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Toxic sofas

At least 1,000 people suffer horrific burns from 'toxic' leather sofas

By Lucy Ballinger
Last updated at 6:33 PM on 28th May 2008

At least 1,000 people have suffered horrific burns from leather sofas sprayed with a toxic substance to stop them going mouldy.

Baby Archie Lloyd-Bennett is among the victims who have suffered chronic skin complaints from contact with one of the sofas.

He suffered blisters all over his body after lying on the chair, and has had hospital treatment for the angry red burns.

The nine-month-old boy now has seven lotions, creams and pills to treat his condition.

The Chinese-made settees are sold by High Street chain Argos and Land of Leather for between £600 and £850

Victims have visited A&E departments and doctors' surgeries with severe skin complaints after buying the leather suites from the shops.

The chairs had been treated with a fungicide to stop them going mouldy in storage. But the substance triggered violent irritant-related eczema in some customers

Baby Archie's mother Rebecca Lloyd-Bennett, 25, had to take her son to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

'He was red raw after lying on the sofa in his nappy,' Mrs Lloyd-Bennett told The Sun.

'He has been in agony. It is very itchy and he now has gloves to stop him scratching.'

The family's dog Kes was also affected by the toxic chemical. His hair fell out and he needed £1,000 of vet's treatment.

Solicitors have been approached by customers who have suffered from serious skin complaints from the settees, including one who claimed they were hospitalised for a week.

Last year there were 60 complaints about sofas from Argos and northern chain Walmsley's bought from the Linkwise Furniture factory in southern China.

Customers were told that not everyone who bought a sofa would suffer a reaction but the number was high enough to call it a 'widespread' outbreak.

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