More Than Half Of US Couches Carry Toxic Flame Retardants

How safe do you think your couch is? Leave alone the bedbugs, because a new study says that more than half of couches in the United States carry toxic flame retardants. How does it affect you? Some of these flame retardants are carcinogen.

You’d expect your home to keep you safe. It’s your little heaven where you should be at ease from health hazards roaming outside. But is it? Is the place where you spend most of your time at home actually safe? A new study says half of you might have a couch that carries toxic flame retardants.

Two studies looking at the presence of toxic flame retardants in our homes were published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. One of them looked at the chemicals potentially toxic that surround us in our very own homes. Common household items, such as electronics and upholstered furniture could be making us sick. 85% of couches in the United States were treated with flame retardants.

“Hard to believe, 35 years after our research contributed to removing Tris from children’s sleepwear our current study suggests that more than a third of Americans’ couches contain the same toxic flame retardant” said lead researcher and chemist with the University of California Arlene Blum.

So what are chemical flame retardants and why are so problematic? Flame retardants are chemicals used in a variety of industries that have products in most American homes. Thermoplastics, textiles, thermosets and coatings are treated with flame retardant chemicals to make them more resistant to fire. As more and more nations are elevating standards for safety, the industry of flame retardants has been on the rise for the past years.

But some of the chemicals used to make your couch fire-proof are a danger to your health. Researchers have managed to ban the use of toxic flame retardants in children’s pajamas, and a new study shows these chemicals are found in 85 percent of Americans’ couches. Blum says many of the chemicals are carcinogen or have been linked to the development of cancer, hormone disruption and even learning problems.

“The levels are enormous…People have a pound of these toxic chemicals in their couches” warns the lead researcher. So you’re standing on a couch that may contain chlorinated Tris, a likely human carcinogen banned from kids’ pajamas three decades ago, or pentaBDE, a chemical that is now banned worldwide.

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