More toxic mattress “lies” that boil my blood!

I had a completely different post planned for today, but in light of a recent conversation, I just had to write this instead.

You might recall a post last spring when we were in the market for a mattress for our son.  We wantedbed savvy rest an organic, chemical-free mattress so we could have peace of mind while he was getting a peaceful night’s rest.  The issue is the excessive chemicals sprayed on traditional mattresses to make them meet government standards for fire retardants.  They are so, so dangerous for everyone, since we inhale these toxic chemicals each and every night, but especially for children with developing bodies and systems.

Well, a friend of ours recently contacted us and wanted to know about the mattress we ended up buying.  When I sent him the information he told me that the mattress store he just visited told him that he was “unable to buy that type of mattress without a prescription” (presumably because they are also hypo-allergenic) and “they have to use chemical fire retardants to meet standards”.

This is where my blood started to boil.

The reality is that they were lying to our friend simply because they didn’t HAVE what he was looking for and, obviously, would go to any length to make a sale.

mattress fillThe truth of the matter is this:   Mattresses do NOT need to be sprayed with chemicals to make them fire retardant! They do, however, need to meet standards for BEING fire retardant.  There are other ways to meet this standard but unfortunately, for consumers, the cheapest way to do this is simply to spray on a load of dangerous chemicals.

The mattress we chose was from Savvy Rest (via Natural Bed Co.).  Since organic wool is quilted to the inside of the organic cotton fabric cover, THIS is the non-flammable layer that inhibits burning and makes it pass these tests.

I absolutely hate the fact that a mattress retailer would tell such lies just for the sake of a sale.  But on top of that, they are completely misleading consumers about the truth.

Of course, there are honest retailers out there, but if you are in the market for a new mattress, don’t be misled.  You CAN buy a safe, non-toxic mattress… no prescription needed.

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13 thoughts on “More toxic mattress “lies” that boil my blood!

  1. You know, the last thing I want is my child’s bed to go up in flames, but in order for there to be a fire, there must first be a source of ignition. Sometimes I think we are living with fire retardant material rules from a different time. Electrical wiring is much safer now, and most people don’t smoke, even fewer smoke in the home, and hopefully none in bed much less in a child’s room. I’m pretty convinced that these rules were created for a time when there was an ashtray next to every bed, not to mention faulty wiring in every wall. At this point in order for a bed to catch fire, there is likely to be a serious fire already going on in the house. By the time it lights the bed, unless the bed is excessively flammable, it’s likely too late anyway. Why should we be chemically treating mattresses to be sure that cigarette’s aren’t going to make them burst into flames when we aren’t stupid enough to smoke in the first place?

  2. Gus – as usual, I couldn’t agree more! The occurrence of actual “bed fires” is so statically rare (I’m talking one in several MILLION) that it seems to be more a matter of liability. When some idiot does smoke in bed and ignites the thing manufacturers have the fallback claim of there being fire retardants sprayed on the mattress (ie. “wasn’t our fault!”). The fact that fewer than 10% of the chemicals sprayed on mattresses have little- to no-testing about the long-term effects on humans as we sleep is just as alarming. I will NEVER buy a traditional mattress again for that exact reason. Who wants to inhale chemicals as they sleep? I, for one, DON’T!!!

  3. I agree with you both! We’ve come such a long way with smoke and fire detectors so it seems like the need isn’t as present. I was enlightened reading this because I recently bought my daughter her big girl bed and I wish I knew this information. Sadly, it’s a run of the mill mattress from a national chain. I wonder can I at least offset some of the chemical-ness from the mattress with a healthy mattress pad?
    .-= OneGreenMommy´s last blog ..Update: Green Kids Parties =-.

  4. My son’s big boy bed mattress is an old hand-me-down, so I content myself with the thought that most of the toxics have already out-gassed and been inhaled by my nephew.

  5. First of all, I totally had to a great laugh on Gus’s last comment. Oh my. But I just cannot get over the amount of chemicals everywhere. I hope you called that retailer up Doreen and flexed your muscles 😉 Good post…I wish we had more money to replace all of ours!
    .-= smilinggreenmom´s last blog ..Roasted Pumpkin Seed Meditation =-.

  6. OneGreenMommy – I wish I could put your mind at ease, but my understanding is that there is no cover that can block the off-gassing. Some manufacturers have claimed different, but no impartial resource agrees. Sorry!

    Gus – Oh, that’s awful! 🙂 But honestly, our daughter sleeps on a mattress I bought 12 years ago for a spare bedroom. Barely anyone has ever slept on it until she inherited it four years ago. I, too, hope that over that time the off-gassing has ceased! Plus, keep in mind that the big chemical “overdose” happened as of July 1, 2007. Before then they weren’t nearly as bad! It’s “today’s” mattresses that are the major concern.

    smilinggreenmom – no kidding! I don’t want my husband and I, or our children, in danger of bursting into flames either, but lacing mattresses with chemicals is NOT the answer!
    .-= Doreen / Mom Goes Green´s last blog ..More toxic mattress “lies” that boil my blood! =-.

  7. There are many other reasons for purchasing an organic mattress aside from the fire retardants. Also consider that an organic mattress made from natural latex, organic cotton and wool is mold, mildew and dust mite resistant. A quality organic, natural latex mattress will last at least 20 years or longer and don’t forget about your pillows and comforter.

  8. Rex – I certainly agree with all of those points (a few being mentioned in my first post). These are certainly benefits to add to the mix, but I still go back to my biggest concern being the DANGERS of conventional mattresses. Those fire retardants are unbelievably toxic!

  9. I think your friend must have been looking for a mattress that was just cotton without wool for fireproofing. I looked at one for my daughter because they are much cheaper, but they do actually require a prescription. Crazy, but true!

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  12. ….two years ago I fell asleep on my Futon bed (not organic) having left a candle in a big holder on the wood at the end of the Futon – yes I know stupid. On the bottom of the bed was one of those furry long pillows they STILL SELL at Costco.

    I woke up in time to see the candle fall onto the pillow. For about 2 seconds nothing happened and then it caught fire and LITERALLY IGNITED AS THOUGH SOMEONE HAD THROWN GAS ON IT – the flames reached the ceiling.

    I leapt up ran shouting to my daughters and we relayed throwing water on the it. It took several big pans to put it out.

    It was scary. But most scary was this: the inside of the pillow was a congealed GREEN mess and the air was thick with the most noxious, poisonous smoke imaginable. It filled our entire two bedroom home. We opened all the windows and doors. The Futon, which was billed “natural” when I bought it was mostly wool. That too had been exposed to the fire…but had hardly burned at all,. just blackened and it did not catch fire the way the pillow did/

    I was so alarmed by the toxicity of the pillow and the SPEED with which it ignited I called the local fire department the next day. The Assistant Fire Chief told me that the reason it flared up so fast is because THE CHEMICALS SPRAYED ON PILLOWS AND MATTRESSES TODAY TO MAKE THEM FIRE RETARDANT ARE MADE OUT OF PETROLEUM. YES, YOU READ CORRECTLY, THAT WAS NOT A TYPO.

    What? I asked him to repeat it 3 times in different ways so I could really get a handle on what he said and be sure I hadn’t misunderstood. He said that most deaths from fires today are not from the fire but from the toxic smoke.

    He suggested I contact the State of Hawaii to complain. I did. Nothing much happened.

    I also called the local Costco who said “gee sorry, so glad no one was hurt but not our responsibiilty” Then I left a message on the voicemail of Costco’s Legal Counsel – that got me a phone call very fast. I asked them to stop selling the pillows. They said gosh, you have to speak to the people we buy them from – which is basically the people who supply Walmart and Sam’s Club. They assured me the pillows were “totally safe” and they were supposed to get back to me about what exactly was sprayed on the darn pillows but of course never did.

    Then life took over (I’m a single mom) and I never followed up. However, when I see anyone in Costco with one of those pillows in their cart I tell them what happened!!!!

    I sometimes think of doing a demonstration with the pillow and posting it on youtube and facebook…maybe that would stop the sales.

    You would think someone is trying to cause deaths, not prevent them. The truth is that the chemicals sprayed onto mattresses, pillows and furniture is not only toxic to our central nervous system but it is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE.

    Francesca in Hawaii

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