Are your floors, sofa toxin-free?

Washington: Children living in homes with all vinyl flooring or flame-retardant chemicals in the sofa have significantly higher levels of potentially harmful toxins in their blood or urine, putting them at risk of cancer and other diseases, study has found.

Researchers from Duke University in the US found that children living in homes where the sofa in the main living area contained flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in its foam had a six-fold higher concentration of PBDEs in their blood serum. Exposure to PBDEs has been linked in laboratory tests to neurodevelopmental delays, obesity, endocrine and thyroid disruption, cancer and other diseases.

According to the study from homes that had vinyl flooring in all areas were found to have concentrations of benzyl butyl phthalate metabolite in their urine that were 15 times higher than those in children living with no vinyl flooring. Benzyl butyl phthalate has been linked to respiratory disorders, skin irritations, multiple myeolma and reproductive disorders.

“SVOCs are widely used in electronics, furniture and building materials and can be detected in nearly all indoor environments,” said Heather Stapleton, an environmental chemist at Duke, who led the research. “Human exposure to them is widespread, particularly for young children who spend most of their time indoors and have greater exposure to chemicals found in household dust,” said Stapleton.

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