Health

Bamboo is not real hardwood.  It is a grass.  Because of this, in order to create flooring planks, strips of bamboo must be glued together and compressed under extreme pressure.  The glue content in a bamboo floor can range anywhere from 3%-20%.

Especially in lower grade products, bamboo flooring often uses formaldehyde in the gluing process.  Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent-smelling gas known to cause several health problems in humans.  These problems include watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million).  High concentrations can trigger attacks in people with asthma.  Even if you are not immediately effected by it, there is evidence that some people can develop a sensitivity to formaldehyde.  It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans.  Other negative health effects include nose and throat irritation, wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rash, and severe allergic reactions.

Formaldehyde can off-gas from bamboo flooring long after it is installed.  It will be well worth your effort to find out if formaldehyde was used in the manufacture of bamboo flooring before you buy it, but do not rely on just the word of the manufacturer.  There are complaints of some companies telling customers that their flooring was formaldehyde-free, but after cutting, nailing, and drilling the boards into place, the installer became very ill from the high amounts of gas released in the process.

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