There is evidence that flame retardants can cause cancer in adults and cognitive deficits in childrenALAMY

Scientists have warned that chemicals used to fireproof millions of British sofas could be linked to a surge in deadly thyroid cancer.

A conference next month will hear evidence that flame retardants such as decaBDE — decabromodiphenyl ether — used in most domestic sofas and mattresses, can cause cancer in adults and cognitive deficits in children.

It comes after government ministers were repeatedly warned by the civil servant in charge of furniture fire safety policy that the chemicals could be “deadly”.

Terry Edge quit the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) last year after failure to get changes in British law.

Check out if your sofa was treated before you buy, and don’t put one on after you buy.