Toxic sofa syndrome – justice at last?
From Sky News 15/12/10:
A final group of victims who suffered skin complaints from chemically-treated 'toxic sofas' have won compensation.
Some 408 claimants, including 55 children, will each get £1,800 in payouts.
The case was launched against three retailers - Argos, Land of Leather, and Walmsleys - who accepted liability for selling the tainted sofas.
In total, more than 2,000 people received compensation after suffering burn-like irritation.
After medical tests, it was tracked down to the sensitising agent dimethyl fumarate (DMF) in the sofas manufactured by Chinese companies Linkwise and Eurosofa.
In April, an agreement was reached which saw £20m distributed between around 1,650 people, depending on the severity of their symptoms.
However, 408 customers who bought their sofas from Land of Leather - now in administration - looked set to miss out, as another judge had ruled that they were not entitled to compensation from Zurich, the company's insurers.
Zurich UK said it had been working since then to find a resolution for the 408 outstanding victims.
Toxic sofa syndrome is truly evil; I remember seeing a documentary about it a few years ago and some of the stories are just chilling. The fact it’s attributable to a substance which was merely added to prevent dampness occurring whilst the sofa is in storage is just crazy. I’ve never trusted those little packets of silica which were added to packaged products either – and I particularly don’t now! It’s also rather ironic that people were resting up on their sofa in an attempt to get better and were simply placing themselves right in harm’s way. Like I said: chilling.
Anyhoo, I thought this one was fitting, given that we’re approaching Christmas and all that that means in modern life. Whilst peace on earth and goodwill to all men might be the more traditional Yuletide message, it’s now more about consumers being able to get a brand spanking new sofa in their homes in time for Christmas. Quite why that’s so important is beyond me; why spend money on a new leather sofa just so your partner’s grandmother can come over and soil it with a urine stain after one too many eggnogs or so the kids can slash it with a wii controller in an overzealous Dance Dance Revolution move?
One of life’s little mysteries I suppose.