BERKLEY (WWJ) – How much do you know about what you’re sitting on? Yale University researchers have found flame-retardant chemicals on 85 percent of the couches they studied.

Lisa Turner of Berkley sent in a sample of her couch foam for the study and a chemical combination called “Fire Master 550” was found.

“It’s linked to cancer, learning disabilities and can cause reproductive issues,” Turner told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeil.

Researchers say the chemical can turn into a dust that Turner fears could harm her two children, who are one and three years old. “So, as they’re picking up stuff off the floor and eating it, what else are they eating?”

Anne Kolton, who works for the American Chemistry Council, which represents flame retardant chemical makers, says flame retardants have been reviewed by regulators and have been safe at the levels they are used.

“TDCPP is in upholstered furniture and other products in the home because it slows the spread of fire,” Kolton said. “And in fire, every second counts.”

This explanation doesn’t satisfy Turner.

“I think that these chemicals shouldn’t be allowed in the products that we use every day. If my house is a blazing inferno, what difference is it going to make if those chemicals are in my couch or not?” Turner said.

Turner said she likely won’t get rid of her couch and buy a new one because she won’t have any way of knowing if the new furniture also contains such chemicals. It’s not often printed on the label.


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