Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Over Half of U.S. Couches Contain Toxic Chemicals

According to a Duke University-led study published today, Nov. 28, 2012, more than half of U.S. couches contain potentially toxic flame retardants.  The potential risk to humans is when these toxic chemicals leave the furniture foam and enter into house dust.

In this study, of the 102 couches tested, 42 had foam with chlorinated Tris, a probable human carcinogen removed from baby pajamas back in 1977, and 17 contained the globally banned chemical pentaBDE.

Arlene Blum, a chemist at the University of California-Berkeley and founder of the Green Science Policy Institute said, "People have a pound of these toxic chemicals in their couches."

In hundreds of animal studies and several human studies flame retardants are linked to hormone disruption, cancer and neurological toxicity. 

In another study, published in the Environmental Health Perspectives revealed that mothers who had pentaBDE in their blood during pregnancy had children with lower birth weight, lower IQ scores, shorter attention spans and less fine motor coordination.

When looking to purchase new furniture, Blum recommends seeking out items with fillings that contain polyester, down, wool or cotton.  If you do suspect you own furniture with flame retardants, Blum suggests to frequently hand wash and vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Source:  Detroit Free Press