We Spend 1/3 Of Our Lives Sleeping—Should You Be Worried About The Toxins In Your Mattress?

A comfortable cloud of cosiness and… chemicals.

A woman on a mattress with a doona pulled up to her eyes.
Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Yup—while it might be your happy place, your best friend and your go-to for comfort and solace, it turns out the mattress on your bed could be full of dangerous toxins and chemicals. We’re all well-versed in the toxic load that chemicals in our beauty products, household cleaners and toiletries put on our bodies, but we’ll bet our bottom dollar that the majority have never considered the impact of a mattress.

Image of a mattress with flowers, bedding and a book on top.
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Considering we spend around one third of our lives sleeping (or at least attempting to do so), we can probably all agree that we’d rather not be exposed to a host of slow-release chemicals while we’re at it. Here’s what you need to know about toxins in your mattress:

Standard mattresses are brimming with nasties

Sure they feel luxuriously comfortable, but the majority of standard, new mattresses are usually stuffed full of the very chemicals (and worse) that you consciously try to avoid in daily life.

These include formaldehyde, boric acid (a reproductive and developmental toxin, used as a pesticide), polyurethane foam, antimony (a heavy metal similar to arsenic, yes, arsenic) and worst of all—polybrominated diphenyl ethers (aka PDBE’s, aka flame retardants).

As of 2007, all mattresses are required to contain enough fire retardant chemicals to withstand a 2-foot wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds. Sadly, the cheap chemicals that are used as fire retardants could actually be wreaking havoc human health.

They emit strong gasses

While, obviously, you ain’t eating your mattress or rubbing your body against it without a sheet in between, the chemicals slowly seep out and make their way into your body. This study states that:

“Growing evidence shows that PBDE compounds (flame retardants) are escaping from the products they protect and making their way into the products’ users. Moreover, the chemicals may disrupt human thyroid hormone functioning and cause other health effects, prompting many nations to ban or suspend their use in new consumer goods.”

Scary stuff, right?

What you can do:

Aside from buying a non-toxic mattress, the price-point of which is unsurprisingly much higher than a standard mattress, you can help protect yourself from dangerous chemicals simply by being more strategic about the mattress you buy.

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