WeWork takes more than 2,000 phone booths out of service over potential formaldehyde hazard

PHOTO: A WeWork office is seen in New York, July 19, 2019.PlayTimothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH News headlines today: Nov. 13, 2019

After dealing with corporate drama for weeks that saw the withdrawing of its IPO and the ousting of its CEO, coworking startup WeWork is facing a new set of issues after up to 2,300 phone booths were flagged to have "potentially elevated levels of formaldehyde."

“WeWork is taking a number of phone booths out of service at some of our U.S. and Canada locations due to potentially elevated levels of formaldehyde caused by the manufacturer," the company told ABC News in a statement. "The safety and well-being of our members is our top priority, and we are working to remedy this situation as quickly as possible."

WeWork provides freelancers, startups and others with rentable office space they can access through an app and site. It boasts 834 locations, currently open or upcoming, spread out across 125 cities, according to its website.

Formaldehyde is commonly used in wood construction and manufacturing but exposure to elevated levels can cause eye, skin, nose and throat irritation. High levels of exposure may cause some types of cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The company added that they performed an analysis and conducted a series of tests on a sampling of phone booths after "a member informed us of odor and eye irritation."

"Upon receiving results late last week, we began to take all potentially impacted phone booths out of service," the statement added.

PHOTO: A WeWork office is seen in New York, July 19, 2019. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
A WeWork office is seen in New York, July 19, 2019.

WeWork said it identified approximately 1,600 phone booths in their U.S. and Canada locations that may be impacted, and "out of an abundance of caution" are also taking an additional 700 phone booths out of service while they conduct more testing.

In a letter sent to members obtained by ABC News, WeWork said that its Community Team could help members identify which phone booths were available for use and also "provide alternative quiet spaces for phone calls, including booking conference rooms and opening unoccupied offices for your use."

The latest road bump for the coworking startup comes after a rocky month of corporate drama.

After first announcing it was delaying its initial public offering, and then undergoing a change in senior leadership that included co-founder Adam Neumann stepping down as CEO, WeWork announced late last month that it was filing a request to withdraw its initial public offering filing.