Beware: This Chemical Sprayed on Sofas & Mattresses May Increase Cancer Risk

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: April 10, 2017 18:16 IST

Beware: This Chemical Sprayed on Sofas & Mattresses May Increase Cancer Risk
  • A chemical called decaBDE is often sprayed on the fabric and fillings
  • It is used to make sofas and furniture fire resitant
  • New study shows it can increase the risk of thyroid cancer
Cancer is a common term now. While many blame our genetic disposition for the risk of cancer, some attribute it to the drastic change in our lifestyle from what it used to be. There has to be some reason for it because there has been an alarming rise in the number if cancer cases in the last decade. Moreover, our ancestors led a different life – one that was more dependent on physical activity and natural resources. In contrary, our modern lifestyle is characterised by convenience and natural has now become a fad word. 

Chemicals are everywhere – in the air you breathe, in the food you eat and even in household products you use every day. According to the American Cancer Society, "Substances and exposures that may lead to cancer are termed as Carcinogens". These range from chemicals and ultraviolet radiation to infectious agents. One such chemical which is often sprayed on fancy fire resistant sofas and mattresses may put you at the risk if thyroid cancer, claims a new study. 

According to latest research, conducted by Heather Stapleton from Duke University in North Carolina and her team, a chemical called decaBDE which is often sprayed on the fabric and fillings of furniture has been linked to a shocking 74% spike in cases of cancer, particularly thyroid cancer, in the last decade. 


(Also read: Do You Eat These Cancer Causing Foods Every Day?)


Listen to the latest songs, only on

Stapleton explains that this chemical is released as household dust from the furniture and can easily enter our body through by contact with hands and can also contaminate our food. The study found that the group with cancer had significantly higher exposure to this particular chemical. Researchers also discovered a link between cognitive defects in children who had been exposed to this chemical during pregnancy or before the age of four. 

This chemical is basically used to make your furniture fire resistant. In some countries in the United States, manufacturers have stopped using this chemical due to a change in the sofa flammability laws but in many parts of United Kingdom and other countries it is still being used. Moreover, there is no way to know whether this chemical has been used or not as manufacturers are not obliged to tell their customer what the sofa material contains. Th UN and health organisations around the world are in talks about banning the use of this chemical. 


For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and YouTube.