There are a number of substances that may be causing you discomfort. My guess is fire retardants along with formaldehyde.
If you read the links below, I think you will conclude that there is little opportunity for you to purchase a sofa manufactured in the United States without fire retardants.
As suggested in previous Green Home Guide posts, your best strategy may be to:
- purchase a sofa from overseas such as Europe where manufacturing standards when it comes to chemical use is much stricter
- purchase a used sofa that has hopefully off-gassed all that it has to off-gas, or
- reupholster a used piece of furniture with environmentally friendly fabrics and stuffing such as natural latex or wool.
I wish I had simpler options for you but I don't.
For more information:
Read "I'd like to buy a "green" sofa that will hold up well with our two young children and not cost me $8,000. Suggestions?" a Q&A answered by Kirsten Flynn.
Also, check Kirsten Flynn's Q&A "Where can I purchase green furniture for my sons, especially a bed?"
"How can I buy furniture that is safe from chemicals?" is another related Q&A on this topic.