Choosing a Non Toxic mattress (and why it’s important)
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Are mattresses really toxic?
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Does it really matter?
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What’s hiding in your mattress?
You might think I’m crazy; you wouldn’t be the first to think so. Or maybe you are aware that mattresses can be toxic, but you’re probably having a hard time trying to figure out which non-toxic mattress is good for you? To make it easier for you, we are going to share our knowledge that we acquired over the years, and have found solutions to avoid being ripped off by fancy online marketing gimmicks.
Good sleep is very important – it is as important as eating healthy and doing exercises. We know this because our organic family customers share their experiences during the mattress processes. We had a mother who had five babies in the space of 9 years – she had series of insomnias during this period, and it really affected her health. She 38 now and trying really hard to be a very healthy and a strong mom. She got tired of sleeping on a conventional top mattress brand (hated it) after using it for 11 years, and I was ready to look for a very comfortable and safe mattress.
The importance of sleep
- Improves brain functionality – During sleep, your brain organizes and stores information. A good sleep will help you store and remember information you have learned. It also promotes creative thinking. Cool, isn’t it?
- Improves Emotional well-being – A good sleep helps you keep your emotions in check, you have more patience, you socialise easily and adapt to changes a lot better.
- Physical Health – Good sleep is vital for your physical health. During sleep, healing and repair of blood and vessels take place, thereby decreasing risks of heart diseases and high blood pressure. Good sleep also helps reduce the risk of obesity, supports healthy development, and improves the immune system.
- Hormonal balance – Good sleep helps to maintain a good balance of the hormones in your body. Thyroid, adrenal glands, insulin (which is responsible for blood sugar levels), and other hormones tend to function properly when you get a good sleep.
The chemicals hiding in mattresses
Most of us spend a big chunk of our time in bed. Although this is no good news, you need to know that there are chemicals present in most of these conventional mattresses which we inhale in big doses. You would think that the chemical exposure reduces the older the mattress gets, it doesn’t! It is very important to know what these chemicals are, because some of them can cause asthma, hormonal imbalance, increase body toxicity, and cause allergies. Here are some of the chemicals:
- Flame retardants (PBDE) – As a safety requirement, all mattresses are required to have resistance to open flames. To meet this requirement, most companies use fire retardant chemicals like Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). PBDE gives off toxic gases into the surrounding/human bodies, and these gases enter the surrounding air, house dust, and even food. They accumulate in the human body and can cause serious health issues. Because of its toxicity, PBDEs has been banned in many European countries.
- Formaldehyde/Melamine resin – Formaldehyde is a chemical used in making building materials and household products. It exists in various forms; it is colourless, has a pungent smell and is flammable. Formaldehyde is present in adhesives which are used in the manufacture of mattresses. It is also in the manufacture of flame retardants. When formaldehyde is present in the air at low levels, some people may have health issues like burning sensations, watery eyes, skin irritation, coughing, and nausea. Formaldehyde has also been classified as a probable human carcinogen and associated with certain types of cancer.
- Boric acid (hydrogen borate) – Boric acid is a mild acid of boron and is mostly used as roach killers. It is present in mattresses as a powder put into cotton fibres, which is meant to make the mattress insect resistant. However, if inhaled/swallowed, boric acid can make you vomit, cough, wheeze, and have difficulty in breathing.
More chemicals in baby mattresses:
Antimony – Although it is difficult to believe that anyone would hurt a baby, antimony is commonly used in making cot mattresses (baby mattresses). It is a metalloid and is used in making PVC coverings. These coverings have been found to be the primary source of potentially ingestible antimony in the baby mattress environment. Body fluids (urine, sweat, saliva) and domestic detergents have been found to enhance the leaching of antimony from PVC. Babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have been found to have high levels of metal in their bodies. It is so sad to know that our babies sleep on toxic beds that could kill them. Babies who sleep face down or on their stomachs are at higher risk because they will breathe the gas in directly (and it can be a lethal dose). If you cannot afford a nontoxic mattress, ensure you prevent this dangerous gas from reaching the baby by covering all the sides of the mattress and making the bed with pure cotton sheets.
The effects of chemicals in a mattress:
- Sleep Disorders – Although only few look for help, 1 in every 5 Americans suffer from a sleep disorder.
- Autism – Researchers have found out that genetic and environmental factors (like heavy metals and chemicals present in mattresses and surroundings) may be responsible for autism.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – According to new researches on SIDS, a toxic sleeping environment may the major contributing factor.
- Respiratory Illness – Toxins present in some mattresses are known to cause respiratory illnesses like asthma, cough, etc. and also increase the severity of these illnesses.
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) – Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between poor sleep and ADD/ADHD.
- Cancer: From PVC coverings, roach killers, to flame retardants, chemicals used in the production of these mattress components have been found to be carcinogenic.
Nontoxic Mattress guide – choosing the right one:
- Memory Foam (Viscoelastic) – Memory foams are manufactured using extra chemicals to make them extra flexible. Try as much to avoid buying it even if the manufacturer claims to have had it certified.
- Off-gassing – Avoid buying a new mattress that has a strong smell. Don’t let the seller fool you by telling you it’s normal, it isn’t. In fact, it is a sign that there is a presence of chemicals and off-gassing. Make sure the mattress you choose doesn’t smell at all.
- Not all “Organic” mattresses are safe – Not all organic mattresses are the same, some are manufactured using chemicals as their flame retardants. So before you buy that expensive organic mattress, make sure the flame retardants are made of natural materials. Hint – A genuine, health-conscious mattress company makes use of natural materials as their flame retardants instead of chemicals.
- Foam adhesives – Most manufacturers are not truthful about the nature of the adhesives they use in the manufacture of their mattresses; they all claim the adhesives are “natural” or “non-toxic”.
What about Latex Mattress?
Latex materials used in the production of a latex mattress are of two types – the natural latex made from tree sap, and the synthetic latex which is a blend of latex and chemical fillers. Both are manufactured through a Dunlop or Talalay process. Some companies claim that the Talalay is superior because it has longer lasting latex and a softer feel, but this depends on the purity and manufacturing process. Some companies mislead the consumer by cutting down the cost of production, some mattresses are a combination of organic and synthetic latex. A near 100% natural Talalay mattress queen size is between $1,999 – $3999 depending on the thickness, purity of the latex, and materials used for the mattress cover. If you’re buying the latex mattress because of health issues, make sure you get the near 100% natural, some companies claim to be absolutely 100% this is misleading, there needs to be some adhesives in order to form the sap from the rubber tree into natural latex layers.
The most important things to look for when buying a Non-toxic mattress:
- Materials used in its production are non-toxic, chemical-free and there is no out-gassing
- Look for GOTS Certifications and OEKO-TEX® | STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®
- Mattress is extremely comfortable and supports pressure points
- Promotes spine, neck, and back alignments.
- Gives a good night sleep
- No smells