The Worrying Truth About Toxic Chemicals in Furniture


natural, fresh and organic

natural, fresh and organic

Last year, a study by the environmental group Friends of the Earth found that a high percentage of furniture tested in California, USA were found to contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and reproductive and neurological dysfunction. These toxins were found to be particularly harmful to children.  

The study, dubbed “Killer Couches” sampled 350 pieces of household furniture from domestic residences and found that in most cases, high levels of toxic halogenated fire retardants were present. Friends of the Earth concluded that “Virtually all Americans have toxic fire retardants in their bodies, and this study suggests that one of the main causes is furniture in our homes and offices. Fortunately, safer alternatives are already used by some manufacturers.”

Infants and children are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals, which can travel through the placenta and breast milk. Tests in the USA have found that levels of halogenated fire retardants in breast milk have increased by as much as 40-fold since the 1970s. Harmful chemicals in fire retardants such as the potentially lethal antimony can also adversely affect autistic children, leading to more extreme behaviour patterns in child sufferers.

The environment also bears the brunt of these toxins, with the compounds within the chemicals found to have contaminated water, oceans, ecosystems and wildlife as far away as the Arctic Circle. This is sadly not just a problem found in America; harmful chemicals are found in furniture all around the world given the proliferation of toxic flame retardants over the last few decades. But as Friends of the Earth report, some manufacturers are committed to the complete ban of these toxins. At Natural Home Products we are proud to only manufacture products that are 100% free from any harmful chemicals; and proud to play our small part in keeping our homes and the wider environment healthy and natural.

Find out more about this study and the work of Friends of the Earth at