Health ImpactsEach of the “Hazardous Handful” chemicals pose risks to our health and/or the environment. Some of these risks include:
- Flame retardants: many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer and other serious diseases, yet government studies say that flame retardants do not provide added fire safety benefits in furniture. Flame retardants escape out of furniture and get into our air, dust, the outdoor environment and
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): formaldehyde is an example of a harmful VOC that is known to cause cancer, yet is still often used in adhesives found in wood furniture.
- Fluorinated chemicals: Fluorinated chemicals, used in stain and/or water resistant treatments in furniture, are linked to serious health problems and can build up in our bodies and in the environment, where they can remain toxic for thousands of years without breaking down. They can migrate out of products and get into our air, dust, water and bodies.
- Antimicrobials: These chemicals in furniture have not been shown to reduce the spread of infection, but they can pose hazards to human health and environment. They may also contribute to the
spread of diseases that resist treatment with common antibiotics.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl): PVC is used in plastic parts of furniture and in some fabrics, and is often treated with harmful chemicals like lead, flame retardants, or phthalates.
PVC also poses toxic threats during the manufacturing and recycling processes of the materials.