When shopping for a new sofa, be sure to look beyond just the style and size of the sofa: Inquire about what kind of fire retardants were used in its construction. Many sofas contain polyurethane-based foam, which is a synthetic material treated with fire-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDE. This chemical has been linked to endocrine disruption, according to the Environmental Working Group, and should be avoided at all costs. When shopping, ask for PBDE-free or, better yet, upholstered furniture that has zero fire retardants. Instead, opt for sofas filled with cotton, wool or a feather blend.
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