I recently did some research when looking for a mattress online and was surprised to find buying a mattress can be a dangerous business! The dangerous toxic gases released from a conventional mattress make it one of the most significant sources of home pollution, implicated in sleep and health disorders.
With increasing pressure from environmental organizations and savvy consumers, manufacturers are starting to respond with an increasing number of organic mattresses and organic mattress pads and toppers being more available and affordable. It is especially important for new parents to consider purchasing an organic crib mattress over a conventional mattress for the health of the new baby.
Why an Organic Mattress is the Superior Alternative
Most adults spend at least a third of our lives in bed, infants and children even more, snuggling into what we believe to be a clean, safe place for a peaceful night’s repose. Unbeknownst to most, during those hours our bodies are being invaded by toxic chemicals absorbed through the skin and breathed into the lungs when we sleep on conventional mattresses with conventional bedding and pillows. The bedroom is one of the most toxic locations we will encounter on an average day.
Conventional mattresses in the UK are created from petroleum-based polyurethane foam before being fairly soaked in fire retardants, stabilizers, antimicrobial additives, surfactants, and chemical dyes. These chemicals off-gas from the mattress for the duration of its life, being inhaled and absorbed into the body. Many of these chemicals, regularly found in human blood samples in significant levels, have been associated with such health problems as impaired lung function, chronic bronchitis, allergic reactions, nausea and vomiting. Others have been implicated as cancer and reproductive toxins. This chemical stew can be the cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders.
According to Walter Bader, in his book Toxic Bedrooms: Your Guide to a Safe Night’s Sleep, an average conventional mattress contains more toxic chemicals than those found in a 50-gallon drum of oil. Two of the PBDE flame retardant compounds used in conventional mattresses have already been banned in Europe. They have been shown to be carcinogenic, and cause neurological damage, accumulating in the human body and passing through the placenta to foetuses, suspected in developmental disorders. They have also been implicated in SIDS. These chemicals are not regulated in the UK whose residents, not coincidentally, show the highest human exposure and accumulation of PBDEs.
Organic Latex Mattresses
Organic latex mattresses are made from natural rubber rather than petrochemicals like synthetic latex and memory foam. Organic latex mattresses “breathe,” offering a cooler sleep surface that regulates moisture naturally, for a more restful, uninterrupted sleep. They also offer 30% more pressure relief than memory foam for better spine alignment and comfort. Natural rubber is naturally antibacterial, resistant to mould and mildew, and repellent to dust mites that are the primary trigger of asthma attacks.
Though the price tags on organic latex mattresses are higher than conventional mattresses, they are a better value, not only in health, comfort, and superior sleep, but in durability. Many organic latex mattresses last as long as 30 years, compared to a maximum 10 years for conventional mattresses that contain synthetic foams that pack down or break down.
Organic Cotton Mattresses
Organic cotton mattresses are non-toxic, with no synthetic chemicals used from crop through to completion, making them a superior choice both for the home and global environments. They are the natural alternative to petrochemical-based batting that is used in conventional mattresses, without the addition of flame retardants, fabric sizing, stain or water repellents.
Organic cotton mattresses are more durable than synthetics, making them a better long-term value while offering a more restful, rejuvenating sleep. They control humidity next to the skin and provide a more even temperature to ventilate body heat.
When it comes time to replace a mattress, investing in an organic mattress is a wise choice for your health, a better night’s sleep, and a longer lasting mattress. Organic baby mattresses should be the choice for all parents to eliminate dangerous toxins from their infant’s nurseries. Topping the organic mattress with organic bedding and pillows as well will transform a toxic bedroom into the clean, safe, and relaxing haven it should be.