It’s a big fluffy thing that you spend 7-10 hours on every day of your life. It can’t be that bad for you, right?
Sarah Wilson planted the mattress toxicity seed in my head earlier this year, and only come October did it really sink in. Conventional mattresses (as opposed to natural latex mattresses) are stuffed with poisonous chemicals (gross, unnecessary chemicals) that you don’t know about. That could (and do) poison thousands of people per year.
And that’s not counting the ones who get sick but can’t trace it to their mattress.
You could say this all started with a stinky eye-cover. I purchased a 40 Winks sleep mask and was really excited to try it out because of the great reviews online and the relatively low price. But the minute it came out of the bag, the smell of it made my head spin.
I tried to air it out by the window, but even hours later it had a penetrating, headache-inducing smell.
I Googled it and found out it was 100% Polyurethane, a common ingredient in sleep products and memory foam. The search result after that described how awful Polyurethane is for the immune system, your thyroid gland, and your liver, and I was officially spooked. Doesn’t that mean it’s poisonous?
The mask went back to the store. But then I checked JHubb’s memory foam pillow: 85% Polyurethane. And away it went. I started researching natural mattresses, natural pillows, and other eco-hippie-”sounds-silly-but-saves-your-life” products, and decided it was time to make a change.
The Big Loser: Toxic Mattress Chemicals
Your mattress is likely the largest item in your bedroom, and it’s probably the most expensive, too, depending on where you shop for furniture. So if you have a toxic mattress, that means poison takes up the most space and the most money where you sleep. And before you roll your eyes at me (yes, you, mom), even Oprah thinks this is a big deal.
Here is a breakdown of common mattress ingredients that are toxic to you, your family, and your pets, that could lead to a legitimate case of mattress toxicity. Many of these chemicals have been linked to respiratory problems like asthma and allergies, but also more sinister problems like lung, nose, and throat cancers. So why in the world are we okay sleeping with them?
- Polyurethane – Petroleum-based, VOC-emitting chemical that disrupts thyroid, liver, and immune function (Care.com).
- Formaldehyde – Linked to asthma, allergies, and lung, nose, and throat cancers, but on the “low toxicity” end, you’ll just experience watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea, and skin irritation (Cancer.Gov).
- Benzene – A known carcinogen. Long-term exposure may affect bone marrow and blood production, while short-term exposure to high levels can cause drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death (OSHA).
- Naphthalene – Another known carcinogen. Acute (short-term) exposure is associated with hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver, and neurological damage (EPA.Gov).
… And 61 others, according to this post at Mother Jones (and note… they also preview my store of choice, Savvy Rest, as a great natural option!).
Some of these chemicals depend on the year the mattress was made (for example, pre-2004 mattresses contain PentaBDE, a known toxin to liver, thyroid, and nervous system), but in general, if a company only cares about sales, they won’t care too much about what they stuff in a mattress for you to take home.
If a company only cares about sales, they won’t care too much about what they stuff in a mattress for you to take home.
So, that leads the natural progression: Do I have to sleep on a hay pallet? Where do I find a “natural” mattress? How much is it going to cost me? For that answer, you’ll have to tune in later this week.
Do you have any thoughts on the whole home-toxicity thing? Hooey? Harrowing? Let me know in the comments!
Savvy Rest provided me with several products free of charge in exchange for my unbiased review that will be published later this month, but has not otherwise influenced my review or opinion. This post includes a sponsored link, and be sure to stay tuned for a fun giveaway later this month!