We made a grievous error recently in running an interview with World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) legal counsel Jeff King on TalkFloor.com.
While speaking to TalkFloor editorial director Dave Foster, King claimed that retailers should always test building materials for asbestos—including the adhesives. While that in itself is an overly cautious recommendation, he then erroneously stated that all modern adhesives contain a trace amount of asbestos. Not only is that wrong—it completely dismisses all the years of research and development and sweat and toil that have gone into making adhesive products safer than ever while still being able to perform under rigorous conditions.
Quite frankly, this interview never should have run in the state that it did. Also quite frankly, I should have listened to the interview in its entirety before giving it the rubber stamp. For those who are unaware, we’ve all been pulling double-duty since last August putting out both Floor Covering Installer and Floor Trends magazines as our colleague recovers from back surgery. This has been an incredible strain on the staff, especially as in this business—just as in your business—we are all pressed for time. This is not an excuse for letting the interview run in the state that it did. It is, however, some context as to why this happened.
We immediately scrambled to make this right. Foster conducted a two-part interview with King to clarify his original comments. Unfortunately, this interview contained several factual errors as well. Rather than try to salvage the interview, we killed it. Shortly thereafter, the WFCA released this statement: “The interviews regarding asbestos were withdrawn because of additional information provided by our members indicating that the current adhesives produced and sold by U.S. manufacturers have not contained any asbestos for many years. We want our retailer and installer members to remain vigilant to avoid issues regarding lead paint and asbestos, but the information provided shows that any issue with asbestos in recently installed products is not from flooring adhesives sold by U.S. manufacturers.
“Mr. King and the WFCA want to apologize for any confusion and concern that the article and interviews caused.”
Here is what we should have done from the beginning, and here is what I want to do now. I want to give adhesive manufacturers a forum to talk about the safety and efficacy of their products, in an article that we will run both in FCI magazine and online. Please contact me at ChmieleckiM@bnpmedia.com or (603) 791-0215 and let’s get this started.
Our job as writers, editors and publishers is to give the industry the best information possible, so installers and contractors can make informed decisions about their businesses. We did not stay true to that vision with this interview, and humbly admit our mistake. We are deeply sorry for letting this original interview run as it did. From myself, Dave Foster, editorial director Jon Namba and the rest of the staff, we want to stay true to our mission of giving our industry a voice in which all of you can be proud.