Below is that email and our reply published with permission:
I heard in the news that laminate floors from various manufacturers have cancer causing agents. My laminate floor is from a family business local to me and is about 5 years old. My kids play on the floor several times a week. I have extra floor boards, should I have them checked?
Thank you for emailing us. Many items we buy have one or more chemicals in them, chemicals such as Formaldehyde which is a colorless poisonous gas synthesized by the oxidation of methanol and used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, histologic fixative, and general-purpose chemical reagent for laboratory applications. Some products we buy are worst than others.
I reviewed your concern with Mary, our team's Chemistry Scientist, and she informed me that while polyurethane stains and laminations applied to wood surfaces are highly toxic when in a liquid state, they are harmless once completely dried. She does not believe testing the extra floor boards is necessary at all. Nevertheless if you feel that you need to do so, because you perhaps know of a company that does this type of analysis at a reasonably price, then speak to them for their insight.
Either way, we suggest the following with new laminated floors and rugs that may have a high concentration of chemicals.
You will want to "Air Out" new wood floors and rugs for at least 3 weeks or so with windows and bedroom doors open. Keep the kids off the rug and newly installed wood floor until you did an "air out" and washed the new rug or floor at least once.
For newborns, try to install the rug or new wood floor in the bedroom at least 3 months before the baby is born. Do an "air out" and don't have the expecting mother spend long periods of time in that room when the new wood floor or rug is first installed.
With your situation, since you had the floor for about five years now, your floor has been "aired out" a long time ago and I would not worry. However, if you still have concerns, you should also speak with your pediatrician for additional insight.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
Contribute your comments!