Reasons to Sleep Natural;
GOOGLE IT. Look at the thousands of complaints
from people getting sick on their non-organic mattress.
1) Non-Organic mattress manufacturers make mattresses that have two main issues when it comes to health;
A) The Contents in the mattress.
B) The Fire Retardant Barrier on the mattress.
A) The Contents of the Mattress;
Non-Organic mattress manufacturers make mattresses from man-made
materials, most of which are petrochemical based. Polyurethane foams,
Glues & adhesives, perfumes & deodorizers & the like (see below).
Petro chemical based of coarse means the materials are derived from oil.
Oil is not not a renewable resource, its is highly flammable, and contains
toxins. Think of oil spill clean up hazmat suits (see below for real off
gassing test results).
Glues, adhesives, perfumes, deoderizers and the rest contain many off
gassing toxins as well (see below for more in depth info).
These toxins off gass out of these products into your bedroom atmosphere.
B) The Fire Retardant Barrier on the mattress:
As of 2007, radical new fire retardant standards have been in place in the
USA. All mattresses sold in theUSAmust meet these standards by law.
To reach these new standards, non-organic mattress manufacturers
use chemicals sprayed on the fabrics of their mattresses. Chemicals such
as formaldehyde, antimony, PDBE’s, and the like (see below for more
info). These new fire retardant standards were pushed through Congress
by special interests, including the cigarette lobby & the chemical lobby.
2) Our skin absorbs toxins. Our lungs breathe in these off-gassing, airborne toxins.
Do you trust the big brand mattress manufacturers to tell you its safe to
sleep on their mattresses? Unwary consumers spend a third of their life in
this cacophony of toxins.
3) Certified (be wary of non-certified pretenders!) Organic mattresses are made with
certified, chemical free, truly natural materials. Resources that also
encourage sustainable farming throughout the world. So please help us
spread the word! Sleep Natural!
FURTHER READING (and some sources listed below).
In this forum, we will attempt to educate our customers on the rampant toxic chemical usage in modern day, American non-organic mattresses.
We will display this information in two parts.
Part 1 Chemical Fire Retardants and Part 2 Chemicals Used in Non Organic Mattress Manufacturing
PART 1; CHEMICAL FIRE RETARDANTS IN MATTRESSES.
2/22/2013. Update. The following is a letter from concerned Senators to the acting Administrator of the US EPA.
“We can buy things that are BPA free, or phthalate free or lead free. We don’t have the choice to buy things that are flame-retardant free…The laws protect the chemical industry, not the general public… current federal oversight of chemicals is so weak that manufacturers are not required to label products with flame retardants nor are they required to list what chemicals are used.”
-Dr. Heather M. Stapleton, a professor of environmental chemistry at Duke University.
List of Fire Retardants “commonly” used by unorganic mattress manufacturers (what is funny here is that they don’t make manufacturers list or report what chemicals/means they actually use to reach FR Standards!)
- Boric Acid
- Formaldehyde http://www.nrdc.org/living/chemicalindex/formaldehyde.asp
- Decabromodiphenyl oxide
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (pbde) http://www.nrdc.org/living/healthreports/pbdes-and-other-flame-retardants.asp
- Antimony trioxide
- Vinylidene chloride
- Zinc borate
http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/flames/index.html (iMAGE of video)
This piece from the Chicago Tribune does a good job at summing up the history, culprits, and health risks surrounding this issue. http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/69743455/News/Video-The-truth-about-flame-retardants
Notes on Fire Retardants in mattresses.doc
The actual Consumer Products Safety Commision report regarding mattress flammability retardants, followed by notes on excerpts from the piece made by Shane Coker, Owner of Austin Natural Mattress, on what this information means for the consumer.
http://www.ombwatch.org/files/Watcher/may302012.pdf (scroll half way down the page)
…While these chemicals are intended to reduce the flammability of products, they also slowly leak out into the
air, dust, and water and eventually enter our food and bodies.
http://watoxics.org/news/pressroom/press-clips/flame-retardants-higher-in-kids-than-adults/?searchterm=flame%20retardants Shows chemical fire retardants percentages showing much higher in newest generation. Much more information regarding children and fire retardants here; http://watoxics.org/search?SearchableText=flame+retardants
Duke University study on fire retardants.
The United States Government Accountability Office proclaiming the EPA “lacks scientific information on the toxicity of many chemicals”…”and that most of the 83,000 chemicals already in use… and the 700+ that get introduced yearly are not properly vetted.” (paraphrased).
This is a San Antonio tv news report where they interviewed Austin Natural Mattress owner Shane Coker extensively. The mattress Michael purchases to fix his toxic problem was one from Austin Natural Mattress.
