Confusion and half-truths follow report of excessive formaldehyde in some Lumber Liquidators’ laminate floorsA customer who has seen the 60 Minutes report about unhealthful levels of formaldehyde in certain laminate floors from Lumber Liquidators now is questioning a flooring purchase she was about to make.
“No worries,” her salesman says. “All of our flooring meets California Air Resources Board (CARB) 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, and 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. Compounding the confusion, certifications expire annually.
Are you relying on retailers who are “being green,” or screaming green?Each time a regional publication distributes its annual “Green Issue,” loaded with “green” business advertising, I am naturally reminded that some retailers still don’t get it. Particularly when it comes to environmental flooring and interior products.
Their advertising messages scream that they are “green” because of such things as selling recyclable nylon carpet, other products from manufacturers who meet their own “environmental stewardship standards,” or they sell cork, bamboo and linoleum.
Much like 10 years ago when the “green” interior product market started getting attention, these businesses still view “green” as a specialty market that is of interest to a small percentage of customers and, therefore, requires occasional advertising but little in-depth knowledge or understanding. This theory ignores market research that shows more consumers are seeking healthful products, in addition to an increase in the U.S. green building market from $10 billion in 2005 to an estimated $85 billion in 2012, with expectations that it will exceed $200 billion by 2016.