The March 2017 issue of the ASHRAE Journal features an article, titled Formaldehyde Emissions from Laminate Flooring by Francis J. Offermann. The article describes an error that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made in its report on potential exposures to and health risks of formaldehyde in laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators manufactured in China prior to 2016. The urea-formaldehyde resins used in the medium density fibreboard (MDF) of the laminate flooring in question releases free formaldehyde following installation, but formaldehyde is also released as a result of hydrolysis caused by indoor relative humidity, and this latter source of emissions was not considered in the CDC report. According to the author's own modelling, the calculated cancer risks using the corrected formaldehyde emissions decay rate for laminate flooring is more than 12 times higher than the risks reported by the CDC.
Exposure to Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring represents both cancer and non-cancer health risks. Neither air scrubbers nor ventilation are an effective means of reducing these risks; only removal of the flooring can completely mitigate the risks. The author states that alternate resin systems such as phenol-formaldehyde resin are much more stable than urea-formaldehyde resin, and do not release formaldehyde when exposed to humidity.