The Toxic Substances in Mattresses

The Toxic Substances in Mattresses
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    Most people think of their beds as cozy, safe places to be, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

    Mattresses may contain toxic substances that can make the people sleeping on them sick.


Many of the dangerous substances are chemicals that have been applied to the surface or filling to keep it from catching fire, which is mandated by the law. This practice may be preventing fires, but it’s also causing its own set of problems.

Fireproof Mattresses

In July 2007, all mattresses in the United States were required to be flame retardant. This was a new regulation designed to protect people, but hasn’t always worked out that way. The flame-retardant substances:

  • Keep mattresses from catching on fire if they are exposed to a blowtorch
  • Are not disclosed to consumers
  • Are called PBDEs, which stands for polybrominated diphenyl ether

Effects of PBDEs

PBDEs cause a multitude of health problems, and so have been banned in Europe, Canada, and some U.S. states. When consumers sleep on beds that contain this chemical, they absorb the PBDE through contact and inhalation, and it stays in their systems indefinitely. This chemical has been linked with:

  • Thyroid troubles
  • Brain damage
  • Infertility
  • Low sperm quality
  • Cancer

Polybrominated diphenyl ether is not only found in mattresses; it is in other types of furniture and household items, as well.

Additional Toxic Mattress Chemicals

PBDE is not the only chemical found in mattresses, however. There are several others that are sprinkled into fibers, such as:

  • Formaldehyde, a known cancer causer
  • Anitimony, which is a metal more dangerous than mercury
  • Boric acid, which damages respiratory systems and is a pest control product

Memory Foam

Memory foams can also be problematic and can lead to health problems when human bodies absorb the chemicals they’re made from. There are 61 volatile compounds and four carcinogens found in memory-foam mattresses. For example, these beds may contain:

  • Poly Ether Gycol
  • Silicone Surfactant
  • Stannous Octoate
  • TDI
  • Pigments
  • Dyes
  • Petroleum-based products

Reducing Toxins in Your Mattress

You can reduce the number of toxins you are exposed to through your mattress. One surprising way to get rid of some the toxins is by using onions. When onions are cut into chunks and placed beneath the head, foot, and center of a bed, they can:

  • Pull dangerous chemicals from the mattress
  • Prevent the toxic chemicals from being released into the air
  • Absorb 70 percent of toxins
  • Absorb cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead

The detoxifying power of onions is so amazing that scientists are studying them as cleaning agents in commercial applications.

So with the mattress comes bedroom linens and decor. After your read, please give a quick comment/share and then jump over of our bedroom decor center for ideas and additional sources.

Safe Mattresses

You can obtain safe, non-toxic mattresses, if you know what to look for. There are several ways you can go about this, including:

  • Have your doctor write a prescription for a toxin-free mattress.
  • Make your own by sewing together 100-percent cotton or flannel organic blankets.
  • Put your current mattress in a waterproof cover, to reduce the release of toxic substances.

When you go to bed at night, you want to be sure that the mattress you’re sleeping on is made from pure materials that do not contain hazardous chemicals. By educating yourself and taking some steps toward obtaining a healthy bed, you can make a difference in your wellbeing.

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