CDC Error in Flooring Report

The CDC recently had to correct an error in a flooring report – it was a silly calculation error that we have all made before, but that had a huge outcome. They forgot to convert feet to meters in their report, meaning they severely underestimated health risks related to formaldehyde in laminate flooring. The risks are actually three-fold higher than previously reported. Glad they caught their mistake eventually, that’s a pretty big jump! What a great example of how the slightest error can completely change your results and the consequences of those results.

Interestingly, the article linked also reports that stock prices for Lumber Liquidators, a flooring company, had increased with the initial CDC findings and has now plummeted since the correction. So, remember to convert your units and carry the one, etc. because even the silliest miscalculation can have huge repercussions!


7 thoughts on “CDC Error in Flooring Report

    1. If there were ever a vote to change everything to metric in the US, I would choose to do it. I can’t believe how many problems arise from metric conversions.

  1. If it was square feet that should have been converted to square meters, wouldn’t that have been a nine-fold error (approx)?

    1. I’m not sure, this was what the news article quoted from the report. But the original report and subsequent announcement are available online (links are in that news article too). But if it were square feet, I think it would be nine fold error.

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Alex Alexiev

Alex Alexiev is a recent UC Davis graduate with a BS in microbiology working in Jonathan Eisen’s lab on aquariums as part of the microbiology of the built environment.