NBC news report on chemical fire retardants flammability test in mattresses instituted in 2007. Includes consumers and mattress plant workers testing positive medically for these flame retardant compounds in their blood stream.
Really good information regarding avoiding chemical fire retardants. Please see this site as well! http://organicbabyuniversity.com/
PART 2: CHEMICALS USED IN NON-ORGANIC MATTRESS MANUFACTURING.
a) Polyurethane Foam;
“Prolonged exposure to petroleum-based chemicals in products like urethane foam may affect the nervous and immune system and cause illnesses including cancer, neurological disorders, autoimmune weakness, asthma and allergies, infertility, miscarriage and child behavior disorders.” (Source; Livestrong.com)
“Most mattresses are made from plastic foam products and polyesters, with a mix of flame-retardant chemicals added. The chemicals in bedding most often cited as potential sources of concern are pesticides, herbicides, fire retardants, stain-resistant solvents, the various substances in synthetic fibers, and formaldehyde. This combination may cause breathing, skin, and asthmatic reactions.”
b) Glues & Adhesives;
Below is a link to a chart listing chemicals used in adhesives (vs other mattress components) found in non-organic mattresses.
Regarding the Application of Glues in Standard Mattresses;
Mattress manufacturers Tempur-pedic, Simmons, Serta, Sealy, Kingsdown, Spring Air etc use glues to bond the inner layers of mattresses together as well as to bond the fabric cover to the core. Adhesives can be rolled to bond each layer or can be diluted in water and sprayed over each surface to be bonded. This second application method allows manufacturers to call their glue a “water based adhesive”.
A water based adhesive is a simple process whereby water is mixed in with a solvent based adhesive to facilitate spraying the glue over each mattress surface. When the glue dries, all water molecules in the adhesive evaporate and only the adhesive which emit VOCs is left behind.
The long-term health effects that may occur after prolonged exposure to Volatile Organic Content (VOC) found in Adhesive/Glue solvents include cancers, damage to the heart, liver, central nervous system and kidneys.
In any kind of adhesive, the main ingredients are:
- Solvent/water carrier
- Solid component
Solvent or water carrier; It is the main ingredient in solvent and water-based adhesive formulations. The function of these formulations is to dissolve the solids ingredients that are deposited while bonding two surfaces.
All types of adhesives have solvent content except for hot melt adhesives which are 100-percent solid content and rely on heat to cure.
Solid component; The solid component is responsible for the bonding of two surfaces. It is usually dissolved in the solvent and is deposited on the surface when the solvent evaporates. Most of the adhesives use a polymer called as styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer, as the solid component; except for the water-based adhesives that use latex.
Tackifying resin; Tackifying agents gives a sticky nature to the adhesives. The agent makes both surfaces in contact to “tack up”. Most of the adhesives use a rosin-based material as tackifying agent.
Antioxidants; Antioxidants are an important ingredient in mattresses adhesives because they protect the glue for getting oxidized in their containers. Antioxidants account for 0.1 to 1% of the total volume.
Surfactant; Surfactant is an important component of water-based adhesives constituting 0.5 percent of the glue. Surface-active agents are chemicals that increase the emulsifying, foaming, dispersing, spreading and wetting properties of a product.
Stabilizers; Some adhesives are unstable chemically or thermally, and need addition of stabilizers to function well. Some stabilizers neutralize acids and bases formed in the glue due to interaction between the ingredients.
Fillers; Some adhesives used in mattresses use fillers. Filers are high-molecular-weight substances like wax used for strength.
Regarding Perfumes and Deodorizers;
Certain imported polyurethane memory foam products have industrial perfumes to mask the chemical odor that exists in their products.
- Chemicals Found in Air Fresheners:
- Tributyltin maleate (carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity etc)
- Bonded quatermary ammonium chloride compounds
- Phenolics (wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenol)
- Paradichlorobenzene (anticipated to be a carcinogen)
What is Mattress Off-Gassing?
What is mattress off-gassing? Most simply stated, polyurethane foam and flame retardants off-gas and decompose over time. The typical mattress and box spring is soaked in a strange brew of fire retardant chemicals, formaldehyde, and other toxic glues, stains, and coatings. These chemicals can release deadly and often carcinogenic gasses.
Can You Smell Off-Gassing?
Some of the deadliest off-gassing is due to fungus and bacteria consuming flame retardants and releasing toxic byproducts. This can happen in older mattresses which no longer have any smell. Don’t be fooled into thinking a mattress is completely safe just because it does not smell. Also, it is important to know that flame retardants are added to both adult and baby mattresses, hence, switching mattress types does nothing.
