Toxic sofas hit headlines

29 May 2008

In late May, 2008, a story that originated in October 2007, again hit the headlines in tabloid newspaper The Sun. It concerned severe allergic reactions in humans to an extremely potent fungicide which had been used to prevent mould on leather. Under the headline: A Poisoned settee burned baby, Emma Morton, the paper's Health Editor, wrote: Shocked mum last night told how her baby son suffered blistering burns all over his body after lying on a ‘toxic' sofa.

The nine-month-old child needed hospital treatment and now requires several lotions, creams and pills to keep his condition under control. According to the Sun, he is among at least 1,000 people who suffered an agonising allergic reaction from sitting on the top-selling leather settees from China. They were sold by Argos and Land of Leather for between £600 and £850 and had been treated with a potent fungicide to stop them going mouldy in storage. Instead, the substance triggered violent irritant-related eczema in some people. The poison also affected a family dog, whose hair fell out. In another case, a woman also needed hospital treatment for a severe rash, blisters and blood poisoning, which she blamed on her Argos leather corner unit. Law firms confirmed they had been flooded with queries about the sofas. One said: ‘Severe cases have required hospital inpatient treatment for a week. There could be many more suffering who are not aware of what is causing their problems.' Both British chains stopped selling the sofas last October when the hazard emerged.

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