asthma from new sofa and recliners

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/6/2014 7:40 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm new on here but not to asthma and allergies. I've had asthma for ages but so long as I keep away from what causes it ie cats, house dust mite, horses, birds, some washing up liquids, I'm OK.

A few months ago we bought new fabric covered sofa and recliners and now whenever I sit in the lounge I have to use an inhaler. I am OK in most of the other rooms of the house apart from our upstairs bedroom which has now also become somewhere that I have to use the inhaler. Even though I am allergic to dust mites I haven't taken the whole bed vacuuming thing seriously for years and haven't suffered any wheezes there until the new suite arrived. The car has also become somewhere that I have to use the inhaler.

Recently I stayed at a relatives house for a week and found that I had to use the inhaler when sitting in their new conservatory which had new conservatory type fabric upholstered wicker furniture. Other rooms of the house were wheeze free.

So what's going on with the new upholstered furniture nowadays? I don't think they have had time to be infested by house dust mites, especially our new sofa and chairs, as I know that they came straight from the factory after manufacture, without any stain prevention treatment (so it's not that). So what are manufacturers putting in or on the upholstery and more to the point, will it wear off in time?

Could it be that some of the stuffing material in the upholstery is wool? I've never had a breathing problem around wool but then again I've never lived with it. I can't wear woolly jumpers or trousers with a wool content because they make my skin itch like mad, so I guess I'm allergic to wool. But do woollen fibres float around in rooms where the upholstery has wool in it and cause breathing problems? And can we be carrying the allergens from the sofa and recliners to the bedroom and car?

BTW the sofa and recliners were very expensive so replacing them is our last option.

Thanks for taking the time to read my tale of woe.
If anyone else has a similar experienced or has any suggestions, I'd be interested to read them.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5022
   Posted 9/6/2014 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm not a doctor, but as a patient, I would get rid of the furniture. I suspect it has volatile chemicals from the foam and other materials, and these may not go away. Foam can off-gas some nasty stuff. Preservatives and insecticides may be used, especially if the furniture was not made in the US. I thought they weren't supposed to use formaldehyde any more, but that might be one of the chemicals you're sensitive to.

Is there any sort of guarantee, warranty? What's the store's return policy? Check with Better Business Bureau about return laws in your state or country. I'd try to send the furniture back, and then I'd not buy anything without a written guarantee that there are no hazardous chemicals and a return policy.

Take the car to a detailer and have them clean it without their sprays and chemicals. They should be able to use something like plain vinegar and water. That's what my housekeepers use! Then get seat covers and floor mats made of only natural materials. When you drive don't use the recirculate button for heat or air conditioning. open the windows a little to let fresh air in.

Keep a notebook or journal of your reactions and where they occur. I used to find I couldn't go into some new department stores because of chemicals in their air. I think it was new carpeting.

Jay Fosters
New Member

Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/11/2014 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
dust mites are a common allergen. also, some dogs and cat breeds you will find you are allergic to and others you are not. I was allergic to dogs and cats all through childhood but eventually grew out of it. Look into a machine that allows fresh air to circulate and try to keep your comfort areas non allergenic by using non harsh detergents (detergents can be allergens) and also keeping the animals away. Hope this helps.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2015
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 1/18/2015 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Electric:

I am sympathetic because I have reactions to new carpet, furniture (especially leather), and plastics.

New furniture can be treated with chemicals to be stain or fire resistant. It can have foam that is gassing or parts such as stuffing and wood laquer or plastic could be gassing off.

We bought a leather couch at macy's and had to return it within the 30 day money back guarantee period because of the strong chemical odor which never gassed off.

I also recently purchased a new vehicle which I don't drive regularly because it too is Gassing off. (it has a chemical/plastic odor which I can't stand).

I advise buying a couch that has already gassed off. Some dealers will sell the floor model if you ask. Try sitting on the floor model before buying to see if it bothers your allergies.

Good luck

Post Edited (Fuyuko) : 1/18/2015 8:58:21 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 2146
   Posted 1/18/2015 8:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I think in your shoes I would have to try to sell the furniture, even though it cost a lot!! Is it possible that this furniture has aggravated you to such an extent that you are now sensitive to the interior of your own car, whereas before you had this furniture you were fine in your car..

I would think about getting this furniture all wrapped up nicely and placed elsewhere whilst you find a new buyer, as it sounds like you are getting worst.
Samantha, 45 yrs
Stopped smoking Jan 2013.
Diagnosed. Left sided UC, 8th Feb 2014
Pentasa..2g daily
2 x Ultimate Flora 50 billion probotics, Vit D, and Multi vitamin tab daily.
Gluten free from Sept 2014
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