Why Known Carcinogens are Added to Mattresses
One might ask, with all the very obvious health risks of adding carcinogenic chemicals to our mattresses, why is this allowed? In 2005, California passed a law requiring any mattresses sold in the state to resist open flames. All 50 states already had existing legislation that required mattresses do not go up in flames due to a lit cigarette. Some experts estimate the laws will save a few hundred lives per year. What the lawmakers didn’t realize, was that these fire-resistant mattress mandates came with a nasty hidden cost. Mattress manufacturers are treating the mattress materials with known carcinogens such as boric acid (rat poison, roach killer) and Antimony Trioxide to make them fireproof.
Why Polyurethane Foam is Uses in Mattresses
Polyurethane foam is used in almost every mattress type because its cheap, lightweight, strong and durable. The downside is that polyurethane foam tends to decompose or off-gas very slowly over time. Polyurethane foam replaced latex for padding/softness in American mattress production during WWII.
Polyurethane Foam Found in Almost All Mattress Types
Memory foam mattresses usually have a layer of polyurethane foam to add additional cushioning and durability.
If you don’t get an organic mattress, you can expect to find polyurethane foam in all mattress types. Even blow-up mattresses and water-beds usually have a layer of polyurethane foam inside them to help make a stronger seal.
If you recently purchased a new mattress and you’re getting strange side effects or headaches, you may want to consider switching to an organic mattress. If you’re experiencing irritation, nausea or other symptoms, it may be the result of an allergic reaction to chemicals decomposing in your mattress.
Organic Latex Mattresses; the Most Healthy Solution
Latex mattresses are sometimes polyurethane and chemical free (you’ll have to read the ingredients and check to see whether it’s truly organic), and sometimes they are not. There are synthetic latex foams (not organic at all, and not safe from off-gassing), blended latex (interestingly enough still called “natural”), 100% natural latex foams and certified organic latex foams. Latex Sap is harvested from Hevea Brasiliensis (rubber) trees usually found within about 10 degrees of the equator. Generally rubber trees can be harvested for their sap about 160 days a year, and some sources say the trees recover within about an hour. The material is completely natural, and sustainable since rubber trees can produce sap indefinitely.
Unfortunately, even mattresses made with natural rubber (latex) usually have polyurethane foam or fire retardant components. Many companies proclaim “organic” with no certifications whatsoever. Some companies proclaim a mattress a “latex mattress”, when it is in all actuality 2 or 3 inches of synthetic latex on top of a 5 or 6 inch polyurethane oil based core, complete with glues & fire retardants and all the rest.
OMI and SavvyRest (our truly organic manufacturers) use no chemical fire retardants or polyurethane foams. Their latex sap is outside third party certified organic and chemical free.
Theory Only at this point: Mattress Off-Gassing: A Secret Cause of SIDs?
Most of us are familiar with the medical advice that infants lay face up while sleeping to prevent SIDs (children should not be placed face down to sleep). Experts also agree that male children are twice as susceptible as females, and African American children are also more likely to die from SIDs. The controversial findings of several studies (see below) suggest that trace amounts of off-gassing collect near the mattress surface, where a high concentration of chemicals collect.
Babies that are laid face down are subjected to a potentially lethal dose of chemicals (both through breathing and skin absorption), which prevents the medulla oblongata from regulating normal breathing functions. The failure of the medulla oblongata to regulate body functions results in the child’s death (e.g. the Mayo Clinic, a world renown medical research facility at least agrees that the failure of the brain stem causes SIDs; however they conclude that the true cause of failure is mostly unknown. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/DS00145/DSECTION=causes).
Mattress Fire Retardants Include Known Carcinogens
The fire retardants phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, and boron (also known as boric acid and used in rat poison) which are added to mattresses are known carcinogens and known health hazards (Health impacts of Boron (Boric Acid) http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts26.html). No one disagrees that these chemicals are highly hazardous to our health.
Some scientists strongly believe that the carcinogenic cocktail in our mattresses (boron, phosphorus, arsenic and antimony) are the primary causes of SIDS. The opponents of this theory simply argue that this conclusion is wrong, although they provide no alternative explanation(s).
Published Scientific Studies Say Mattress Off-Gassing May Cause SIDs
Every day, 8 babies die in the USA due to ‘crib death’ or SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Although most experts agree that the failure of medulla oblongata to regulate body functions is the most likely cause of SIDs, few experts agree that mattress off-gassing is causing this.
Several studies show data which demonstrates decisively that off-gassing is the primary cause of SIDs (sudden infant death syndrome). At the bottom of this article, I have listed some of the scientific studies on which scientists have staked their careers and reputation on the premise that mattress off-gassing may cause SIDs.
