After years of living with a nice-looking but rather uncomfortable daybed in our living room, my family and I went shopping for a new sofa. We explored a range of styles and configurations, trying to find something that looked good, would be cozy, durable, and fit in our rather small space. Oh, and we also wanted to avoid bringing toxic and ineffective flame retardant chemicals into our home.

According to the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and Environmental Building News, the polyurethane foam that makes almost all cushions so comfortable is infused with several pounds of persistent and bioaccumulative toxins that are supposed to help suppress fire. Including those ingredients might be understandable if they actually worked, but there is little evidence that they do. The tests that supposedly show that they work were done on samples that contained huge amount of the chemicals—ten times more than anyone actually uses…

Nadav Malin