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New Study Finds 85% of American Sofas Tested Contain Toxic Chemicals

Increasing Pressure on Congress to Pass the Safe Chemicals Act

**Read the Full Study:**

Washington, DC – A new peer-reviewed study released today tested over 100 couch samples from across the U.S. and found that 85% contained toxic or untested flame retardant chemicals. This includes 41% of the couches testing positive for the cancer-causing chlorinated Tris, which was banned from children’s pajamas decades ago.

The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, emphasizes the failures of inadequate federal laws on toxic chemicals. Weak federal laws have allowed toxic chemicals like flame retardants on to the market with limited health and safety information required. The study also shows an increase in the use of flame retardants in couches, despite no data demonstrating fire safety benefit from the use of such chemicals.

This study spotlights how people are harmed by the glaring holes in federal consumer protections from chemicals,” said Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “A very toxic chemical has hitched a ride into our living rooms, and our children’s bodies, because we let the chemical industry operate on the honor system.”

Flame retardant chemicals, like those found in the couches, are associated with cancer, serious adverse neurological, reproductive, and hormonal health effects. These chemicals continuously migrate from products, to house dust, children and pets.  Recent studies show toddlers have three times the level of contamination as their mothers, and show that children of color have levels higher than the general population.

“Chemicals that cause cancer and disrupt our hormone systems have no place in our furniture, especially since they ultimately end up in our bodies and at even higher levels in our children’s bodies,” said Nancy Buermeyer of the Breast Cancer Fund. “Some studies have associated polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) fire retardants with increased growth of breast cancer cells and interference with breast cancer treatment drugs.”

In response to concerns about health effects of flame retardant chemicals, more than a dozen states have passed or pending laws on restricting the use of these chemicals.

The Safe Chemicals Act, a law championed by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), passed the Environment and Public Works Committee this summer, has 29 co-sponsors and awaits a vote on the full Senate floor.