CPSC confirms Lumber Liquidators investigation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed that it is investigating laminate products made by Lumber Liquidators.

In a Wednesday morning teleconference CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said the agency is “actively investigating” the relevant flooring from the retailer, and that Lumber Liquidators is cooperating.

Kaye said it would take “months not weeks before we can have some sense of the answers” to whether the products are safe. He added that it was still too early to tell if the agency would ask for a product recall.

Rick Wilking | Reuters A customer enters the Lumber Liquidators store in Denver, February 25, 2015.

Rick Wilking | Reuters
A customer enters the Lumber Liquidators store in Denver, February 25, 2015.

The retailer has been facing U.S. government probes over claims of dangerous levels of a cancer-causing substance in its Chinese-made laminated flooring.

Kaye said the investigation is beginning with the Chinese-made products, but that the agency may look at other types of Lumber Liquidators flooring eventually.

Earlier this month, the company announced that it stood by the safety of its products and said it would offer free indoor air quality testing for qualifying customers.

Read More Lumber Liquidators defends its products

The CPSC chairman said the group’s product testing will try to mimic how the product is used in the home. That has been a subject of debate, as Lumber Liquidators has maintained that its critics are using an unrealistic test on its flooring.

The agency will simply be testing whether or not the products are safe, not if they adhere to current regulations, Kaye explained.

“We are confident that all of our products are safe, and none of our products pose significant health or safety issues,” CEO Rob Lynch said earlier this month, adding the company would “never knowingly” risk customer safety.

The retailer’s stock has taken a sharp dive since the company first disclosed that there would be an unfavorable “60 Minutes” piece coming out—falling from around $68. That CBS investigation questioned the safety of some Lumber Liquidators products, and shares of the company began a slide to around $30.

Read More Builders assure customers after Lumber Liquidators scare

Ahead of the CPSC announcement, Lumber Liquidators stock traded at a more than 5 percent increase from the open. The stock initially pared some of those gains during the call, but then rose to a more than 8 percent gain on the day.

—CNBC’s Terri Cullen contributed to this report.

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