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New research suggests your couch might be a cancer risk

When getting home from work, it is so nice to take off your shoes, grab a snack, put your feet up on the couch and take a deep breath. It's been a busy day, and you deserve this moment of relaxation. But is that deep breath you're taking a toxic one?

A recent study into the chemicals found within couches in the United States is concerning to some safety advocates. Apparently, a chemical used to make furniture less flammable could be toxic to its users' health.

Chlorinated Tris is a chemical that was found in more than 40 percent of couches that researchers tested. The toxic chemical used to be found in kids' pajamas but was proven too hazardous and, therefore, required to be excluded from the children's products. But consumers aren't completely safe from the toxic chemical since it is widely used in furniture.

If any of your furniture consists of polyurethane foam, it likely has Chlorinated Tris in it. What is the concern? The chemical is classified as a potential carcinogen, meaning that exposure to it could lead to cancer. One environmental advocate suggests that every time people sit down on their couch, they are probably breathing in the potentially dangerous toxin.

This is most concerning since not just adults but kids and babies regularly use furniture. While the chemical might prevent the speed with which a fire takes over a home, safety and environmental advocates wonder whether the risk is worth that reward. More research into the cancer versus the fire hazard is proving to be important to the health of everyone.

Source: CBS Boston, "New Study Finds Cancer Causing Chemicals In Living Room Couches," Nov. 28, 2012

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