Hardwood floor making owner sick?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion Forum' started by Jon Scanlan, May 3, 2015.

  1. Video is now available along with your original post.

    There is one other factor you might want to look into (not just formaldehyde) is something called Microban. Microban is an antibacterial product added to Torlys products (and many, many others).

    Microban is known as a "hormone disrupter" and has a moratorium on it's use in the USA. Europe is trying to phase out its use altogether. Products that have contained it in the past are allowed to continue until further legal motions have moved forward.

    Torlys advertises multiple "additives" to make their floors "better", like Microban and joint lock. All of these are chemicals. To anyone with a chemical sensitivity, these will cause upset with their health.

    I'm sorry this has happened. The "MDF" is actually "HDF" (no matter) which would have been E1 tested/approved before it was used in their flooring. Torlys uses this HDF for all of it's products. The cork flooring = no concerns with off-gassing or formaldehyde.

    That means we need to look at the wood on top or some of the other additives in the flooring. Formaldehyde is not the only thing to cause upset to human health.

    Sadly, countries like NZ, Australia and Canada (to name a few 1st world countries) do not have their own "indoor air quality" laws/regulations which means we have to make "case law" with each new health scare.

    I'm sorry you had to go through this. I hope you are feeling better soon.
  2. Not sure if you're lawyered up, but you may be repressed if your lawyer requests.

    Where's our international lawyer at ?
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I sure hope your tendency to jump to the wrong conclusion without any investigation isn't a sign of how you are dealing with this flooring problem. If you had your eyes shut for the 5 or 6 seconds directly after you clicked the submit button on that post, you would have missed the dialog box that said your post was going into the moderation queue and would not be visible until approved by the administration. It's a safety measure I have implemented to prevent my site members and visitors from seeing spam and other junk. It happens to all new members with less than X-number of posts who post a message with a URL in it. As a software geek, you should know computers, including those used as Internet servers, are not smart enough to see you, in particular, coming and block you from expressing your opinions and concerns. We don't play dat here.

    You have a voice here. Evangelists (no matter what they are evangelical about) are sometimes reigned in, but I haven't seen any incidence of that yet. Your issue is an important one and I'm glad you chose us to share your concerns (although I ain't watchin' a 25-minute video unless it promises at least a little sex and/or violence). But don't jump to any more conclusions. Don't expect everyone here to agree with your every word. Forgive those who speak without reading or listening to the answers already provided. And be patient.

  4. Bud Cline

    Bud Cline Tile Expert Charter Member Senior Member Published

    "THE VIDEO" does clearly exhibit the testing that was done. The video comes from a legitimate news broadcast so the viewer is at the mercy of the newscaster to report concisely, which really wasn't done in the video. Non-the-less...all the information is there.
  5. AS1_NZ

    AS1_NZ Member

    Dear Jim,

    When I made a post in this thread, the post was visible and I did several edits to the post to add content, make clarifications, and make some small corrections. During one of the edits several minutes later, I was told the post was no longer in existence. This was after several minutes. I reloaded the page and the post was missing from the page when it was there previously.

    Honestly I did not see any dialog box indicating the post would be moderated. There is a lot of information on a typical webpage of this site and I guess I missed it.

    I know people will not agree with everything I have to say or anything I have to say. I do my best to do research and make sure everything I put out there is accurate. When I made a post here, I was not sure whether I was in friendly territory or not.

    It is not easy to be publicly critical of the California Department of Public Health 01350 building product test for chemicals of concern and point out the deficiencies of it. There is a lot I could say about the analysis of that test in relation to the particular floorboards that I got, but for reasons that I cannot explain now I cannot go into much more detail about it now.

    I will be responding to the other posts this evening if I have some time. Otherwise, over the next couple of days.

    Really my purpose here, is just simply to introduce myself and answer any questions people might have and to provide more insight on the case. I am already very well supported with this case. It probably would surprise some with the extensive amount of evidence that exists and work that has been put into this case.

  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Probably when you added a link (URL) to the video. I already explained the spam prevention feature. It's there for a reason. It works as designed. You don't have to go looking for the warning dialog box, it appears before your very eyes. It may be quick, but stays visible for several seconds.

    Don't come here assuming anyone, including the management, will be against you. Now let's move on.

  7. AS1_NZ

    AS1_NZ Member

    I wanted to quickly respond to this one. Yes I know that the core is actually HDF. HDF is more dense than typical MDF.

    Usually when I am talking about this subject I make reference to HDF for the core but sometimes I make reference to MDF because the CARB and E1 formaldehyde regulations always used the term "MDF". Also the testing laboratories use the term MDF and not HDF.

    Anyway, to get to the main point, the core of these floorboards definitely do not meet E1. We tested them at least 2 years after manufacturer, using HPVA Laboratories in Virginia (same lab used by CBS News for the 60 minutes Lumber Liquidators story) and they were twice over E1 at .20 ppm. The core was made in China.

    This is the exact same problem that Lumber Liquidators is involved with:
    Lumber Liquidators linked to health and safety violations - CBS News

    Also, after the test, the president of the supplier did acknowledged that they did not meet E1 or CARB phase 2.

    Formaldehyde emissions decay over time. Which means that the formaldehyde level in the HDF most likely was over .20 ppm when they were made.

    There have been a total of eight scientific tests done in this case. Two of the tests were done in the air in the house and the rest on the boards. All of them put together, show a very clear picture of the problem with formaldehyde being the number one culprit according to a toxicologist who analyzed my symptoms and the data.

    There is also Lowe's who has been found selling these high formaldehyde Chinese floorboards, which pulled them after four hours of this becoming public. Also Floor and Decor has been alleged of this as well.

