Lumber Liquidators, under investigation for selling Chinese-made laminate flooring with excessive levels of formaldehyde, is busy buffing its environmental image.
The company announced that it has opened a retail outlet in Santa Barbara, California, that aims for LEED certification. The store is the first of the company’s 360 outlets to do so. The U.S. Green Building Council, which administers LEED, says on its web site that thee store’s certification is “in progress.”
The new 7,400-square-foot facility includes a 1,690-square-foot showroom that houses more than 400 varieties of flooring. But not the Chinese-made laminate flooring that prompted a scathing 60 Minutes report in March and a subsequent announcement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that it would investigate.
60 Minutes said that the national chain, with retail operations in 46 states, was selling 100 million square feet of laminate flooring a year. More than half of it came from China, and samples tested on behalf of the television show contained six or seven times as much as formaldehyde as allowed by California regulations.
At certain exposure levels, formaldehyde causes a variety of health problems and, over time, increases the risk of some types of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The chemical is found in a resin that’s used to glue the various components of laminate flooring together.
Company officials insisted the flooring was safe, but later said that it would stop selling any laminate flooring manufactured in China.
The federal probe is apparently still underway. Neither the CPSC nor Lumber Liquidators has announced any results of floor testing and GBA was unable to reach anyone in the CPSC’s press office for comment.
Lumber Liquidators CEO Bob Lynch abruptly quit in May, and its chief financial officer, Dan Terrell, was out on June 1, Forbes reported.
Share prices have fallen from $63.69 in mid-February to $20.72 on July 13.