Environmental Science & Technology: My New Sofa

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After a long wait, my new sofa has finally arrived. Some visitors to our home might have mistakenly thought that we were holding onto our comfortable twenty-year old sofa because of an emotional connection to its faded leather and deformed cushions. In reality, we had wanted to get rid of it ever since we discovered that the cushions contained polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) at several percent by mass (if you would like to know the concentration of flame retardants in your sofa, researchers at Duke University will test them for you http://foam.pratt.duke.edu), but we had been unable to do so because it had been impossible to purchase furniture in California that had not been treated with chemical flame retardants…

David L. Sedlak
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