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HOMESTEAD (CBSMiami) – Joaquin Badias said he couldn’t live any longer with the flooring that covered the stairs of his house, along with the floor of his bedroom and den.
He tore it out with his own hands worried.
“It took me close to a week to tear the floor up, “reflected Badias as he walked through his Homestead home.
He said that the wood veneer flooring in his home, according to an air quality test he ordered and paid for and as detailed in a lawsuit he has filed, “contained toxic levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.”
“Your home is your sanctuary. You feel you are in a safe place, and then you are breathing toxic air. It is not a good feeling,” said Badias.
Badias said since watching a 60 Minutes report on certain laminated flooring sold at Lumber Liquidators and manufactured in China, as his was, he’s lost a lot of sleep.
“I ripped it out as soon as I was able to. I can’t sleep I was waking up thinking what’s going on here?” Badias shared.
The 60 Minutes report that aired March, 2015, highlighted concerns by consumers around the country who joined together in a class action lawsuit over levels of formaldehyde allegedly contained in particular product lines made in China.
“As soon as the 60 Minutes piece came out, they looked at their receipts and became petrified,” said John Quarenta, attorney for Badias.
Quarenta continued, “They look at it like this, they think that they are in a chamber with gas that’s just seeping into their nostrils, day in and day out, hour after hour week after week and they’ve had enough”
According to the class action suit, “formaldehyde gas can cause cancer, asthma chronic respiratory irritation and other ailments including breathing problems”
Juan Garcia is president of Same Day Inspection and he conducted an air quality test at the Badia’s house. Documents show that a formaldehyde level that registers “high.”
What were the reactions of Badias and his wife to the report?
“Oh. We flipped out. It’s a shocker to say the least,” said the worried husband.
“I think the formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. I think for years and years we’ve know of acceptable levels of formaldehyde,” adds Quarenta.
Badias pulled out his floors just twoweeks ago concerned that since they were installed he and his wife, he says, have been to doctors about throat irritations and more.
“We would notice a little irritation in nose, the back of the throat. Some discharge, especially at night.”
According to the suit, that alleges unfair and deceptive trade, “the laminated floor wood contains a dangerous level of formaldehyde gas which exceeds the CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations in the state of California.”
Those regulations are considered the national benchmark for safety.
The Badias said they are looking at the future with apprehension. They have ordered tile to replace the flooring.
What is his biggest fear?
“What is going to happen down the road? Are we going to have any more health issues? Who is to know?”
CBS4 News reached out to Lumber Liquidators and they supplied the following statement:
“We are committed to providing high-quality and safe products. Over the past 20 years we have delivered a wide range of flooring to millions of satisfied customers across America. We strongly dispute the claims in this lawsuit and will defend ourselves vigorously.”
They also touched upon sourcing:
“We require our suppliers to comply with California’s regulations. We extend this requirement beyond California to everywhere we do business. Our compliance process for new and current suppliers includes periodic testing of the cores and finished products.”
CBS4 News also reached out to the Consumer Product Safety Commission which said that it is asking for consumers with complaints or concerns over such laminate flooring to contact them at www.saferproducts.gov.
Sen. Bill Nelson has, in writing, asked the CPSC to independently investigate and test laminate products made in China to determine if they present a risk to the public.