Did you know that some memory foam mattresses emit as many as 61 different chemicals? You spend roughly one-third of your life sleeping on your mattress. For this reason, it is no wonder that the chemicals in your mattress may be causing bodily upset. There are a number of problems that may result from using a chemical-filled mattress, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, rashes, increased asthma attacks, and more. This article will overview some of the most common chemicals found in mattresses and why they were included in the first place.
How Chemicals Are Released
Over time, the materials in your mattress will break down. This is part of natural wear and tear on the mattress and is the reason that mattresses should be replaced every eight years. As the mattress materials break down, chemicals begin to release. These can then be found in the air around your mattress and on the mattress itself, which can cause a number of problems.
Why are Chemicals Added to Mattresses?
By this point, you may be wondering why these chemicals are added to mattresses. In order to help prevent home fires, mattresses must be flame retardant. This will stop them from bursting into flame during a house fire, and can potentially save your life. Unfortunately, the same chemicals that can save your life in a house fire may also result in a number of dangerous side effects.
Types of Chemicals Found in Mattresses
There is a number of chemicals that can be found in your mattress. As the danger of some of these materials was discovered, they were phased out. Therefore, if you buy a mattress after a certain year, some of the earlier chemicals may have been removed. Unfortunately, other chemicals may have needed to take their place and there is very little regulation because the long-term effects of exposure have not been studied.
PentaBDE and Other Flame Retardants
This chemical is commonly found in mattresses that were made before 2004. It is a flame retardant chemical and was proven to cause a number of health problems. It is toxic to the nervous system, thyroid, and liver, which is a good reason for it being banned.
The problem with polyurethane foam is that it is a petroleum-based material that breaks down with time. As it breaks down, it releases VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These enter the air of your room and you may be breathing them in, which is the reason that they can cause respiratory issues and other problems.
Boric acid is often used to make mattresses flame retardant, protect from bacteria, and kill roaches. Many companies in the mattress industry state that is safe for use because there have been no related deaths within the 30 years it has been used. However, it is somewhat toxic, especially if ingested. This makes it especially dangerous for use in toddler beds and crib mattresses.
Formaldehyde is another toxic, but “acceptable” chemical that mattress companies often use. It is used as an adhesive, to hold different mattress parts together. Unfortunately, it is also quite dangerous when the chemical is breathed in. It can cause and exacerbate allergies and asthma, and is also known to cause another lung, nose, and throat problems.
Sadly, the chemicals listed above are only some of the most dangerous chemicals found in mattresses. Be wary of companies who will not divulge the chemical composition of their mattresses- there are companies, like lull, out there that sell mattresses good for your health, as well as the health of the environment
Lautaro Martinez, a freelance writer, enjoys his sleep and shares his tips and insights into getting the best night’s sleep. If you would like to learn more about Lautaro, you can check out his google+ profile.