After several residents in the Colorado municipalities of Firestone, Aurora, Parker and Commerce City were told to evacuate their new homes due to concerns over formaldehyde exposure, property management Colorado teams have had to reevaluate their real estate portfolios regarding dangerous materials.
It appears the problems occurring in the municipalities have been caused by floor joists produced by the Seattle-based lumber company, Weyerhaeuser. The company has issued a recall on their product named “TJI Joists with Flak Jacket Protection” and has stopped production and sales of the line. The floor joists had been coated in a formaldehyde based resin to improve fire resistance.
All of the affected homes were built after December 1, 2016. The problem is most noticeable in homes with unfinished basements. Home dwellers have commented on a strong smell similar to pickles and even a burning sensation of the eyes when entering the basement. Weyerhaeuser admits that there are approximately 2200 affected homes throughout the country, although the company’s President and CEO has been quoted as saying they “are absolutely committed to doing the right thing and resolving this situation as quickly as possible.” The company plans to spend $50 to $60 million to remediate the problems in affected homes.
Property management Colorado teams have been urged to inspect their newer homes for floor joists coated in the Flak Jacket resin, strong odors in basements or to simply have the property tested if there are any doubts. Several builders stopped construction on affected homes due to the safety concerns.
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound that, in the short term, can irritate the eyes, nose and throat causing coughing fits and watery eyes. Long term exposure can result in skin conditions, asthma-like respiratory problems and may also cause cancer.
Formaldehyde that is normally present in low levels in outdoor and indoor air is considered safe. That said, if property managers, homeowners or renters suspect there may be larger formaldehyde problems in their home, there are formaldehyde tests and detectors available. However, it’s been noted that home testing kits can be unreliable. Getting expert analysis by an environmental engineer, although expensive, is the best bet.