Laminate and Engineering “Wood” Flooring – The Untold Health Story
Once upon a time… in fact all through time until about twenty to thirty years ago, all wood floors were REAL solid, straight-from-the-tree wood. Not anymore. The vast majority of product now sold as ‘wood flooring’ is some variation on laminate, engineered or composite. These flooring products are everywhere… millions upon millions of square feet found everywhere from condos to your local Walmart.
So why should this matter to you? What’s the problem?After all these products are easy to use and install, look decent and most important… are invariably CHEAP. They are available everywhere… every big box store sells the stuff.
They may also be DANGEROUS… as in bad for you.
You may have seen the recent 60 minutes segment done by Anderson Cooper on Chinese made laminate flooring.
The specific chemical mentioned on 60 Minutes was formalehyde… you know the stuff they used to preserve the frogs in Grade 8 biology class. Nothing can live in it. But it is found in the glues used in those cheap flooring products. It isn’t the only questionable chemical. Our homes are full of hundreds of chemical concoctions these days. Everything from the strand board used in house frame up, plywood subfloors, particle board cabinets, furniture… all these things use chemical glues.
To be sure, a lot of this stuff has been in our living environments for decades. The difference is the ‘environment’ now is a totally sealed up home… sealed up for ‘energy efficiency’. You see the push all the time… seal up those heat wasting doors and windows. Ban the draught. All well and good, but the reality is too many of us live in what in effect is a plastic bag… with little or no ventilation. Then, too often, we go off to work in an office, or school, or lab, or business with even more of the same.
Nobody knows for sure if these chemicals concoctions are really harmful to health. With the exception of formalehyde, which has been proven to be a Carcinogen. However, as we have seen before, some of these harmful connections take a long time to establish. Exhibit A… Lead. Lead in the solder of cans has been suspected as been a cause of the John Franklin expedition failure. Lead poisoning goes back a long way, even to the Roman Empire. And yet it wasn’t banned in gasoline until the 1980’s…
There is a well documented dramatic increase in a variety of diseases in kids… autism, allergies, asthma, and numerous others. The ‘experts’ have said they suspect the causes are ‘environmental’ … as in the untested chemical concoctions we are all exposed to on a daily basis. Proving whether some chemical is harmful to health… especially in very low doses… is a daunting, long term and expensive proposition. And, of course, without solid proof, they won’t say much because they are scared of being sued in the wonderful lawsuit culture we inhabit.
We are all Guinea Pigs here. And this situation isn’t going to change anytime soon.
So to conclude… Do you really want to expose your kids to ANY level of this stuff? Just because it is cheap? Sometimes at least, there are other choices, solid wood products including flooring being one of them.
Just take the time to think about it.