The TOXIC chemical hiding in your living room

Is your SOFA giving you cancer?

I know that sounds crazy. Downright ridiculous, really. It's just a piece of furniture -- and, I hope, a pretty comfy one at that.

But don't get too comfortable... because there might something hiding in your loveseat that you're going to absolutely hate.

New research finds that toxic chemicals used to help household items like sofas resist fires could escape... and get inside your body.

And once they're in you, they can cause serious damage -- including the kind of damage that can lead to thyroid cancer.

In the study, researchers examined 140 patients -- half of whom had been diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which is the most common form of the disease.

When they took blood samples as well as samples of dust from the homes of each patient, they found that two common flame retardants used in furniture in particular can increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

One chemical, called BDE-209, doubled the risk of this form of the disease... and that's not even the worst of it.

A second chemical, TCEP, not only increased the risk of thyroid cancer, but also boosted the odds of the more aggressive tumors by FOUR TIMES.

The problem is that some flame-retardant chemicals are actually so similar to thyroid hormones that they can interfere with the normal balance of hormones inside your body.

And these chemicals could be inside your sofa... right now.

It's enough to make you want to drag the thing out to the curb next collection day!

If it's getting up there in years, it might not be a terrible idea, since some of the worst of the chemicals are found in older furniture.

But while new ones are safer, they're not completely safe. Some even contain chemicals so dangerous they're banned from children's pajamas... but somehow still allowed in sofas.

So, whether your sofa is old enough to vote or so new it still has the tags on it, take steps to limit your exposure to toxins.

You won't just find them in or on the sofa itself. They're released into the air as the materials in the sofa slowly break down.

In other words, they're in the dust.

Along with the chemicals released from your sofa, common house dust can contain toxins from other parts of your home and even pollutants from outside.

Dust regularly, vacuum often, and wear a mask while you do it.

As well, consider an air purifier with a HEPA filter. Be sure to clean or replace the filter often, and you'll have cleaner air and a lower risk of exposure to these and other toxins.