By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could the sofa in your house be dangerous to your health? New research published in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology” shows that it may.
Duke University researchers did tests on couches in the United States and found chemicals in most of them that could potentially have damaging effects on your health.
Lisa Turner and her family have spent countless hours on their couch, which she’s learned contains potentially harmful chemicals.
“I thought that was totally disgusting and scary for not just my health but the health of my husband and my children as well,” said Lisa.
She participated in a study where Duke University researchers tested over 100 couches between 1998 and 2010. It found more than half of them contained potentially toxic or untested flame retardants.
Researchers say the main chemical chlorinated Tris, or TDCPP, can be harmful.
“It’s listed as a possible carcinogen, which basically means that animals that have been exposed have grown tumors. It’s been shown in most recent studies to effect sperm quality,” said Julie Herbstman, an Environmental Studies Professor at Columbia University.
There’s concern because TDCPP was banned in the 1970’s from children’s pajamas.
The American Chemistry Council says there’s nothing to worry about.
“First the public should know TDCPP is in upholstered furniture and other products in their home because it slows the spread of fire, and in fire every second counts. Second, they should know that TDCPP and other flame retardants, have been reviewed by regulators and found to be safe at the levels people are typically exposed to them,” said Anne Kolton, who works for the American Chemistry Council.
Another study out today shows most homes have dust that contains at least one flame retardant that exceeds federal health guidelines. Experts say infants and toddlers who spend a lot of time on the floor are at higher risk for exposure.