Why are there Harmful Chemicals in a Typical Mattress?
It may be a perplexing quandary to discover why a mattress is required to be flame retardant, yet isn’t required to be free of chemicals which are known to be cancer agents. The short of the answer is that just as the industry was mandated to help prevent fires caused from people falling asleep in bed with a lit cigarette, the same requirement never addressed how the industry would adhere to that directive to introduce flame retardant mattresses into our homes.
It all began in 2005, in California, when a law passed that required any mattress sold in the state to be resistant to open flames. It was a very good idea and the entire US followed suit in 2007 with a federal law requiring the same. Estimates put the average inattentive smoker falling asleep with a lit cigarette in their hands (and engulfing themselves and the house in flames) was around one for every one million US citizens. Though it seems like a small amount, there have been a few hundred lives saved a year as a result considering the size of the population.
But in a typical industry reliant on profit margin, the simplest way to comply with the law was not to devise space-age materials in the mattresses themselves to avoid a conflagration of flames, but rather, spray them with modern fire retardants that do the same thing. And that is where lawmakers were lapse in foresight. These chemicals are a cheap way to follow the standards, without regard to the side effects of the cost-cutting measures: namely, cancer.
So now that we understand it’s a ‘buyer-beware’ world (or perhaps ‘sleeper-beware’ would be a better term), where your mattress is less likely to burst into flames with the errant tipped-over candle, yet can be sprayed with heavens-knows-what to make it so, what to do?
Non-organic mattresses are made up of man-made materials that are usually petroleum based. This can include polyurethane foams, glue, adhesives… and even perfumes and deodorizers to waft alluring to the unsuspecting shopper. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never judge a mattress by the sweet scent of lavender and rose either. If you do, you’re falling into the trap the manufacturer is hoping for: aroma hiding potentially toxic sprayed film. These flame retardant chemicals off-gas right into your body and it’s enough to make you lose a goodnight sleep when you think about what contaminants might be doing to your long-term health.
What’s the concern? According to Livestrong.com, prolonged exposure to petroleum-based chemicals may affect the nervous system, the immune system, and cause cancer, neurological disorders, autoimmune weakness, asthma and allergies, infertility, miscarriage and child behavior disorders. Ouch.
It’s time to consider the natural mattress. A certified all natural latex mattress, organic cotton mattress or an organic wool mattress are the healthiest solutions available today. What’s in them? Austin natural organic mattress stores carry mattresses that are made of organic cotton, organic wool, coco coir, and other natural materials that are just as safe as your typical fire retardant mattress, but without chemicals like tributyltin maleate, bonded quatermary ammonium chloride compounds, decamethcyclopentasiloxane and other big insomnia inducing words that you do not want coming between you, your skin, and a night of restful sleep.
Natural mattresses or organic beds are made from latex sap harvested from Hevea Brasiliensis, aka rubber trees. These trees are harvested for sap approximately 160 days a year and if sustainability is a big concern for you, the trees recover within about an hour. The sap is a natural source and rubber trees can produce the material indefinitely. The environment wins, and the future of your health does as well.
That’s something you can sleep easy on.