Toxic Chemicals in Furniture Linked to Cancer, Other Health Risks Unfair to Manufacturers, Retailers
(Washington, DC)—Many foam sofa cushions in the U.S. contain flame-retardants known to pose risks to human health, according to a new peer-reviewed study released today. Researchers at Duke University and University of California found that 85% of couches contained toxic or untested flame-retardants, some of which are linked to cancer. In response, business leaders from the Sustainable Furnishings Council, the Specialty Sleep Association, and the American Sustainable Business Council said that chemical regulations must be improved in order to support public health and a healthy economy.
“Our way of protecting consumers from toxic chemicals is broken,” says Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. “The chemical industry shouldn’t be able to market chemicals to manufacturers and retailers unless we know beyond a reasonable doubt that they are safe. They make the chemicals, they should be held responsible. Business should be encouraged to reject hazardous chemicals and instead innovate and create safer chemicals and products.”
"The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) encourages ALL home furnishings manufacturers to embrace traceability, responsible sourcing, and sound manufacturing practices. Manufacturers should offer the healthiest, most environmentally sound, and most fire resistant options to consumers, and they should embrace a ‘truth in marketing’ labeling program. Savvy, aware consumers will demand to know what is inside their upholstered furniture and mattresses. They will push the industry and their supply sources to protect the safety, health, and well-being of the consumer,” says Dale T. Read, president of the SSA.
A recent poll of small businesses by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) shows that a clear majority wants the chemical manufacturers to be held responsible for the safety of the chemicals.
“Rising concern about toxic flame retardants and their links to cancer and other health impacts is undermining consumer confidence and hurting business. To keep the US economy growing, we have to stop allowing toxic chemicals linked to health hazards in the marketplace. That’s why we started a petition to tell Congress to reform the 34-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act,” says David Levine, CEO and co-founder of ASBC.
The American Sustainable Business Council and its member organizations represent more than 150,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and investors. The non-partisan council includes chambers of commerce, trade associations, and groups representing small business, investors, microenterprise, social enterprise, green and sustainable business, local living economy, and women and minority business leaders. ASBC informs and engages policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org