International Law

Tort Suits Claim Chinese Chairs are Toxic

Sitting in an armchair or lying on a sofa isn’t ordinarily considered a hazardous activity. But for well over 1,000 people in several European countries, it allegedly was.

After the Chinese manufacturer of furniture distributed by a French company put extra packets of a chemical mold retardant, customers began reporting skin rashes and other allergic reactions, reports the Associated Press.

“You sit comfortably on something and in fact you have a bomb under your butt,” says customer Caroline Morin, who has been suffering skin problems after buying a chair last December.

As much as 10 times the usual amount of the chemical, dimethyl fumarate, allegedly was put in some of the 38,000 chairs and sofas that Conforama says it purchased from Linkwise and sold to customers, according to the news agency and a French-language article in La Voix du Nord.

The French article says the furniture was manufactured in China between March 2006 and June 2008.

Attorney Christian Shotton of Russell, Jones & Walker is representing 1,300 people in the United Kingdom who have sued over Linkwise recliners and sofas purchased from British retailers, the AP writes. He says there have been cases in Finland and Sweden, too.

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