If you’re looking to eliminate harmful toxins from your home, you need to take a close look at your mattresses. In the 1970s, most furniture was made with a large amount of polyurethane foam, which is highly toxic and highly flammable. In an effort to keep the public safe, the government mandated that all home furnishings be treated with (now-known carcinogens) PBDEs. In doing this, one problem was traded for another – as the years went on, it became clear that the PBDEs were far more harmful than anyone realized. This is also the case with polyurethane foam itself – both PBDE’s and polyurethane foam emit noxious chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that has since been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.
Fast-forward to today and most fire-retardant regulation has been revised for home furnishings, resulting in furniture that is made without these toxic fire retardants. Unfortunately, polyurethane foam is still used extensively in home furnishings and bedding and mattresses are still required to pass a fire-rating test, so many companies still use chemical flame retardants on their mattresses. This makes it hard for you to really know what is in your furniture and bed unless you know what to look for.
Foams: Not all foams are toxic. If you’re purchasing a piece of furniture that has foam padding, or a mattress that is made from memory foam, look for products that carry the CertiPUR-US certification. These foams are made without PBDEs, formaldehyde, and phthalates and are also Low VOC. If you’re considering buying a mattress or piece of furniture that includes foam, check to make sure they are on the list of participating companies on the CertiPUR-US website here.
Latex Foams: 100% natural latex foam is made from all-natural materials – not from polyurethane. However, you still need to be careful when choosing latex as some latex foam producers make a product that is called synthetic latex foam. As you might imagine, this is made from chemicals to create a product that mimics the same properties of natural latex, but don’t be fooled, this product is just as unhealthy as other chemical-laden foams. Look for latex foam that is made from the Dunlop or Talalay process. If you aren’t sure what exact foam a company is using, call and ask who their supplier is and make sure this company makes only all-natural products.
Mattress Covers: Mattresses are still required to meet strict fire-safety requirements and to do this, many companies still use a chemical fire barrier. It can be hard to know this though because it isn’t often called-out. The alternative to using a chemical fire barrier is to wrap a mattress in a cover that has been encased in thickly quilted wool. Wool is naturally fire-resistant, and when thick enough, creates a fire barrier that meets all fire-safety requirements. If you are considering a mattress that does not call out its fire barrier materials, make sure to call and ask. If a company lists wool as part of the mattress cover components, verify that the amount of wool used meets the standard to provide fire protection. Some companies will try to make it look like they are using the wool as a fire barrier but aren’t using enough so still have a chemical fire barrier. Wool is an expensive material, hence some companies cutting corners and misleading consumers.
We have chosen to make our mattresses with 100% natural latex, CertiPUR-US foams and organic cotton mattress covers that have been quilted to wool for full fire protection. It is important to us that we use only the highest quality materials and never use any chemicals that could harm our consumers, employees or the earth. It’s not just your comfort we are invested in, it is your health too.