It was time. I had already gone ten years beyond the suggested time frame for buying a new mattress. I wasn’t tossing and turning, but my mattress was sagging and worn with a downhill slant. Good indicators that it was time for a new bed. However, the prospect of searching for a new mattress was daunting.
Over the years I never gave a lot of thought to mattresses. They were solely a place where each of us rested our heads at night-with comfort being the prevailing concern. Recently I began giving a bit more thought to mattresses, especially since I was in the market for a new one. It bothered me that I was spending time researching the safety of personal care products, cleaning products and food and I had never given a second thought to our mattress. Let’s face it, most of us spend a lot of time in our bed. When it comes to infants and toddlers, they spend close to half of their early life in contact with a mattress and they are far more vulnerable to toxic chemicals than adults. I have changed my tune-mattresses are worthy of a lot of thought.
Conventional mattresses can contain a whole host of toxic chemicals- from petrochemicals, blowing agents and adhesives used in foams, to dyes and additives used to process raw cotton fiber into textiles, to chemical flame retardants.
Polyurethane foam is used as filling in many baby mattresses. It deteriorates over time and can cause many health issues. It’s also extremely flammable. To battle this issue mattress companies cover their products in toxic flame retardants, which have been linked to reduced IQ, learning disorders, reduced fertility, thyroid disruption and cancer.
PVC is used as a covering on most baby mattresses to make them waterproof. PVC can cause a host of health issues.
Phthalates, associated with asthma, reproductive effects, and cancer, are generally added to the PVC to make it softer.
What to look for in an organic mattress
Let’s get this out of the way-organic mattresses aren’t inexpensive. Fortunately, there are a wide variety to choose from and a wide range of prices, but they’re not cheap. Be careful of mattresses labeled “all natural” or “green” . These terms aren’t regulated and can be thrown around loosely without a consistent meaning.
When buying a new mattress ask a lot of questions about how the mattress was made. The bottom line is to find a mattress that wasn’t doused in chemicals. Ask questions, talk to company representative and get answers. It’s your right as a consumer.
Where to buy an organic mattress
Look for brands certified by GreenGuard.
There are a lot of online retailers selling organic mattresses, but very few retail shops. When I began my search for an organic mattress I had a hard time finding a store where I could test drive the mattress. I found a small shop just outside of Boston that had a great selection of organic mattresses. Not only was I able to touch and feel the mattress, but I also was able to ask questions about the product. This was going to be a big investment and I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.
If an organic mattress won’t fit into your budget there are quite a few things you can do to make the beds in your home safer.
- Consider using a futon made from organic cotton.
- Invest in a quality mattress cover made with a safe material that will block off-gassing.
- Buy an organic mattress, but don’t buy a box spring. If you are handy, build your own platform bed to house the mattress.
- Healthy Child Healthy World had a great suggestion: for a baby shower gift have all of your friends chip in and buy your baby an organic mattress!
- Let your mattress air out before bringing it into your home.
Do you have any non-toxic mattress tips?