Whether it's choosing greener cleaning supplies free from harsh chemicals, or eco-friendly crayons for our children, it's important to keep toxins out of our homes. We may forget, however, to check for harmful chemicals in the one place we spend one-third of our lives: our mattress.
Oftentimes, the materials within mattresses contain toxic chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticide residues, and more. These don't just get inhaled when we sleep, but can also be transported by dust and impact the indoor air quality of the entire home.
Here are five useful tips to keep in mind when buying a non-toxic mattress that will help ensure such harmful chemicals stay out of your bedroom:
1. Check the Materials Within the Mattress
Some materials contain more chemicals than others. For example, memory foam is typically comprised of chemicals that off-gas, which can negatively impact long-term health. Odorless off-gassing can continue throughout the life of the product. Instead, shop for a mattress that is made of natural materials, such as 100% natural latex. Since natural latex consists of natural rubber, it typically doesn't include any harmful chemicals. This means there's no off-gassing, which is better for your health. Before purchasing any mattress, research its materials to ensure each layer contains the least amount of chemicals as possible.
2. Okeo-Tex Standard 100
Look for an Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified mattress. This indicates its outer fabric, sewing, threads, inserts, zip fasteners and rivets have been tested for harmful substances. You can find a complete list of which ones here. This mattress is healthier for the environment, and you, too! Extensive product checks and regular company audits to Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified mattresses ensure adherence and promote eco-friendly awareness.
Look for CertiPUR-US certification, which indicates the mattress foam won't negatively impact your health, along with the following benefits:
- Made without ozone depleters
- Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants
- Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
- Made without formaldehyde
- Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Low VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions for indoor air quality, at less than 0.5 parts per million
- No chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
4. Where Was the Mattress Made?
A mattress' origin can determine whether or not it contains toxic chemicals, too, since countries have varying manufacturing laws. Trust that a mattress made in U.S.A utilizes fewer harmful chemicals, since it has stricter laws governing such issues. U.S. law requires all mattresses undergo flammability testing, and toxic additives, such as pentaBDE and formaldehyde, as well as manufacturing chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are banned. A group of harmful phthalates (DEHP, DBP and BBP) have also been banned for use in children’s mattresses.
5. Don't Forget About Those Linens!
Just because you found a non-toxic mattress doesn't mean you're safe from all harmful chemicals. Bed linen can be coated in these too, even formaldehyde, which keeps them shiny and unwrinkled.
What should you stay away from?
- Any "wrinkle-free" linen, since it contains polyester or is coated with chemical resin.
- Skip linens with super-high thread counts, since thin threads may be strengthened with chemicals.
Instead, purchase linens with lower thread counts. Try shopping for those made from organic cotton, bamboo, or wool, which are all-natural. Be sure to research the brand to ensure its linens are as natural as possible, and to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals.