6 Things to Avoid when Choosing a Non-Toxic Mattress
If you're reading this, you're probably not sleeping on a non-toxic mattress.
Obviously, when it comes to your family's safety and health, you want to ensure that any bedding or mattress is safe to use.
Toxic beds can expose you to various dangers, including toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, lead-based coatings, and other compounds related to cancer in both people and animals.
Additionally, these compounds can induce respiratory difficulties such as asthma and cognitive disorders such as lower IQ levels in infants exposed before birth.
If you're unsure whether your bed contains any of these dangerous compounds, now is the time to find out!
Looking after your health with a non-toxic mattress
Looking after your health with a non-toxic mattress
Numerous chemicals included in mattresses can permeate your skin as you sleep. These toxic compounds can also impair your body's ability to recover from a day's work or play. Several of these hazardous substances have been linked to major health concerns.
If you're considering purchasing a new mattress, you should reconsider an off-the-shelf model that has been promoted by major mattress firms and warehouses (such as Costco) and is being sold at rock-bottom costs by chain retailers such as Ikea. These mattresses are often constructed of foams and other synthetic materials. The sale of hazardous mattresses has become so widespread that a new term for them has been coined: “zombie mattresses.”
These are mattresses that individuals are unable to part with. They even appear on television series such as Trading Spaces and Hoarders. These strange-looking rubbish beds have been discovered strewn with grass clippings, paint chips, pencil marks, old food cartons, cigarette butts–and even dead animals! Everyone attempts to rid of them by dumping them at thrift stores, flea markets, or even on the roadside if they are fortunate enough to survive being run over numerous times! The trucks used to move materials from point A to point B during manufacturing and afterwards on the distribution route are also a source of contamination.
Mattress makers are churning out new, low-cost models consisting of polyurethane foam, latex rubber, polyester fibres, and plastic–all of which can accumulate to be hazardous. At least six major components of off-the-shelf mattresses have been connected to various health problems: flame retardants, PVC (vinyl), hard plastics, lead in the paints used to paint them, phthalates (plastic softeners), and other heavy metals. While you sleep on them, these toxins leech into your skin! And almost half have been linked to major health concerns!
Watch out for these dangers when choosing a non-toxic mattress.
1) Flame Retardants: This ingredient, commonly referred to as chemical flame retardants, which assists in preventing mattresses from catching fire, raises the risk of developing different malignancies and reproductive disorders. The European Union has banned numerous types of this chemical sprayed on furniture, but the United States is not as concerned about its dangers–at least not yet.
This ingredient, which aids in the prevention of mattresses catching fire, may increase your risk of developing numerous types of cancer and reproductive disorders. The European Union has banned numerous types of this chemical sprayed on furniture, but the United States is not as concerned about its dangers–at least not yet.
2) Vinyl (PVC): This flexible plastic composed of polyvinyl chloride frequently contains phthalate compounds, which function in the body similarly to oestrogen and can cause a variety of health concerns, including reproductive disorders. PVC is prohibited in children's toys and products that directly contact food in the European Union.
3) Plastic: The most frequently used type of plastic in mattresses is polyurethane foam (a petroleum-based material that may contain additional harmful chemicals such as heavy metals). This sort of mattress emits potentially carcinogenic chemicals during manufacturing and while you sleep on it as the foam melts. This is especially true if you have a brand new mattress constructed of this material that has never been slept on.
The most often used type of plastic in mattresses is polyurethane foam (a petroleum-based material that may contain additional hazardous compounds such as heavy metals). This sort of mattress emits potentially carcinogenic chemicals during manufacturing and while you sleep on it as the foam melts. This is especially true if you have a brand new mattress constructed of this material that has never been slept on.
4) Lead in paints is another example of a toxin. The majority of off-the-shelf mattresses contain lead-based paint, which can reach dangerous levels of heavy metal into your system. Even in the United States, mattress tag standards allow leading to be present in up to 6% of the paint–enough to cause major health concerns over time!
“Consumers should consider mattresses as a possible source of chemicals such as flame retardants and phthalates,” says Dr Michael Caruso, director of the Environmental Health Department at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and an expert on chemical exposures. “I'm concerned about children exposed to these poisons via their cribs.” To make matters worse, many consumers are unaware that their new “mattress” has a chemical problem: The majority of off-the-shelf mattresses do not disclose their contents or make broad claims like being “all-natural” or “organic” without providing specifics.
5) Why are phthalates harmful to humans, and how do they enter into mattresses
Additionally, your mattress's cover may contain several substances. The majority of waterproof coatings (for example, Teflon®) contain PTFE. This non-stick coating is continuously delivered into your bloodstream as you sleep through microscopic openings in your skin. It has the potential to spread throughout your body, causing serious health impacts. DuPont has admitted that “PFOA exposure [from Teflon] at levels greater than those typically encountered by consumers is not safe.” Nonetheless, the majority of mattresses on the market are finished with this or another form of chemical.
The same is true for waterproof plastic barriers within any encasement, which frequently contain phthalates (another hormone disruptor).
“Several recent independent studies have shown that there is no safe amount of phthalate exposure,” says Dr Alloush of the Washington State Department of Health. “Even tiny doses have been demonstrated to have a substantial effect on health.”
Additionally, studies indicate that those who work with Teflon in an industrial environment suffer substantial dangers. As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency:
Fluorinated vapours can elicit flu-like symptoms when inhaled in high concentrations; prolonged exposure has been linked to liver and kidney damage, as well as lung cancer. The chemical PFOA [PTFE] appears to have the greatest environmental impact due to its persistence and accumulation in humans and animals.
6) Why are heavy metals harmful to human health, and how do they enter into mattresses
There are numerous types of heavy metals detected in off-the-shelf mattresses, most of which come from foam. Depending on the type of metal present, you may be exposed to a level that puts you at high risk of developing diseases such as cancer.
Deceptive vendors and manufacturers frequently use words like “medical grade” or “clean,” making it difficult for the typical consumer to determine whether the mattress they're considering purchasing includes potentially dangerous substances. None of these words refers to chemical content unless accompanied by a material safety data sheet (MSDS) that details the contents–a document that very few mattress manufacturers provide. However, regulated sectors often maintain complete MSDSs listing all chemicals contained in their products. As a result, you can typically determine whether a mattress includes harmful compounds by examining the MSDS.”
Another reason to be concerned about the contents of your mattress is that it is a significant fire hazard. Chemical powder coatings applied to mattresses–particularly those made of “breathable” fabrics–can ignite at extremely high temperatures, releasing hazardous gases into your home's air. And if chemicals from mattresses are combined with flame retardants from carpeting and workplace furniture, the results might be disastrous! So much so that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission suggested last year that polyurethane foam be removed from baby cribs after testing revealed that the toxins produced by burning foam were more than 1,000 times that of a home fire. What recommendations did the CPSC make regarding what to use instead? Latex rubber foam that is “natural” in nature–which is also utilised in mattresses.
To delve deeper into this debate, some detective work is required to ascertain which exact types of harmful compounds your mattress may contain. However, by obtaining access to the material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for hundreds of commercially available bedding products and comparing them to public health studies conducted by governmental agencies such as OSHA and NIOSH, we can determine the toxicity (or lack thereof) of various bedding options.
Why do you need to be concerned
The next sections discuss why you should be concerned about some harmful heavy metals and chemicals present in mattresses, as well as the recommended alternatives.
The majority of individuals are unaware that some metals can be harmful to health. Nonetheless, because humans are bioaccumulative organisms, any metal they ingest or absorb enters their bloodstream and tissues directly. This can frequently result in cancer, especially if heavy metals enter the brain.
According to research, certain chemical compounds containing antimony (a dangerous heavy metal) are frequently utilised as flame retardants.
According to research, these substances may be carcinogenic, especially children, who are more likely to swallow a pillow. Antimony chemicals have been demonstrated in at least one research to alter the structure of DNA and alter gene expression in ways that may result in cancer.
However, what about other heavy metals (such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, and lead) that you could be exposed to if your mattress contains flame retardants? To learn more about the potential effects of these chemicals on your health, let's examine some recent studies.
“The good news is that the fabric contains safe, even helpful substances. It is referred to as natural fibre. The bad news is that most modern mattresses include polyurethane foam or other synthetic materials that may contain harmful chemicals, according to Ami Gadhia, executive director of the nonprofit Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI).
“Polyurethane foam is used to cushion and soften beds. However, it is a highly petrochemical material generated from petroleum byproducts that have the potential to emit hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, flame retardants, and volatile organic compounds, as well as cancer-causing agents such as benzene.”
Choosing the right mattress can help you avoid many dangers.
Toxic mattresses contain toxic substances that are detrimental to your health, and the risks linked with toxic materials accumulate over time.
Non-toxic or organic mattresses, on the other hand, are unquestionably healthier due to their composition of natural latex, synthetic latex, organic cotton, and other natural ingredients. The addition of an organic cotton cover is purely optional.
Mercury exposure, for example, is especially hazardous for pregnant women since it has been linked to congenital abnormalities such as cerebral palsy or autism in children born to mothers who took high doses of this neurotoxin during pregnancy.
If you're unsure whether any component of your current mattress could be labelled “toxic,” we strongly recommend you replace it immediately!
There are numerous choices on the market that will not hurt your health.
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