Wednesday, May 28, 2008


TheBigRetort can reveal that a recent allergic epidemic that has been studied in Lahti, Finland, has found that being a dog - or a couch potato for that matter -may seriously damage your health. In fact, if that sofa has been made in China reclining in front of the telly may not be so 'suite'.

A Finnish study into the background to a recent epidemic that stretched the length and breadth of Britain has identified the substance that has caused agonising suffering in thousands of people. Chinese-made settees sold by Argos and Land of Leather have been named as the culprits of a violent irritant-related eczema, blisters, weeping and cracking.

After studying five patients the Finnish study concluded that the allergies related to a newly purchased chair or sofa. Furniture samples were analysed and compounds identified using a mass spectrum library and measured. The patients showed strong reactions to upholstery fabric samples and to dimethylfumarate, 'down to a level of 1 p.p.m. in the most severe case'.

Scientists concluded that the cause of the epidemic was likely to be contact allergy to the dimethylfumarate, a novel potent contact sensitiser. All sofas were traced to the same factory owned by Chinese firm 'Linkwise'. Apparently it had treated the furniture with 'a potent fungicide' to stop them going mouldy in storage. Customers have now been warned of the batch numbers affected with what is now termed "sofa dermatitis" over one year after the first outbreak.

So where was Trading Standards in all this?

A number of personal injury lawyers are currently trawling the Net in search of clients. In Wrexham a woman who purchased a brown Bari sofa from Argos was left with a severe rash to her buttocks. In another regions one victim came out with an allergic reaction; shortly after purchasing the sofa in May 2007 his symptoms included a painful rash on his back, thigh and hands. 'The distribution of his eczema coinciding with where he would sit at the end of the sofa.' A doctor later concluded that it was due to 'sofa dermatitis'.

Meanwhile 'Answers at Yahoo' suggested to a concerned pet owner that a 7-year old Yorkie was 'most likely having an allergic reaction to something she rubbed her face on outside.' But the dog (not pictured) may have identified the source of the epidemic some time back...

It developed a red rash like look around both eyes and face like a chemical burn. The dog's eyes were swollen and the skin around them bright pink. Although it was claimed by the dog's owner that the dog developed the symptoms after being out alone in the yard for just a few hours, its concerned owner informed Answers that it would later 'rub her face against the settee'. It now seems likely that the crafty canine was trying to tell its owner that the sofa was the cause of its irritation.

When informed by the TheBigRetort that the source of the epidemic had finally been identified - almost a year after it began - the dog is alleged to have barked, 'Fang heavens.'

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