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Old 05-20-2020, 09:24 AM   #1
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Laminate & Formaldehyde?!

So i just put in some vinyl flooring in the bus, and then i see all this stuff about Formaldehyde gassing, cancer, and especially in the Chinese made stuff.


I checked the box and yep, made in China.
I got the flooring at a Habitat For Humanity Restore and have no idea how long those boxes have been around. Also, they sat in a shed for a couple of months since purchase. It will be another couple of months before the bus is used to live in, though I work in it every day.
Don;t know if any of this even matters, because some accounts are this stuff leeches out for a decade.


Any input?


I'm now debating tearing out the laminate floor and using some other wood, maybe plywood cut into strips.


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Old 05-20-2020, 09:35 AM   #2
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What, you don’t like New Car Smell? It’s interesting that Americans In general love that smell, but car buyers in Asia hate it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:43 AM   #3
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Formaldehyde is used in many products and the reason it is more prevalent in products from overseas is that it is used as a preservative and mold inhibitor. Furniture that can be expected to be boxed in a shipping container for sometimes months can be saturated with it.
Several years ago my wife purchased what we thought was a very high end leather sofa set, after delivery and unpackaging I immediately noticed a slight odour that we put off to new product packaging. The smell remained and I developed severe headaches and a cough that continued off and on until we disposed of the set.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:05 AM   #4
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The boards have no odor unless I cut them, and then it smells king of like when you cut PVC.


I'm just trying to decide what to do here. Wondering if if I should toss that flooring and use plywood strips or something.


It's infuriating to have to worry about this BS! Getting headaches is bad enough, but people getting really sick like Cancer, respiratory problems, etc. There is no excuse for this crap!



Now I may have to basically throw out about $200 and spend more for something else. I am beyond pissed off right now. If it was a mistake on my part, or just a change of ideas it would be on me. But this is like being scammed and poisoned!
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:13 AM   #5
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If you stick your nose in a box does it smell? If they have sat around for a while they have probably off gassed their gas
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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https://www.consumerreports.org/floo...your-flooring/


Give this Consumer Reports article a read. IMO you could probably let it offgas for awhile before living in it and as long as it doesn't stink to high hell, you'll probably be fine.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:50 AM   #7
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I say live in it and see. There are millions of people living quite happily in homes with Chinese laminate floors and, presumably, most of them are okay.

Keep in mind the fact that you're also getting exposed to all the byproducts of operating a heavy diesel when you're rolling down the road. It all comes down to your own personal level of comfort with exposure. It's pretty hard to avoid industrial chemicals in modern American life. Fire retardants in furniture foam are pretty bad, too, but I still sit on my couch every day.

Given the gas/diesel/exhaust/welding/solvent fumes and the wide variety of construction dust and debris I've been exposed to over the years I wouldn't think twice about that laminate flooring.

If it's going to be on your mind every time you close your eyes at night in the bus then just take the stuff out and be done with it. In my mind it's better to lose some money and put your mind at ease than to always ask "what if". "Green" building products (like linoleum or marmoleum) are going to cost much more than the Chinese laminate but peace of mind is invaluable.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
The boards have no odor unless I cut them, and then it smells king of like when you cut PVC.


I'm just trying to decide what to do here. Wondering if if I should toss that flooring and use plywood strips or something.


It's infuriating to have to worry about this BS! Getting headaches is bad enough, but people getting really sick like Cancer, respiratory problems, etc. There is no excuse for this crap!



