5 Harmful Chemicals That Are Found On Your Mattress
There are very few people in the world today who fall asleep quickly each night without a care in the world. The truth is that we’re all living a pretty fast-paced lifestyle, and it’s difficult to slow down enough to fall asleep at a reasonable time. Additionally, whether you have trouble sleeping or not, the stories that you hear about what might be lurking in your mattress could be enough to keep you up.
Just like many other household products, mattresses are often manufactured using a wide variety of materials, some better for your health and the environment than others. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that your mattress could be home to a lot more than just random stains and dog hair. You might have a mattress that’s brimming with chemicals too. A good read for this topic would be this article.
The Chemicals in Your Mattress
Despite what you might have heard, it’s not just memory foam mattresses that suffer from exposure to chemicals. Traditional spring mattresses have issues to contend with too. After all, most modern mattresses include some form of polyurethane foam, which is a substance that comes from petroleum. That means your mattress is basically fossil-fuel based.
If the concept of lying on petrol each night wasn’t weird enough, the problem becomes even greater when you realize that this kind of foam contains something called “volatile organic compounds”. Otherwise known as VOCs, they are released into the air at room temperature and cause a number of health issues. VOCs can even cause irritation in the lungs, damage to the liver, and problems with the central nervous system. While it’s impossible to know for sure which compounds are lingering in your bed, some of the most common chemicals found in mattresses include:
- Benzene: A carcinogen that occurs organically within petroleum
- Formaldehyde: A kind of preservative used as adhesive in mattresses, which can irritate the skin, throat, and nose. It can also increase your chance of having a cough.
- Toulene Diisocyanates: This is a material that can make certain foams more flexible. It can be a dangerous human carcinogen, according to the NIH.
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers: This is a flame retardant substance that has been linked to hormonal and fertility changes, reduced IQ, lower birth rate, and hyperactivity in some children.
- Polyols: These are used to add bulk to your mattress and bind different kinds of foams. While some of these can come from natural sources, they’re often taken from petroleum.
What Can You Do About These Chemicals?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal you can do to determine which mattresses have chemicals in them and which don’t, as there’s not much regulation out there. Additionally, your mattress provider is unlikely to advertise that there are chemicals in the products that they are selling. If you can’t afford to buy a certified and tested brand, then your options are limited.
Your best option for reducing exposure to chemicals and volatile organic compounds might be to use a polyethylene mattress protector or cover. This substance is another form of plastic, but it is a safe one that isn’t toxic. Additionally, Polyethylene is highly effective at blocking the effects of various volatile organic compounds, which could keep you and your kids safe.
When you do decide to search for a new mattress, make sure that you keep your eyes open for mattresses that are designed with natural and organic materials. Learning how to spot dangerous substances like polyurethane foam in your mattress could be the key to giving you a better night’s sleep, and more peace of mind.