The Big Toxic Couch
Zoey Jones, Jenna Manji
Stratford Hall
Floor Location : M 002 D

Our project looks for the harmful flame retardant Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate [TDCPP] in residential couch foam manufactured in Canada. Since 2011, TDCPP has been the most commonly used flame retardant in residential-grade polyurethane foam, used in furniture. This chemical may keep your couch from burning, it also comes with many negative health effects. Some of the negative health effects include lower birth weight, reduced IQ, poorer coordination, and many more (Stapleton). However, the most concerning fact about Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate is that it is listed on California's Proposition list of substances known to cause cancer. Studies have also shown TDCPP to be linked to cancer in rats (Stapleton) and the results suggested the effects would be similar in humans as well. To extract this chemical, we collected foam samples from several Canadian-made furniture companies. Small amounts of samples of foam were sonicated with dichloromethane to extract Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate from the foam. These samples were then taken to UBC to be examined using the mass spectrometer. Once the concentration level of TDCPP was found in all the samples from Canada, these results were then compared to the results reported by Duke University. We believe that our measurements of the presence of TDCPP in furniture? foam will convince Canadian lawmakers to ban this harmful chemical from use in the manufacturing of household furniture.