Now I may have to basically throw out about $200 and spend more for something else. I am beyond pissed off right now. If it was a mistake on my part, or just a change of ideas it would be on me. But this is like being scammed and poisoned!
I was not suggesting that you must throw it out, only stating that I did. Maybe the fact that I was dealing with leather furniture there may have been a much getter concentration. As others have said if it's well aired already and doesn't have an odour leave it in. Don't forget your bus will be well ventilated as you're driving and camping. It was not an easy decision to toss $2800 worth of furniture either.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:57 AM   #9
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If after your bus sits closed up in the sun you find that the air inside burns your eyes when you enter then I'd rip the stuff out. Otherwise I wouldn't get too excited about it. That is of course unless you live in California where everything is known to cause cancer.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:58 AM   #10
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If after your bus sits closed up in the sun you find that the air inside burns your eyes when you enter then I'd rip the stuff out. Otherwise I wouldn't get too excited about it. That is of course unless you live in California where everything is known to cause cancer.
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Even coffee! Such BS!
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:04 AM   #11
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I'm now debating tearing out the laminate floor and using some other wood, maybe plywood cut into strips.
I wouldn't do this. Strips of plywood aren't going to sit together well unless you mill a tongue and groove into them and even then it's probably not going to be great. If you went with full sheets of plywood and painted/finished them it might be okay. It's your bus, after all, but plywood makes a great subfloor, not a great finished floor.

You can buy engineered hardwood floors (they're tongue-and-grooved at the factory) that are beautiful and long lasting. I've installed a few and they're terrific. Spendy though.

You could also do an actual hardwood floor. There's a used building supplies store in Tucson called "Originate" that has a ton of gym floor (or maybe bowling alley) material just sitting waiting for someone to come along and give it a new home. It'll take a lot of work to install and finish but that would be NICE!
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
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If after your bus sits closed up in the sun you find that the air inside burns your eyes when you enter then I'd rip the stuff out. Otherwise I wouldn't get too excited about it. That is of course unless you live in California where everything is known to cause cancer.
Jack
I'm afraid to even cross the border into California! I'm certain with half the things I do or eat or use in Nevada, as soon as I cross that state line I'm going to be filled with cancer!
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:01 PM   #13
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Most off gassing occurs in the first 6 months (the reason for "new building sickness" being a real thing). While you're working on the bus it's open to air exchange.

I doubt it's a problem...

If handling the stuff after cutting it bare handed gives you a rash or a headache than that's a different story...
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:12 PM   #14
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My brother is a professor of anatomy at a medical school here in Philly. They're exposed to a lot of formaldehyde because it's used to preserve the corpses that they dissect. Their anatomy lab actually had to be closed last fall because the measured level of formaldehyde was well above OSHA regulations; they had to have a new ventilation system installed, more than a million bucks.

I asked him what he thought about the vinyl flooring issue:

Quote:
Yes and no, the flooring industry is one of the places that formaldehyde concentrations can be the highest. I believe that this is the reason california has some rules about the sale of some of these things. In my memory, carpet outgasses the most. The issue is the amount of formaldehyde and the time of exposure. You can be exposed to a lot of formaldehyde if it is for a short period. This is why factory workers need protection. If you are installing in a ventilated location, you should be ok. Letting it sit would be a good idea. I am by no means an expert. We measure the amount of outgassing that the cadavers do, so we know what we are dealing with.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:15 PM   #15
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corpses that they dissect
So a floor of dissection cadavers can be absolutely ruled out as an option.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:17 PM   #16
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So a floor of dissection cadavers can be absolutely ruled out as an option.
A bearskin rug is surprisingly close to that flooring choice.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:31 PM   #17
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A bearskin rug is surprisingly close to that flooring choice.
It puts the lotion on the skin...
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:32 PM   #18
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I'm afraid to even cross the border into California! I'm certain with half the things I do or eat or use in Nevada, as soon as I cross that state line I'm going to be filled with cancer!
You do know they cause cancer outside of Cali right? They just don't tell you. Kinda like Florida and their covid-19 numbers.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:14 PM   #19
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There should be a way of tracking the batch number on the package or the product itself to home in on a production date. If it was produced over 10 years ago (likely if it was donated to H4H), chances are there's nothing to worry about.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:47 PM   #20
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the chemicals used in building anything these days is one of the reasons we decided to build our own skoolie. We were looking at new RVs, 5th wheels, etc. I would walk into a new unit and my eyes would start burning and I would have a hard time breathing. My aversion to these chemicals will dictate our choice of materials in our build.
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