ToxicFree Foundation / Articles

The floor isn’t lava, but it and your couch might be toxic

We all remember the game “The floor is lava…” Climbing from couch to couch, chair to chair, onto cushions strategically placed on the ground all while ensuring no part of your body touches the floor. The game may need to be tweaked a bit, because it appears that vinyl floors and flame retardant couches could be passing dangerous toxins onto kids partaking in the classic game.

Researchers monitored the levels of more than 200 children from 190 families and found that “in homes with vinyl flooring and flame-retardant furniture, [kids] have higher levels of potentially harmful chemicals in their blood or urine…” The toxins detected are known as SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds). Children are exposed to SVOCs more than adults because they spend more time indoors among household furnishings and dust.

Children in homes with flame retardant treated sofas were found to have more than 6 times the amount of PBDEs in their blood. And children in homes with vinyl floors were found to have levels of benzyl butyl phthalate metabolite levels “15 times higher than those in in children living in homes with no vinyl flooring.” PBDEs and benzyl butyl phthalate metabolite have been linked to everything from obesity and neurodevelopmental delays, to skin irritations and reproductive disorders.

While the study was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, it has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, so the veracity of these claims cannot be substantiated.

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