Chemical Free Mattresses: The Facts
If you’re currently in the market for a new and improved chemical free mattress, it’s important to understand before you buy, that the vast majority of mattresses available are made with unnatural components and chemicals. This may not come as a great surprise, but should remain a cause for concern, considering how recent evidence suggests there are a variety of potential health risks involving the inclusion of chemicals inside mattresses.
Examples of such health risks can include cancer, infertility, brain development and nerve function. (particularity in young children).
These are 4 main culprits:
- Flame-retardants – Used to meet fire health and safety regulations. Includes boric acid, antimony and halogenated flame retardants. These substances can be harmful, and can potentially severely affect the health of you and your family.
- Synthetic latex – Made with petroleum-based compounds which are harmful to you and the planet. Search for a 100 & natural latex or organic latex mattress.
- Foam – Most foam mattresses are made with petroleum and other toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, and naphthalene.
- Vinyl – Involves toxic chemicals from start to finish. Known to cause asthma attacks, allergies, genital issues and even alter child behavior.
In terms of foam mattresses, many sites falsely state that no foam mattress can be completely chemical-free. This is not quite true. There are examples of foam mattresses that are completely natural and contain no chemicals, such as organic gold standard latex mattresses, which are made using only 100% natural materials and regulated by GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standards).
The common root for this chemical mattress problem in the UK points to fire-retardant chemicals used.
What are Fire Retardant Chemicals and can they cause Potential Health Risks in Mattresses?
Fire-retardant chemicals are added to mattresses to meet flammability standards. All mattresses in the UK must pass fire and safety regulations legislated by law, which is why so many choose fire retardant chemicals to be added to their mattress fillings or spray-coated to the outside.
Fire retardant chemicals come in a wide-ranging variety, but all share a common goal which is to ensure a standard of fireproof quality. Common examples of these chemicals used in mattresses are boric acid, antimony trioxide, decabromodiphenyl oxide, melamine and vinylidene chloride.
These chemicals are known to enter the body during sleep, either through permeable contact with skin or by being inhaled as particles of dust in the air. The latter can be referred to as ‘off-gassing’.
Off-Gassing – When airborne particles or gasses are released into the air, also known as VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds)
This can occur when the mattress is brand new or when chemical components have broken down over time, particularly found with certain foam mattresses.
Despite Canada, the US and other European countries banning or reducing their use of fire-retardant chemicals in furniture and mattresses, the UK on the other hand, sadly has it the other way round.
Fire-retardant chemicals are actually on the increase in furniture and mattress manufacturing in the UK!
It is also a fact that in the world, the UK has the largest percentage of fire retardant chemicals found in house dust. Not ideal to say the least.
Furthermore, another troubling factor is that there is no law in the UK which issues all mattress manufacturers to explicitly own-up to chemical additives used in either the making or conditioning of their mattresses. This means that there are no rules when it comes to advertising, so a mattress can state it is ‘natural’, when actually, it couldn’t be further from the truth!
The best route of guaranteeing sourcing a chemical-free mattress is finding one which is 100% natural.
So, how to understand the difference between a mattress that is genuinely natural (no chemicals) to one that is synthetic? Here are a few pointers.
The difference between a ‘Natural’ and Organic Mattress
If you are on the market for a chemical-free mattress, you should be searching for one which is either 100% natural or organic. Due to the advertising loop-holes in the UK, it is advised not to trust a mattress claiming to be ‘natural’ as being entirely so. Inquiring further into the modes, methods and materials used in the manufacturing will reveal how natural the mattress actually is.
A safe bet is to choose a 100% organic mattress. This way, you can rest assured that all measures taken in the production process are without chemicals and organically certified. From the sourcing of natural materials, right through to the sustainability of the environment.
One of the best examples of 100% organic mattresses on the UK market right now are our very own Una Mattresses. Both our Una Delux Organic Mattress and Una Organic Essential Organic Mattress are 100% organic, sustainable and most importantly, safe.
Una provides a gold-standard organic, toxic-free, all-natural, sustainable, eco-friendly and hypoallergenic latex mattress. Constructed with customisable organic latex foam and encased in an organic cotton and wool cover. Una mattresses contain no harmful petrochemicals, glue or any other artificial additives.
Conclusion: ‘Once you make your bed, you must lie in it’
In a ‘westernised’ world still struggling to come to terms with the requirements for its sustainability, the importance of buying what’s not only beneficial to you, but the environment too is becoming ever-more-clear and need-not-be more obvious.
It’s like the old saying – “Once you make your bed, you must lie in it.” – But with fitting idioms aside and with all seriousness, the pursuit to achieve a positive, healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle, can be realised literally with the place you go to rest each night.
If ever a possession should warrant such a title as a luxury, then the reward of a brand new mattress ought to top the list. Just ask yourself, what other possession witnesses the majority of your time and rewards you with the most important and basic necessity. Sleep.
There are a whole host of reasons why upgrading your mattress can prove to be a smart, worthwhile and pleasurable investment. Just make sure you read the small print and invest in a mattress that is chemical-free and made organically, to ensure a non-toxic, well deserved and beautiful night’s sleep!