WeWork removes over 2K phone booths from US, Canada locations, citing ‘elevated levels of formaldehyde'

More than 2,000 phone booths were taken out of service in WeWork locations across the U.S. and Canada over formaldehyde concerns.

A spokesperson for WeWork confirmed that a member informed management of a strange odor and eye irritation after using one of the booths. The company looked into the complaint, hiring an outside consultant to conduct tests on some of the phones.

After the results came in, the company removed 1,600 devices impacted by “elevated levels of formaldehyde caused by the manufacturer.” As a precaution, 700 additional phone booths were removed so the company could “conduct more testing.”

“The safety and well-being of our members is our top priority, and we are working to remedy this situation as quickly as possible,” a WeWork spokesperson said.

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used on a variety of materials in office buildings. Short-term exposure can cause temporary irritation of the nose, throat and respiratory system, such as coughing and wheezing.

WeWork stated in a company email that the booths were installed “over the past few months.”