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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1,000 people are planning to sue High Street stores over toxic sofas which have been blamed for provoking dramatic allergic reactions and skin burns.

Argos to be sued after toxic sofas blamed for causing skin burns and allergies

Extracts from the Telegraph:

"The problem with the sofas, which were mainly sold by Argos and Land of Leather, is believed to have been caused by a potent fungicide Di-methyl Fumarate (DMF).

DMF is stored in sachets inside the sofas to stop them going mouldy but has been blamed for a series of violent reactions in babies, adults and even household pets.

The sofas, made by Chinese firm Linkwise, were withdrawn when problems were first identified last year, but many people who bought them are still suffering.

For China, the sofa problems marks the latest in a long line of high-profile scandals surrounding the safety of its exports, including pet food, toothpaste and toys.

Law firm Russell Jones and Walker is representing injury claims for more than 500 people who say they were affected by the sofas and, together with other law firms, is planning a group action in the High Court on behalf of 1,000 people.

RJandW solicitor Christian Shotton believes the case will see sofa retailers forced to pay out up to £4 million in compensation, replacement furniture and legal fees.

"This is the biggest customer liability claim group action in the UK," he said. "Some people were left looking like they'd had scalding water poured over their back or really bad sunburn, some people have been left with permanent scars and some suffered depression from not knowing what was wrong with them for so long.""

"A spokesman for Argos said it had consulted a dermatologist, who confirmed the most likely cause of the skin irritation was the DMF.

The company stressed that DMF's potency deteriorates over time, so people who own Linkswise sofas and have not been affected are unlikely to experience problems now."