They sit in our homes like beloved antiques from the disco era. But there is good reason to avoid those old foam-stuffed couches.

These slightly ratty pieces of furniture likely contain a certain class of flame retardant that came into common use in the ‘70s and was phased out, nationwide, about a decade ago.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers — or PBDEs — fell out of favor quickly after research linked these compounds to developmental disabilities in young children who were exposed to the chemicals in the womb…

Paula Wolfson