You might purchase eco-friendly clothing and beauty products that contain less chemicals, food with fewer preservatives, and plastic bottles free of BPA, but I’m sure that you hardly think about what goes into your mattress. I decided to do some research on the toxins in my mattress, and let me tell you, the list goes on and on.
One of the main reasons for all the toxins in conventional mattresses is that in 2007, it was made mandatory that all mattresses must contain enough flame retardant to withstand a 2 foot wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds. These flame retardants are usually not in your best interest healthwise, with up to 90% of the those in mattresses containing highly toxic chemicals.
1. Boric Acid: A flame retardant that can cause reproductive and developmental issues, and is often used as a pesticide.
2. Antimony: Antimony, a possible carcinogen, is also a flame retardant. It can cause damage to the heart and lungs. According to the EPA, the amount of antimony found in conventional mattresses is 27.5 times higher then the recommended amount.
3. Decabromodiphenyl oxide: This is yet another toxic flame retardant that can cause hair loss, memory loss, and possibly cancer.
Another component of mattresses high in toxins is memory foam and the cushion material.
4. Polyurethane: Polyurethane foam is found in memory foam and conventional mattresses, and is made from combining Toluene Diisocyanate and Polyol. Toluene Diisocyanate can cause asthma, headaches, nausea and disruptions in both your immune and nervous systems.
5. Adhesives: The chemicals methylene, chloride, benzene, and formaldehyde are the most common ones found in mattress glues and adhesives. These may cause lung, nose and throat cancers as well as allergies and skin irritations.
This list doesn’t even begin to cover the pesticides found in conventional cotton. It doesn’t even cover half of the chemicals I found in my research. So, is there a safe mattress out there?
Photo courtesy of Chris Crawford.