Are You Sitting on Toxic Furniture?

We have done a number of pieces on our blog and radio show on the topic of toxic furniture and this latest finding–along with recent changes within the furniture-making industry–are compelling enough to urge everyone to replace their toxic sofas and chairs with newer, cleaner versions.  Also of note: Though not mentioned in this recent report, we have previously reported on findings concerning risks to household pets due to toxic furniture. Cats in particular are vulnerable due to the fact that they frequently clean themselves, thereby regularly ingest the toxic dust that is emitted from sofas and chairs containing flame retardant chemicals.  Whether it is for your children, a pregnant family member, a beloved pet, or for yourself, consider putting money away now to replace that toxic furniture at the soonest possible time. And when you purchase your new furniture be certain it says that the foam cushions are free of flame retardant chemicals.

Your Old Sofa May Have a Toxic Secret

Mother Jones

“…some estimates show 85 percent of US couches bought between 1984 and 2010 contain possibly harmful chemicals…

The chemicals, which are used to treat the inner cushions of upholstered furniture, accumulate in dust in the home that people then inhale, researchers say. Young children often have higher levels of the chemicals because they have more contact with the floor…

A new study underscores how dangerous it may be to let those old sofas lounge around.

The Environmental Working Group looked at the levels of potentially harmful chemicals that were in the bodies of mothers and children in California, a state that until recently had rules that essentially required the use of flame-retardants in most upholstered furniture. Researchers compared the California results with those from a similar study of people who live in New Jersey, which didn’t have that regulation.

They found that among children in the California study, exposure to TDCIPP, a likely carcinogen, was more than double that of New Jersey subjects. California mothers were also found to have a higher level of the chemical in their bodies. Additionally, all California subjects had traces of TCIPP, a similar chemical to TDCIPP that has been found to cause nerve cell damage.

What is different about furniture now?

Now, decades later and with better research into the potential dangers of flame-retardants, manufacturers and consumers are ready for a change…Before the change, inner cushions were treated with flame-retardants. Now, only the fabric around the cushions must be fire-resistant.