New Flame Retardants, Replacements, Pose Same Problems As Predecessors

Concerns about toxic flame retardants in furniture have led to changes, but they have yet to make most furniture much safer.

"Elizabeth Crowe recently learned that the red couch in her family's living room holds a toxic secret -- hidden inside its foam filling is a toxic chemical that was removed from kid's pajamas more than 30 years ago due to health dangers.

Today, her 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, spends countless hours lounging, playing guitar and watching movies on top of the contaminated cushions.

'I think about her developmentally and all of these toxic land mines that we're dodging every day,' said Crowe, director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, who lives in Berea, Ky. 'To have something like a piece of furniture providing this constant toxic dose to her is so disconcerting.'

Crowe, who had been careful to choose her family's couch from an eco-friendly line at a popular retailer, participated in a study published on Wednesday, which found that 85 percent of 102 couches tested across the U.S. contained toxic or untested flame retardant chemicals -- at levels up to 11 percent the weight of the foam. The newer the couch, the more likely it was to be treated with the chemicals. "

Lynne Peeples reports for Huffington Post November 28, 2012.


"Your Couch May Be Killing You" (Mother Jones)

"Toxic Couches? Flame Retardants on the Rise in Furniture, Study Finds" (Environmental Health News)

"Cancer-Causing Flame Retardants Linger on in California" (Nature News)

"Chemicals in Furniture Hard To Avoid" (San Francisco Chronicle)

Source: Huffington Post, 11/29/2012