Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is Your Couch Killing You?

It's time for us to get a new couch.  This has turned out to be no easy feat, since I obviously want a couch that does not contain hazardous chemicals.  I was aware of the dangers of flame retardants and I set out to find a sofa that was chemical free.  That shouldn't be too hard, should it?  Actually, it's nearly impossible.  And the reason why will blow your mind.

In the US, furniture manufacturers are required by law to treat their fabrics with flame retardants.   Seeing as flame retardants don't work, but merely release toxic smoke into the air in the event of an actual fire, and seeing as they contain carcinogens and chemicals that are extremely harmful to humans, this makes absolutely no sense.

I thought, this can't possibly be right, but it turns out the tendrils of this atrocity reach to some pretty dark places, namely the tobacco industry.  You read that right--the tobacco industry started the whole thing.  At some point a couple of decades ago, pressure was put on the tobacco industry to do something about making cigarettes less flammable since so many fires were started by them.  Ridiculous in and of itself, but the response was to come out with flame retardant chemicals.

When evidence emerged that these chemicals caused cancer, infertility, asthma, and a host of other health issues, the tobacco companies, ie producers of the flame retardants, came back with a bogus committee called Citizens for Fire Safety which consists only of three individuals--the producers of the chemicals!  They managed to get laws passed, in part by using false testimony from a physician detailing grisly fake fire deaths of children,  requiring that these chemicals be infused in our furniture. 

So now, because of this despicable farce propagated by the tobacco industry and no doubt corrupt politicians, you and I can't get a safe couch for our family.  Our children sit on this furniture, they breathe the off-gassing of these chemicals and the toxic dust they create in our homes.  This is so unacceptable!

What I am hoping, is that with growing awareness thanks to mainstream press like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune (click those links for a wealth of details on this subject), that something like the BPA movement will happen.  As consumers demand non-toxic furniture, change will happen.  I personally contacted several very popular furniture manufacturers and expressed concern and forwarded a link to that New York Times article so they could pass it along throughout their companies.  Luckily, the were receptive, but also very defeatist with the sentiment that, "our hands are tied because of the laws."  If you agreee this is an outrage, please help me pass this information along, we need to get those flame retardants out of our homes.

Image Credit: Sofas And Stuff