Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Round-up!

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article entitled Homeowners Breathe Easier as Contractors Embrace Livable Remodeling. One relevant and heartening paragraph reads:

Homeowners’ awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) has heightened in recent years, especially when someone in their home has asthma, allergies, heart disease or another serious long-term condition. Almost one in four homeowners expressed concern about indoor air in a recently released study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The survey indicated that managing indoor air quality and dust was one of the top “Health Home” issues.

However, as most Building Biologists know, many are still in the dark about the potential hazards of poor indoor air quality. This is neatly summarized in the headline Americans Wrongly Assume Indoor Air is Less Polluted than Outdoor Air. The interesting article from Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News recounts a troubling industry survey that shows that fully 50% of Americans surveyed are unaware that the opposite is true, thus putting themselves and their families at greater risk.

Finally, building materials behemoth Lumber Liquidators, responding to customer concerns that they are selling Chinese-made laminate flooring with high levels of formaldehyde, posted the following on their website:

Recently some questions have been raised about our laminate products. Let me make one thing very clear – our laminate products, all of our products, are 100% safe.

These attacks are driven by a small group of short-selling investors who are working together for the sole purpose of making money by lowering our stock price. They are using any means to try and scare our customers with inaccurate allegations. Their motives and methods are wrong and we will fight these false attacks on all fronts.

To reassure our customers, we are providing indoor air quality testing at no cost to qualifying customers as the fastest, most effective way to measure the total level of formaldehyde in the home. The testing is being administered and the results produced by an independent, accredited lab. The customer is in control of the process, with clear instructions on the test and its results. We will conduct an in-depth evaluation of air quality and potential formaldehyde sources for any customer whose results are inconclusive or above established thresholds. Our customer care team will work with our valued customers throughout the process.

While this seems like a great first response, two lawsuits were subsequently launched charging the testing program is a sham. One expert testified “Lumber Liquidators’ testing program is “the cheapest possible way to test,” “cannot be considered valid” and “will likely provide some consumers with poor data that give them a false sense of security.”

Check out the rundown here (


About ibemc

Executive Director, IBE
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