If we were to jump in a time machine and travel back to the 1980’s, we would be in a totally different world than the one which we know today. Some people may say that the music was better, but one thing that definitely wasn’t was the safety of sofa’s. They were still built out of the same materials as we know and love today, but they did not contain any fire retardant. This meant that the number of sofa’s which caught fire was a lot higher than we see today.
Due to this fact, it meant that many people lost their lives in house fires. In the vast majority of cases, the fire was started by a cigarette. Due to the different types of materials in a sofa back then, when they did catch fire, the fumes were very toxic. It was more often these toxic fumes which killed people than the actual fire itself. This is because the smoke travels much faster, and if the occupants in the home were asleep, then they would never wake up.
Eventually governments around the world decided to do something about it, and forced sofa manufacturer’s into using fire retardants. Thankfully, the death rate from sofa fires has dropped dramatically since then. So they are doing what they are supposed to do.
The problem with fire retardants is that we do not really know if there are any long term health issues with them. We are aware that some people are sensitive to certain fire retardant chemicals, and so they have to be careful what furniture they buy. We do not know if the chemicals used are detrimental to human health though.
The good news is that incorporating fire retardant into sofa’s has probably saved thousands of lives since the eighties, and this far outweighs any negatives. So, do not worry about these chemicals, just pick a sofa that you like, and enjoy it. For those who are sensitive to certain chemicals, check what it is made of before purchasing.