Wednesday, March 2, 2016

CDC Can't Add

That's what happens when corporate concerns get in the way of their vi$ion:

"Math blunder reignited doubts about Lumber Liquidators; CDC used wrong measure in review of floor samples" by Matt Townsend Bloomberg News  February 23, 2016

It was a simple error — mistaking feet for meters.

But that single false step by US health officials managed to reignite the debate swirling around Lumber Liquidators Inc. and the supposed dangers of its laminate flooring imported from China. The development is the latest twist in an almost year-long saga that has pitted short sellers and the ‘‘60 Minutes’’ news program against the retailer.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month that tests on the company’s products showed minimal health risks, which renewed confidence in the chain as the stock rebounded.

Now the agency has corrected those findings because of the math flub, saying formaldehyde exposure is three times higher than previously projected, although the risk of cancer remains low. In response, investors fled the stock, with the shares tumbling 20 percent on Monday. The revised findings come just as Lumber Liquidators prepares to enter the time of year when spending on home improvement surges.

Do you $ee what is more important to my pre$$?

‘‘It is really the last thing they needed,’’ said Seema Shah, a retail analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. ‘‘This brings formaldehyde back to the forefront. This is really not good news.’’

Yeah, it's about the money and cheap and inferior products poisoning you in that $hit hole you call a home.

The initial ‘‘60 Minutes’’ report on Lumber Liquidators on March 1 was nothing less than devastating. It showed Chinese suppliers saying that flooring made for Lumber Liquidators wasn’t compliant with California regulations even though it was labeled as such. A lawyer and an environmental advocate, who were both backed by short sellers, were featured bashing the company, along with Whitney Tilson, the investor who pitched the story idea to the show.

The fallout from the story hitting a mainstream audience was massive. Sales tumbled and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission opened an investigation. The company had to spend heavily on lawyers, consultants, and sending out test kits to customers. Less than three months later, the chief financial officer and chief executive officer were gone.

The chain got a bit of a reprieve in December when Tilson said he had ended his short bet against the company because he believed that management was probably unaware of the formaldehyde problems. He declined to comment for this story, other than reiterating that he doesn’t have a current position in Lumber Liquidators.

They liquidate forests? 


Then on Feb. 10, the CDC, which has been working with the CPSC, weighed in. After testing the same flooring ‘‘60 Minutes’’ analyzed, officials found it had a low risk of causing cancer, though it could potentially trigger irritation and breathing problems.

‘‘It was very reassuring,’’ Shah said. 

That's what this government seeks to do even as the world is on fire and the sky is falling.

But that goodwill evaporated when the CDC went back and checked its math after ‘‘60 Minutes’’ raised doubts. The correction by the CDC was highlighted by ‘‘60 Minutes’’ last Sunday in an update to last year’s story.

Not reassuring.

The CDC’s error was on the calculation for ceiling height used to measure the intensity of formaldehyde exposure. So instead of using 8 feet as the standard height of a room, for instance, it used 8 meters, which is about 26 feet.

In the initial report, the CDC said risks of cancer were as many as nine cases in 100,000 people. Now it’s increased that to as many as 30 people. But it said the recommendations on dealing with the level of formaldehyde will likely remain the same — stressing taking steps to reduce exposure.

Someone put the ball game on.



"Lumber Liquidators flooring tested for formaldehyde had a three times higher risk of causing cancer than previously stated, regulators said. A report released Feb. 10 used incorrect ceiling heights, lowering by about three times the airborne concentration that should have been examined, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The estimated risk of tumors is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people, not the two to nine cases reported earlier. The earlier report sent the company’s stock 2.6 percent higher. The shares had plummeted more than 70 percent after the March airing of a “60 Minutes” story on CBS that alleged the flooring had dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The company raised doubts about the testing the show used. Lumber Liquidators did not immediately respond to a phone message or e-mail left outside of regular business hours for comment on the CDC update."

Just checking the math.

Also see:

FEMA Knew Katrina Trailers Were Poisonous

FEMA Seeks Immunity for Willful Negligence and Poisoning of Americans

And they got it.

Good thing this government is looking out for you -- unless you put two and two together.

UPDATE: Lumber Liquidators’ stock dives as cancer risk rises