”
Lumber Liquidators pleaded guilty to both felony and misdemeanor charges back in October 2015. The company paid more than $13 million in fines and restitution earlier this year.
Lumber Liquidators was sentenced for its Lacey Act violations and environmental crimes Monday. The company will pay more than $13 million in fines and restitution.
Formaldehyde, a colorless gas which is a toxic air contaminant, a known human carcinogen and a respiratory irritant, is found in a variety of manufactured products and is a common component of resins used as adhesives to form composite wood products.
Under CARB’s regulation, composite wood products must be independently certified as complying with the state standard for formaldehyde. Companies that make finished products are required to label the products as having been made with certified compliant composite wood products, to keep records to verify that they have purchased compliant products, and to inform distributors and retailers that their flooring is compliant with California’s regulations.
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