Safety of Chinese Made Leather Furniture

scotslassie1959November 17, 2011

DH and I are considering purchasing a low priced Chinese made leather sofa and chair to replace our American made 17 year old Emerson sofa and chair as the leather is now cracking, peeling and splitting-- looks real shabby. I have recently come across some older (2009-2010) information on a Google search re: the toxicity of the Chinese made furniture due to their use of Dimethyl Fumarate to retard mold growth in transit. Any one here have any insight into current info on this situation? I would never consider purchasing this garbage but I'm 24/7 caregiver in my home for my parent who has Alzheimer's and frankly don't want to invest the money on a good quality American made item when I know we will have accidents and spills :-( I realize this furniture will probably only last for 2-3 years but am more concerned with what I read re this chemical.

Thanks for any info or insight one may offer.


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I dont know what Chinese leather sofa your looking at but if the price is less than $800 its mostly will be either bycast leather, rebond or so heavily pigmented that your better off just buying vinyl and save your money. Actually the wisest investment would be to re-upholster you old sofa in a vinyl, then you will know it will last more than a few years and at same time be durable and easily clean. Should be able to reupholstery for less than $800. in a vinyl.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 5:31AM
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Thanks rmanbike for the response.

I did have quotes for reupholstering both my old sofa and its matching chair in leather and was shocked at the $5000 price tag. I guess I never thought of vinyl. Will see what that would run. I have decided against the chinese made furniture ...just can't bring myself to do it!! At the very least I can make arm covers and cushion covers to get us through- provided I can find the time! LOL

Thanks again

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:25AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis

Scottslassie, I really do appreciate your desire to own an American made sofa. We need more money to circulate domestically.

At my work we sell a good amount of Ashley Furniture product. The sofas seem to have material from all over the place but are largely assembled in Wisconsin.

Commando series is probably their least expensive. Only a few hundred bucks for decent feeling vinyl.

Folks ask me if Ashley is better than some of the others we sell. At most price points i think it is comparable, bit they ship fast, reliably, and have a GREAT support system. Need a new cushion? It is a matter of a couple weeks. Misplace the legs while moving? No biggie they can get you more.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:13PM
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The concern you are referring to with the Dimethyl Fumarate has to do with gasses that are released when body heat from sitting on the sofa activates the gas & it causes burns to the skin.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 2:28PM
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I think one of the main issues with products produced in China is the lack of regulation in the country. You really don't know what is being put in anything.In the furniture industry the exception might be from a large US based company that produces in China and may have their own representatives in the factory on a full time basis.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 9:45AM
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