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Is Your Couch Really Toxic?

5:59 PM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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A study published by Environmental Science and Technology found 85 percent of the couches researchers looked at had some kind of a chemical flame retardant inside the couch cushions. It's a chemical designed to protect you and even save your life if there's a fire. However, these researchers say it might have opposite effect and even cause health problems like cancer.

These are some of the same chemicals the government banned from children's clothing back in the 1970s. It's also the same kinds of chemicals that have links to other health issues in children like lower IQ scores, coordination issues and attention problems.

However, The American Chemistry Council says the study does not include enough information about the link between chemicals, couches and people's health. In fact, the council argues chemicals inside couches have saved a lot of lives by preventing fires.

Other experts who question the study say there's just not enough information included, such as how much exposure someone needs to have to the chemicals before they have negative health consequences. They argue more research needs to be done and more studies must be conducted before anyone passes new laws, rules or regulations.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance in High Point released this statement to WFMY News 2, "The American Home Furnishings Alliance is not aware of any evidence, and there is none in this study, linking the level of flame retardants typically found in home furnishings to human health problems. Nevertheless, we agree with the authors of the study that additional research should be conducted on the chemicals currently used as flame retardants."

Researchers collected samples of foam from people's couches all over the country. If you're wondering if your couch has these chemicals in it, it can be almost impossible to know unless you get it tested.

Researchers recommend buying furniture with polyester, wool, cotton or down fillings because they're less likely to have flame retardants.

However, most of us can't afford to buy a new couch. As a result, the authors of the study suggest vacuuming often, mopping up dust and keeping your couch as clean as possible.

To read the study, click here.

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