Most Mattresses are Toxic
The boys were in need of new mattresses so I decided to do some research into the new nontoxic mattresses. Typical adult and crib mattresses contain dangerous chemicals and toxic gases that are not healthy for anyone, but particularly not safe for babies. The primary filling material used in nearly all mattresses today is polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is highly flammable because it is essentially a petroleum product. In fact, the National Association of State Fire Marshals refers to it as “solid gasoline.” While new mattresses off-gas toxic chemicals, older mattresses can be just as bad- as they age the materials they are made of break down and become part of your household dust and you are exposed to the toxins. Both children and adults can become ill by repeated and continuous exposure to the low level of chemicals continuously emitted while sleeping. Babies are particularly vulnerable to these chemicals, and there is research that suggests that the toxic gases emitted from mattresses can be a cause of crib death or SIDS (see article on toxic gases and SIDS).
What is a Healthier Option?
I chose a 100% organic cotton mattress which is the safest, most non-toxic mattress material available. Cotton is also firm and breathable and provides a comfortable sleeping surface. Other nontoxic mattresses can be made of wool or latex which can be allergens, so cotton is the most hypoallergenic choice. And does not have any toxic flame retardants applied. The Mattress I chose was The Naturepedic Organic Cotton Quilted Deluxe Mattress. It is GreenGuard Select certified – the most stringent certification for off-gassing. It is completely safe, non-toxic and firm.
How is it made Fire Safe?
Organic cotton is a far superior filling material and is significantly less flammable to begin with. Naturepedic uses an exclusive fire protection system that is based on the unique fire retardant properties of baking soda and hydrated silica permanently bonded to cellulose. This results in an inherently flame resistant barrier that does not break down. The cellulose fiber used is derived primarily from eucalyptus and poplar trees and has a low carbon footprint.
Now How do I make it Leak Safe?
You will need something to protect the mattress from the baby’s or child’s fluids and night-time “accidents.” The typical vinyl (PVC) or polyester laminate waterproof mattress pads may be toxic and can contain phthalates, so you will want to avoid these. An organic waterproof mattress pad is recommended to protect the mattress from wetness and Naturepedic also sells these or you could by the 2-in-1 Ultra Mattress which has one side that is leak-proof.
What if I can’t afford to replace my mattress right now?
Well without purchasing a nontoxic mattress you won’t be able to completely illuminate the toxins, but there are steps that can help reduce the exposure. I would do these steps and start saving for a new organic mattress in the mean time:
-Purchase an organic cotton mattress cover
-Purchase organic cotton waterproof mattress pads
-Replace your pillows with organic options.
-Replace your bed linens with organic cotton options.
-It is hard to say no to your kids when they want those popular character sheets, but they come covered with toxic flame retardants. So wash them many times until you no longer smell anything coming off them and be sure to use some vinegar in each wash as it helps to break down the flame retardants.