WTF?! is with Toxic Mattresses?


Yes, you read that correctly, your mattress could be toxic!

Let’s be honest: there’s nothing better than curling up in bed after a long day. You think your bed is a place of warm sanctuary, but what if it’s also harmful to your health? WTF?!

Unfortunately, it is all too common for mattresses to contain lots of potentially dangerous chemicals - which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to get your much deserved shut eye!

How could a mattress be toxic?

It’s a bummer, I know, but there’s a chance your mattress is loaded with hazardous materials. Some of the chemicals to look out for are flame retardants. Flame retardants are nice in theory because, obviously, no one wants a mattress that could burn their house down. But alas, they are super toxic. So toxic that some firefighters are even seeking a ban on them to reduce their exposure and the posed danger to the public. To make matters worse, flame retardant objects can still catch on fire, so what’s the point?!

What’s so bad about them?

Well, there are reports of flame retardants leading to female reproductive problems, thyroid issues, hormone level changes, and decreased sperm quality. Some studies even link womb exposure and stunted childhood cognitive development to flame retardant exposure. Flame retardants are found in a lot of unsettling places, like pajamas, furniture, and baby products, making it even more important to be sure that your mattress is not another place to find them. Additionally, children face are at higher risk as they spend more time in bed and have the tendency to put lots of things in their mouths.

Because it’s seldom as simple as just removing one ingredient, there are loads of different retardants that could be part of your mattress like PBDE, OPFR, TECP, TDCP or Tris.

A lot of these products do not work alone. Mattresses are made up of a multitude of different layers and materials which all contain different chemicals. For example, PBDE is a standard component of polyurethane foam which is a main part of the mattress. This means that there could be multiple retardants among the many layers of your mattress.

It’s also typical for mattresses to contain phthalates. Studies suggest that some phthalates could be linked to ailments such as asthma in children. Standard phthalates used in mattresses include BBP and DBP.

And these are just a few of the chemicals that could be lurking in your mattress.

what do you do now?

Try Organic

Just like with veggies, organic mattresses are made without toxic chemicals and with high quality, natural ingredients. If we don’t trust the chemicals in our foods, then why should we trust them in our beds we sleep?

What if my mattress is labeled eco or green?

We all see names like “eco” or “green” and assume they’re better for us, right? Well, that's not always the case. Terms like this can be tricky because they’re not regulated like a certified organic product is. So, companies take advantage of this to convince consumers that their products are better than they actually are. However, this doesn’t mean that all things green are lying to you. You just need to do a little research and discover exactly what these certifications mean. Explore what is in your mattress in place of conventional materials to make sure it lives up to its green reputation.

Where can I find a non-toxic mattress?

Here are some things to look out for when purchasing a non-toxic mattress. Be sure to avoid harmful chemicals, like polyurethane and other questionable components such as toxic adhesives and GMO ingredients. What you do want are natural, safe, organic materials rather than those nasty chemicals. Remember, always be sure to check the company's certifications!

Some of our favorite non-toxic mattresses include, The Futon Shop, Avocado, Bear, Loom and Leaf, Naturepedic, Plush Beds, and Saatva. They all range in price and materials, so you have a variety to choose from to find what works best for you.

Go ahead and Google your mattress to determine if it contains any of the chemicals we’ve talked about… and if it does, head on over to one of those sites to see how they can improve your health and your slumber!


Bree Flory

Bree is a vegan, coffee and beer loving, intersectional feminist who is particularly invested in health. She has a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from CSULB, where she spent her time turning her passions into academic activism. When she’s not busy spreading awareness on living a non toxic lifestyle, she is most likely taking a long bath, cooking extravagant vegan food, or crying about dogs.