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Ask Bob and Betsy: Formaldehyde Emissions and CARB2 Compliance?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I watched the 60 Minutes episode last night on Lumber Liquidators, and I am wondering if you can tell me more about formaldehyde emissions and CARB2 compliance. I would like to learn more about this to understand the health effects of it.
-Peter P.

Hi Peter,

This episode has left many people worried and concerned about the safety of their floors. You’re not alone in your quest to find out more answers!

So what is CARB2?

CARB2 actually stands for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Phase 2, a stringent standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, including hardwood plywood (HWPW), particleboard (PB), and medium density fiberboard (MDF). Composite wood products are panels made from pieces, chips, particles, or fibers of wood bonded together with a resin. In the production of laminate flooring, the core board is made up of medium to high density fiberboard. This is where the emissions concerns come from.

Why CARB2?

These standards were set in place after the Air Resources Board (ARB) found that one of the major causes of formaldehyde exposure was from composite wood products containing urea-formaldehyde resins. California requires flooring manufacturers to pass the CARB2 testing for formaldehyde emissions and to label their products as Phase 2 Compliant.

Formaldehyde Risks:

The health effects of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, can  include sore throat, cough, scratchy eyes, nosebleeds and upper respiratory symptoms. People with asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing conditions are especially sensitive to formaldehyde.

Other Sources of Formaldehyde:

You might be surprised that formaldehyde can also be found in other household products. It’s pretty common in cigarettes, pressed wood, and particle board, furniture, tissues, air freshener, nail polish, soap, carpet, and more.

What are the emission standards (PPM = parts per million)?

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): 0.11 PPM
Thin (<8mm) MDF: 0.13 PPM
Particle Board: 0.09 PPM
Composite Core Hardwood Plywood (HWPW-CC): 0.05 PPM
Veneer Core Hardwood Plywood (HWPW-VC): 0.05 PPM.

The U.S. EPA regulates a Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act throughout the nation, which also uses the CARB2 emissions standards. Manufacturers of regulated products must conduct ongoing testing, conduct an initial inspection through a third-party certifier (TPC) and conduct mandated quarterly quality control testing.

Our Products:

At Bestlaminate, we pride ourselves with using high-quality European manufacturers that have strict safety and manufacturing standards. We take formaldehyde emissions very seriously and we want to assure you that our flooring is safe for you and your family. To ensure you are confident in your past and future purchases with us, we have compiled a list of each manufacturer along with their emission standards. If you have any other questions on CARB2 or flooring emissions, please feel free to comment or call us!

Here is a list of our manufacturers and their CARB2 compliance information:

Alloc –

Armstrong and Bruce –

Balterio –

Classen –

Earthwerks –

Faus –

Feather Lodge – 60 Minutes Laminate Flooring

Inhaus –

Kraus –

Krono Original –

Kronopol –

Kronoswiss –

Lodgi International –

Mohawk –

Quick Step –

Tarkett –

Timeless Designs –

Unilin –

Some of these manufacturers may specify they have a “FloorScore”. Please read the link below to see more information on what a “FloorScore” is and how it relates to CARB2 and your indoor air quality and safety.

Floorscore Rating –

Sources and Resources:


About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy
Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at!


  1. Avatar
    Patricia H Mertz

    We want to purchase Santio water proof laminate flooring for our home, It is made in Europe.

    My concern is about the safety of the product regarding environmental VOC, formaldehyde emissions, etc. causing health problems. I am not finding info on this flooring in my research nor “Greenguard” and “Gold” certifications. Can you help with this information? I just want to know after having 1,300 s.f. of flooring installed that we will not get sick by toxic fumes.

    Thank you!

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