CouchBy Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director

For most people, the only dangerous thing about your couch
is the risk of spending money on a nice piece of furniture, only to have your
cat shred it to pieces. But today a startling new peer reviewed study came out
in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that couches across America
contain high levels of toxic chemicals. Great coverage of the study can be read on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.

The study found that 85% of couches tested contained toxic or untested
flame-retardants. And the newer the couch, the more likely they were to contain
toxic chemicals. The use of flame-retardants has increased over the years and
now over 94% of new couches contain one or more of these toxic chemicals.

Here are some key findings:

  • 85% of couches tested contained toxic or
    untested flame retardant chemicals.
  • The flame-retardants are used heavily in the
    foam, in some cases they made up 11% of the weight of the foam.
  • The toxic chemicals used in couches do not stay
    in the couches – they migrate out into your household dust.
  • Toddlers and
    children are at higher risk for exposure to toxic flame-retardants since they
    play on the floor, creating small dust circles around them. Recent studies have also confirmed that people of color have higher rates of flame retardants in their bodies than their white counterparts.
  • 41% of the couches contained cancer-causing
    “chlorinated tris,” also known as TDCPP, removed from baby pajamas in 1977.
  • Some of the chemicals found are linked to
    cancer, harming the developing brain, hormone disruption and more.

The study comes off the heels of a long and well-done
investigative series by the Chicago Tribune on the chemical industry (the flame
retardant industry specifically) and their cynical attempts to keep these toxic
chemicals on the market, and in our homes.

So where can you buy a couch with out toxic

It’s a natural first question when faced with information
such as this, but we need better laws, not better shopping lists. And therein lies
the solution to help get us out of this mess.

The reason toxic chemicals are ending up in our couches,
homes and children, is that the U.S. weak laws on toxic
chemicals. Our federal laws are failing to protect consumers and communities
from the harmful and routine exposure to toxic chemicals that are linked to
cancer and harming the developing brain.

A common sense solution is for Congress to pass the Safe
Chemicals Act
, a bill introduced by the public health hero, Senator Frank
His bill, would increase the safety of chemicals used in our
everyday products, protect vulnerable populations like the developing fetus,
pregnant women and “hot spot” communities.

Senator Lautenberg took on Big Tobacco and successfully banned
smoking on airplanes, if there is one champion to get the Safe Chemicals Act
passed, it is him. Please join us today in this quest to put limits on toxic
chemicals in our homes, we need your help!

What you can do:

Urge your Senator to pass the Safe Chemicals

Take action today and join the movement today to help
limit the use of toxic chemicals in our couches and other consumer products!

Reduce Exposure to Dust

Since dust is the primary route of exposure
for these chemicals. Dusting frequently with a microfiber cloth (no need to use
dusting sprays!), a wet mop and frequently vacuuming with a HEPA filter will go
a long way to reduce your exposure. Studies have also shown that frequently
washing your hands with soap and water will also decrease exposure.

Contact the Manufacturers of Products in

If you have a product in question, call the
manufacturer and ask if they use any flame retardant chemicals. If they are
using toxic flame-retardants, ask them to stop using them immediately. Also
consider using social media to ask companies to stop using flame retardants,
this can help shed light on both good and bad companies.

Take action NOW!

Follow Lindsay on Twitter: @Lindsay_SCHF, @SaferChemicals

DISCLAIMER: Environmental, Health and Safety News is not affiliated with or maintained by ANY for profit or non-profit entity. It is a 100% volunteer effort free from advertising or sponsorship of any kind. This site is intended to be an educational and not-for-profit website providing useful information for security, environmental, health, sciences, transportation, and public safety professionals and the general public. It is not “for the purpose of trade, to induce the sale of any goods or services.”
In the Webmaster’s opinion, any incidental use of any pictures and graphics, or quoted words on this site is not a violation of any trademark for the any reasons stated above. The webmaster will fully cooperate with any and everyone that believes any section of the site are in violation of fair use.

The use of any and all copyrighted works in the creation of this site is, in the Webmaster’s opinion, protected by 17 USC 107 (see Creative Commons License below). If the owner of a copyrighted work used in the creation of this site believes that 17 USC 107 does not apply to the use of their work, the site’s creator will cooperate to the fullest extent possible.

FAIR USE NOTE: The site provides information of a general & public nature regarding national or other developments. None of the information contained herein is intended as legal advice or opinions relative to specific matters, facts, situations or issues. Additional facts, information or future developments may affect the subjects addressed in this site. You should consult with an expert about your particular circumstances before acting on any of this information because it may not be applicable to your situation. This site contains information and links to sites which are not owned or maintained by this site. This site is not responsible for the content, linked sites, and the views expressed on linked sites do not necessarily reflect our views or opinions. The information contained herein is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, entertainment and informational purposes only and does not constitute a guarantee of information or facts. This site makes no claims, expressed, implied, or statutory regarding the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, or correctness of any material contained herein. Since the conditions of use are outside my control, the individual visitor is entirely responsible for determining the appropriateness and applicability of all information contained herein.

This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Back to Top