You’d probably never think that something as innocent as a sofa could pose a risk to you or your family, but a new study out of Duke University raises that very possibility. The research focused on children in homes with furnishings that contain specific compounds and the findings are a bit unsettling.
The research, which was presented at this year’s annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, DC, revealed that the potentially harmful compounds are found in elevated levels in the blood of children who live in homes with certain kinds of furniture and flooring.
The team tested blood samples from children living in homes with furniture that had been treated with polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a flame-retardant compound added to foam cushions in sofas and chairs. The scientists note that the compound has been linked to a variety of ailments and conditions including cancer and developmental delays in the brain.
The tests showed that the levels of the compound in the blood were six times higher in the children who live in homes with treated furniture compared to others without such furnishings. A similar but even more dramatic result was found when the team tested for the metabolite of benzyl butyl phthalate, found in vinyl flooring.