Pierce JS, Abelmann A, Ruestow PS, Lotter J, Beckett E, Fritz HA, Bare JL, Unice KM. 2016. Assessment of indoor formaldehyde concentrations following the installation and removal of laminate flooring. Abstract #1689. Poster Presentation at Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2016.
Objective: Concerns have been raised regarding formaldehyde emissions from laminate flooring. Given the limited sampling data available, an investigation of the potential formaldehyde emissions resulting from the installation, use, and removal of laminate flooring was conducted. Methods: Two laminate flooring products were purchased and installed in separate study rooms. Passive 24-hr diffusive badge samples (n = 79) for formaldehyde were collected over 63 days, including during a pre-installation period, an acclimation period, during which the packaged products were stored in the study rooms, and following installation and removal. The concentrations were compared to exposure limits and guidelines that exist in the U.S. for indoor air. Results: Mean background concentrations were 0.006 ppm and 0.005 ppm in Rooms 1 (R1) and 2 (R2), respectively. During acclimation, mean concentrations increased to 0.009 ppm and 0.010 ppm in the two rooms, respectively. Mean concentrations following the installation of the flooring were 0.038 ppm (range: 0.020-0.058 ppm) in R1 and 0.022 ppm (range: 0.013-0.039 ppm) in R2; these concentrations were statistically significantly higher than background (p < 0.001) and acclimation concentrations (R1: p < 0.001; R2: p = 0.011). Upon removal of the flooring, concentrations decreased rapidly and, on post-removal day 7, were not statistically significantly elevated compared to background. Throughout the study (including prior to and during acclimation), mean airborne concentrations exceeded the 8-hr and chronic Reference Exposure Level (REL) of 0.007 ppm and the Proposition 65 No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) of 40 µg/day (24-hr equivalent: 0.002-0.003 ppm) set by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (Cal-OEHHA). Following the installation of the flooring, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) procurement standard (0.016 ppm) was also exceeded in both rooms. Conclusions: Formaldehyde was detected in indoor air at levels that exceeded background during the acclimation of the products, following flooring installation, and up to 7 days following removal. Concentrations resulting from the use of both products exceeded non-occupational indoor air exposure limits and guidelines in the US during all study periods.