Friday, July 12, 2019

Is Your Child's Mattress Releasing More Toxins When You Sleep?

credit:  @thesimplefolk

According to a new study our natural body heat might be triggering the release of potentially harmful chemicals from our mattress. 

But first, let's back up a bit
Standard mattresses, especially those containing polyurethane foam, have been found to  release a couple of potentially harmful chemicals including: 
  • VOCs from the polyurethane used in the mattress
  • flame retardants
  • plastic chemicals
In this particular study, the researchers found that our own body heat increased the  VOC emissions from our mattress.

How much was this increase? 

For adults, the increased levels of VOCs was still considered “ safe” for adults.  For children, however,  the researchers warned that “some compounds did reach levels of concern for infants and young children, if their ages were considered in exposure calculations”.

How harmful are VOCs? 
According to the EPA, VOCs have been Linked to eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and organ damage, and even cancer.  In this specific study, researchers noticed that certain VOC compounds linked to cancer such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and benzene approached or exceeded age-adjusted levels.

Considering the large amount of time that babies and small children spend sleeping on their mattresses this exposure could really add up in their small bodies.

The good news is that there are things we can do to prevent or at least decrease these increase VOC exposures:

  1. Purchase an organic mattress. While costly, this might be the best investment a parent can make if it is possible.  Cotton, wool and natural latex ( GOLs certified) are always better options to Polyurethane foam.  (my Amazon Shop has my favorite crib and twin size mattresses)
  2. Maintain good ventilation inside your home, by opening windows
  3. Purchase and use an air filter that focuses on voc emissions ( i like the Austin air filter available in my Amazon store)
Of note in this study is that the mattresses studied were not brand new ( when VOC emissions would be at their highest). Instead, the researchers used mattresses that had been allowed to 'air out' for 6 months and these mattresses "still saw appreciable levels of off-gassing."


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