    You will also notice I will no longer mention the name of this Canadian company as to not create any problems related to a settlement.
  8. Thanks for the clarification. I am aware the "T" company has been having quality issues with it's cork for a while, and some of the engineered in the line-up has come under scrutiny.

    I always appreciate a bit more knowledge re: specs.
  9. AS1_NZ

    AS1_NZ Member

    The answer to these are as follows: Yes. Yes. Yes. My qualifications are being a human being and being affected by toxic chemicals in the air from the floorboards. The emissions from the floorboards were so obvious, they were noticeable by 3 people and affected 2 people significantly. Including myself. More on that below.

    I do not believe that natural cork is harmful. I have never read any scientific literature that cork is harmful and I have never read that it contains any natural formaldehyde and even if it did, it would not be of significance.

    However, the cork layer was not natural. It contains Microban, and it also contains an adhesive or adhesives to bind the granulated cork together and also to the bottom board. Also the nature of cork is such that I believe that while the floorboards were in the box, the formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds I believe accumulated on the cork surface. The reason I believe that is because the cork had a very irritating smell and smelled like the core board and the house filled up with that smell when the floor was installed. Initially it was annoying and concerning but I just thought it was a new product smell. But as time went by, I could feel its toxic effects. There are cork products which are used to clean up oil spills. So I think this conclusion is a reasonable one. Although neither me or the "T" company ever conducted a test directly on the cork surface and isolated other surfaces.

    I have no lawyer. I have intentionally kept lawyers out of this to prevent the costs from getting out of control. This to the benefit of myself and the defense. The applicable law in this case is not particularly complicated (Consumer Guarantees Act primarily). What is most relevant are the facts and the scientific testing, and I am in a far better position to present that in court rather than lawyers. I only have a law student assisting me. However, the New Zealand Commerce Commission has gotten involved in the case. More on that below.

    In regards to seeing a doctor about the symptoms and have them confirm it is from the floor, how can they accurately do that? A doctor cannot. If someone goes into the doctor and says "I have burning nostrils and my throat and lungs are irritated, doctor is it the floor?" This cannot be accurate by itself and will be questionable.

    Furthermore, there are no biomarkers for formaldehyde exposure which can be tested for. It is the person who is in the presence of the floor, best able to determine what is the cause especially being the chemical emissions from this T floor, were very overtly obvious to 4 people, including builders who removed the floor. Although we cannot say exactly what the chemicals are without chemical testing.

    Nevertheless, I did see a doctor who recorded my symptoms and said that in their opinion I did not have a cold or flu at the time. I was literally coughing every 10 seconds while at the doctors office and previous to that and subsequent to that. There was a period of about a month (have to check my videos to confirm), where I was coughing excessively. I never had any condition like this in my life before and I have since recovered, at least mostly.

    The best way to approach a case like this is for those being affected by the floor to take video recordings of the effects while they are happening, which has been done, and honestly report the symptoms being experienced. And to take video recordings without the presence of the floor, and record symptoms. And take recordings of when moving within the presence of the floor and away from the floor.

    The next step is to conduct scientific testing to measure the chemical emissions from the floor, remove the floor and test again so there is a baseline.

    The final step is to have a toxicologist review the videos and the scientific testing, and make a report about whether the encountered symptoms match up with the scientific evidence. This is what we have done. I think this is a well documented case of Chinese floor toxicity and its effect on humans. Also, I am not alone. There are a lot of reports out about similar problems from Lumber Liquidators customers who have their bamboo and Chinese laminate floors.

    At these times in the video you can see 2 of the builders describing the same symptoms I have encountered: 9:30, 13:25, 18:18, 20:00, 21:54

    I did earlier mark the video as private for reasons I cannot get into but I have marked it as unlisted and visible at this time. But in a few days I will probably have to mark it private again.

    The toxicologist cannot determine exactly what levels of formaldehyde I was exposed to. The testing was done in a cold room at 16.5°C. Formaldehyde emissions decrease with lower temperatures. The test detected 86 micrograms per cubic meter of formaldehyde. But a condition known as "breakthrough" occurred in the sampling tube which indicates that this value was underreported. I believe I was exposed to significantly more formaldehyde in the rooms I was in because the rooms were heated and since I was sleeping close to the floor (formaldehyde has a molecular weight heavier than air).

    At this point, I can openly say that the New Zealand Commerce Commission has begun an investigation into this case or is probing the case. This is their website:
    Fair Trading | Commerce Commission

    I can say this now because all parties are aware of it.

    In regards to the Microban in the cork, I am well aware of that and I do have a video where I conducted my own testing of the boards where I believe I detected some of those Microban chemicals. It has been taken down because of the settlement negotiation. I wish I could share it though. You can contact me privately if you wish to see it.

    One interesting thing that has happened which I suspect is from the Microban, although perhaps it is from the formaldehyde, is that the reporter with Fair Go when he handled the plastic that was used under the floorboards, his hands turned red. So the chemicals from the cork layer got on the plastic. This was very clear because the plastic smelled like the cork layer. And the cork layer smells like the core Chinese HDF board which has a very awful strongly irritating semi-fragrant smell. When I was handling the plastic, I got irritated fingers for several days. Just shows the danger of these boards. None of this is made up and you can confirm this with the reporter Mark Crysell.

    After this experience, instead of getting a hardwood floor, I plan to use ceramic tile and put wool area rugs in some places. If someone knows a good ceramic tile installer in the Tauranga New Zealand area, I would appreciate that. I know hardwood floors generally are safe, but I have been very chemically affected by that other floor and I just do not want to take any chances whatsoever even though the formaldehyde levels are well under control in other floors.

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