According to Dr. Jim Sprott in New Zealand and Mr. Barry Richardson in the United Kingdom, bacteria and fungus consume the flame retardants (phosphorus, arsenic, antimony), releasing deadly byproducts into the atmosphere near the baby. According to these studies, high doses of these byproducts are deadly for young children who are not yet completely developed, which results in SIDs (Crib Death). The advice to have a child lay face up to prevent SIDs would make sense since the harmful chemicals off-gassing would tend to be in the highest concentrations on the mattress surface.
Implications of Mattress Off-Gassing Studies
The implications of these studies suggest that a non-permeable wrap should be placed around infant mattresses to prevent deadly off-gassing vapors from being absorbed through a child’s skin or lungs. Dr. Sprott developed “BabeSafe covers” for this purpose, and they are marketed in several countries (some claim his study was for his own financial gain). According to the New Zealand studies, wrapping mattresses in a non-permeable, non-off gassing membrane (a type of polyurethane plastic, e.g. “BabeSafe” cover) prevented SIDs (165,000 births with no SIDs were recorded).
Opponents argue that the mattress wrapping was correlation without causation and that the findings should be rejected as non-scientific. If youre not going to purchase an organic baby mattress, perhaps spending a few dollars on a mattress wrap for prevention is worth the cost. Even if we can’t be sure whether these studies are conclusive, one thing is for sure. Non- organic mattresses truly do off-gas, and preventing your baby from breathing chemicals is never a ‘bad’ idea.
Allergic Reactions to Mattress Off-Gassing
With that said, many adults have reported head-aches, nausea, and strange allergic reactions while sleeping on new non-natural mattresses. With each report of this nature, it is important to note where the mattress was purchased, as well as the materials and chemicals used in the manufacturing of the mattress. If you are having strange or adverse effects from a new mattress, it is possible that off-gassing is the culprit.
Note on Dr. Hannes Kapuste
The “p” (probability) factor for the mattress-wrapping intervention was calculated by Dr Hannes Kapuste(in collaboration with the University of Munich) as being: p = less than 1.9 x 10-22. It is usual in medical circles to regard a “p” of less than 0.01 (10-2) as sound proof of a scientific proposition; and if the “p” is less than 0.001 (10-3), that is regarded as virtually certain proof. 1.9 x 10-22 (the “p” factor for mattress-wrapping) can be written as: 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,19 In other words, statistical proof that mattress-wrapping prevents crib death is one billion billion times the level of proof which medical researchers generally regard as constituting enough certainty to prove a scientific proposition. This is why Dr Kapuste described the toxic gas theory for crib death and mattress-wrapping for crib death prevention as having “overwhelming reliability”.
Fitzpatrick, M.G. 1998. SIDS and The Toxic Gas Theory (letter), New Zealand Medical Journal, October 9, 1998.
Hon A.F. King, M.P., 2001. New Zealand Minister of Health, correspondence, April.
Kapuste, Hannes. 2002. “Giftige Gase im Kinderbett” (“Toxic Gases in Infants’ Beds”). Zeitschrift fuer Umweltmedizin (Journal of Environmental Medicine) (2002, No. 44) 18-20.
Mitchell, P.R. 2001. Analysis of Official UK Statistics for Cot Deaths and Infant Deaths by Other Causes, 1996-1999.
New Zealand Ministroy of Health. 2000. Changes to infant sleep practices in Canterbury, New Zealand Medical Journal 2000;113:8-10
New Zealand Health Information Service (NZHIS), Official New Zealand Cot Death Statistics.
Richardson, Barry A. 1994. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A Possible Primary Cause. Journal of Forensic Science Soc. Jul-Sep; 34(3):199-204.
Richardson, Barry A. 2004 Cot Death Today. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 2004, Vol. 14, No. 3, Pages 219-220
SIDS Alliance. 2001. www.sidsalliance.org Sprott, T.J. 2000. Critique of the 1998 UK Limerick Report. www.cotlife2000.com
Sprott, T.James 1996. The Cot Death Cover-Up? Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin Books.
Sprott, T.James 2004. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 2004, Vol. 14, No. 3, Pages 221-232
Sprott, T.James 2000. Research Which Confirms and Supports the Toxic Gas Theory For Cot Death New Zealand Medical Journal 2000;113:326-327
Sprott, T.James 2003. The Cause of Cot Death and How to Prevent It, Cot Life 2000, March 2003
Consumer Products Safety Commission;
nicholas.duke.edu (Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment)
American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute: http://www.sids.org
Causes of Sides & Definition: http://bit.ly/TOTEMW
Recent Findings About SIDs: http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20060931195901data_trunc_sys.shtml
The Mayo Clinic on SIDS: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/DS00145/DSECTION=causes
Fox59 TV Gets First Industry Admission of Chemicals in Beds: http://www.stmarystoday.com/fire_retardant_in_bedding_a_good.htm