Quality, even in choosing a mattress should be a priority. However, with many brands claiming to produce an eco-friendly mattress, it's hard to tell which of them stood by their words. If you're buying an organic mattress for the first time, there are a few things you need to know so you can make an informed decision. You should know how an actual "green" mattress can give you a good night's sleep and how dangerous their poly foam counterparts are. Are Latex Mattresses Eco-Friendly? You bet they are!
You might not be paying attention to the materials your mattress is made of, but without doing a thorough research, you will never realize the dangers that harmful toxins like flame retardants and other types of VOCs can do to your health. If you uncover or unroll a new mattress, it will produce an aroma of VOCs. These chemical substances are considered carcinogens. They are emitted as breathable gas from carpets, paint, furnishings, cleaning supplies, printer ink, mattresses, and other household items. VOCs indoors have a higher concentration than when they are outdoors.
If you're spending around 7 to 9 hours sleeping, you're also exposing yourself to these dangerous substances. If you have a newborn baby, they can also be in close contact with VOCs through off-gassing. Higher concentrations can get worse, especially in hot and humid air. While manufacturers assure consumers that isocyanates and polyols are non-volatile substances, there are still older mattresses made of polyurethane foam that are hazardous for off-gassing because this type of mattress can break down into dust. VOCs found in mattresses may also contain chemicals found in antimicrobial treatments, soil repellents and adhesives.
With continuous exposure to VOCS, your health will be seriously at risk. VOCs can lead to various health problems like dizziness, nasal irritation, neurological problems, kidney and liver damage, fertility problems and even cancer. Since VOCs are greenhouse gases, they can also become a contributing factor for climate change, which also has negative effects on your overall health because it can cause air pollution, climate fires, soil erosion, flooding and tornadoes.
Buying organic mattresses reduces the risk of being exposed to VOCs. Here are the potentially dangerous chemicals found in non-organic mattresses.
Polyols are found in polyurethane foam and it's a major component of most mattresses these days. Polyols are chemicals that can be made differently to reduce potential risks. Some polyols are made from vegetables, but further research is still required. It is also important to note that vegetable oil should only be used in small amounts.
If your mattress contains polyurethane foam, these mattresses are more likely to contain polyols. Some mattresses that may contain polyols include memory foam mattresses, some innerspring mattresses and even hybrid mattresses.
With excessive exposure to polyols, you can experience allergic reactions. There are also additional health issues like headaches, nausea, trouble concentrating, and dizziness. While these effects may not be severe, inhaling these chemicals every night can affect your well-being over time.
A Dimethylformamide (DMF) is a type of clear chemical that produces a faint smell of ammonia.This chemical is used in acrylic fibre spinning, chemical manufacturing, and more. This chemical has already been banned in the EU. DMF is found in mattresses. When used in the manufacturing process, VOCs can be released into the air.
When DMF is absorbed through the skin, it becomes more dangerous.This chemical causes liver damage based on preliminary studies. Continuous exposure to DMF can also cause cancer. However, this chemical isn't absorbed through the skin with a mattress. DMF is only released as VOC.
Propylene oxide and TDI are chemicals used for creating memory foam and polyurethane foam, two of the most popular mattress materials. Propylene oxide and TDI are off-gassing a large amount of VOCs. Most mattresses on the market today contain these chemicals and you'll need to research carefully to ensure that the mattress you're planning to purchase doesn't contain these chemicals.
These chemicals should be avoided, despite their popularity, because they can increase the risk of tumor as tested in rats and mice. While these findings have not yet been replicated in humans, it's still important to limit your exposure to these chemicals.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are known as chemical flame retardants. Most furniture pieces and construction materials are made with PBDEs because they are considered a viable protection from fire hazards. As it may sound PBDEs may be a good thing, but the use of these chemicals has been banned in the US. Aside from construction materials and furniture, PBDEs can also be found in the foam part of your mattress, topper or cover.
Newly manufactured mattresses these days are not allowed to contain PBDEs. These chemicals are dangerous because they don't stay in your bedding. They can be dissolved into other materials, working their way into you and your family. PBDEs can be absorbed by your body and it can remain in your tissue, building up over time. Chemicals can also cause a host of health problems like reproductive, neuro-developmental and thyroid issues.
Toluene is a type of clear liquid chemical that produces a distinctive smell similar to paint and paint thinner. This chemical can enter your body through water, through the soil, or through the air. While low exposure to this chemical may not be harmful, repeated exposure can cause a lot of health issues. Toluene can be found in most mattresses like TDI. Some of the serious effects associated with prolonged exposure to Toluene include cognitive impairment, hearing loss, developmental delays and seizures.
Synthetic fibres, plastics and dyes use Benzene. Mattresses also have Benzene and it is one of the most common VOCs released by off-gassing. Benzene can also be found in polyurethane foam, hybrids or innerspring foam. If you're exposed to this chemical in small amounts, it can cause headaches and short-term dizziness. Long-term exposure can cause immune system dysfunction and anemia.
Latex mattresses, however, are eco-friendly as you can get for a mattress solution that does not expose you to VOCs.