The Toxin in your Living Room

 If you're doing all you can to decrease your eco footprint and protect the health of your family by switching to green cleaning products in your home, you're sure to be dismayed to know that the furniture in your living room may be undermining your efforts to lead a toxin-free life. Unfortunately, many sofas, love seats and easy chairs contain TDCPP, a chemical that studies have found to be a powerful toxin.

 TDCPP is used in as a flame-retardant and is meant to decrease the rate at which furniture burns. The purpose of adding flame-retardants to furniture is to slow the spread of fire and increase the likelihood that firefighters can quickly mitigate a blaze when they arrive on the scene of a fire; however, critics of TDCPP state that when these flame-retardants burn, they actually expose first responders to toxic fumes and can make situations more dangerous.

 A report published by Duke University shows that since 2005, more than half of all upholstered furniture has been manufactured with TDCPP. The study found that the chemical promotes the development of cancerous tumors, can lead to neurological disorders and is an allergen.

 TDCPP’s use isn't just confined to upholstery. It is often found in nursing pillows, sleepers and other products for babies.

 Concerns about the risks of TDCPP are nothing new. The New York State Legislature called for a decrease in the use of TDCPP in products marketed for infants and children in 2011. Still, the federal government has yet to take any steps to call for a restriction on the use of TDCPP or a complete ban on the chemical. With the new report from Duke University, many are hoping that Congress may be called to action.

 So what can you do to protect your family from TDCPP?

 - Contact your Senator and Congressman and tell them to tighten the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 and add TDCPP to the list of controlled toxins.

 - Switch to certified organic clothing, changing pads, bedding and nursing pillows for infants and children.

 - Do some research to find out if your furniture contains TDCPP. If you have the care instructions or information from when you purchased it, you may find details there. If not, try to search for the manufacturer online to determine whether or not they use TDCPP. If your furniture does contain TDCPP, consider replacing it.

 - Shop for certified organic furniture whenever possible or ask questions about what fire retardants are present in upholstered items before you buy.


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