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Household poisoning

Think a bumped knee or discomfited buttocks is the worst damage your furniture could inflict on you? You wish. THE INDEPENDENT reports that a new study by the UK consumer guide Health Which? suggests that furniture, appliances and other household accoutrements could release dust into the air containing a variety of chemicals linked to cancer, asthma, and even genital malformations.

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The three main culprits are brominated flame retardants found in furniture and electrical goods, phthalates used in toys and food packaging, and artificial musks that are used to make perfumes and cosmetics. The problem is a process called bioaccumulation, in which harmful chemicals build up in the environment and body without being broken down; that means that even after you’ve stopped handling that chemical-dusted toaster, the nasty substances from it linger in your surroundings, and in your body if you’ve ingested them.