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Vermonters worry about cancer-causing substance in company's flo - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermonters worry about cancer-causing substance in company's flooring

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GLOVER, Vt. -

Concerns are growing about a cancer-causing substance found in a company's laminate floors. Following a "60 Minutes" investigation, Vermont officials are getting dozens of complaints from consumers of Lumber Liquidators.

"60 Minutes" reported Lumber Liquidators uses high levels of formaldehyde in their laminate flooring and Vermonters who have the company's flooring are now worried.

Alfreda Trucott is putting new floors in her home in Glover.

"We went to Lumber Liquidators because it was cheaper," said Trucott.

But Trucott is spending more than she planned. It's costing her more than $500 to test the floors for the toxic substance formaldehyde. After seeing a "60 Minutes" report on high levels of formaldehyde allegedly contained in laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators she's put her remodeling on hold.

"Worried me a little bit," Trucott said. "Is it the same product, is it not the same product?"

Trucott isn't the only one concerned with formaldehyde levels in Lumber Liquidators flooring. Michelle Lussier is with EverGreen Environmental Health and Safety, an environmental testing company in Barton. She says they've had dozens of request for formaldehyde testing from people who have Lumber Liquidators flooring.

"Had about 30 requests. Various samplings and some have requested bulk sampling to send chunks of their flooring in to see if it's the type of flooring that's in question," Lussier said.

Formaldehyde is a gas used in glue to hold wood together. EverGreen staff sent dozens of formaldehyde testing badges to concerned New Englanders.

"This is just placed on the person's flooring, usually between six and eight hours is sufficient time to determine the formaldehyde off-gassing," said Lussier.

EverGreen then takes the badges and sends them to a lab to confirm formaldehyde levels.

Since the "60 Minutes" investigation aired, the Vermont Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program has received more than 20 complaints from Lumber Liquidators consumers.

"We're asking people to file complaints with us and we'll be sending those complaints to the business and asking the business to contact us with their response. As you know this is happening nationwide and so we're not the only state who has consumers who are wondering what to do next," said Janet Murnane of the Vt. Consumer Assistance Program.

Lumber Liquidators sent WCAX a statement in response to the allegations of too much formaldehyde in their products. The company said: "As recently as late 2014, testing by independent third parties confirmed that 100 percent of the randomly selected cores used in the laminates from the factories that 60 Minutes investigated came back as fully safe and compliant with California standards."

"Wood finishes is one of the products in many of our homes that some do contain formaldehyde," said Andrew Meyer, Vermont Natural Coatings.

Some companies like Hardwick-based Vermont Natural Coatings stay formaldehyde-free and use healthy substitutes in their products.

"Utilizing whey protein, a byproduct of cheese, to displace a lot of chemicals that are typically found in wood finishes. So, we're able to put a product into the market that's safe," said Meyer.

In addition to doing her own private testing, Trucott says Lumber Liquidators will be testing her floors, too.

"I asked when they were going to do it and they're not sure. So, I don't know if they're going to come next week, a month from now," said Trucott.

Staff members at EverGreen are waiting for results from a lab in Virginia where they sent the formaldehyde badges. They expect to know the formaldehyde levels in a couple of weeks.

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