Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring – UPDATE

I want to thank everyone who has been contacting us for testing formaldehyde in the bulk and air IAQ test. The phone calls have been very informative and the results have been more than fascinating.

I would like to update everybody who has done work with us on what we are hearing from engineers, consultants, and health officials. The largest portion of all of this is that professionals must tell clients that you cannot compare emissions data directly to health standards. In other words, if your results in the flooring sample are 0.800ppm it does not mean you have 0.800ppm in your indoor air.

Once you have established that formaldehyde is coming off your flooring you have several choices to do the indoor air quality test. They are as follows:

1) A laboratory test should be done by a laboratory that is certified to do formaldehyde in IAQ. Their methods in sampling can be Tubes & Pumps, Badges, or canisters. We as a laboratory prefer small canisters due to ease of use and holding times. What we have been hearing is that you may have to rush the other collection devices back and they may have to be kept cold. Where the small canisters can ship ground and have a 30-day holding time.

2) A calculated value can be done using measure product emissions (what came from your floor) using the California Method v.1.1*. This method includes 3 mass balance modeling equations (for residential, school, and office space) to convert emissions data into approximate indoor air concentrations. However, keep in mind everybody’s living conditions are different so an equation may not meet the needs.

Finally to say if your safe or not is going to be determined by a couple of factors. When it comes to the IAQ test what is going to be the magic number that is going to be used? Many are hearing anywhere from 15ppb to 60ppb and in some cases we have heard 400ppb. As for the emission standard, the majority are hearing .11ppm or 110ppb as the maximum amount and is that going to determine the outcome of all this?

What we as a laboratory have been seeing is even though the flooring has had elevated levels of formaldehyde, the IAQ test have been coming back fairly low, in fact most have met the LEED qualifications of <27 ppb in IAQ in a building.