What’s Below That Mattress Cover?

Category: Upholstery

Flame retardants have been controversial for years, and chances are good they’re in your mattress. If you’ve read our latest newsletter or been following the news about California’s TB 117 reform you may be wondering what to do next.

If you have discovered that your mattress contains flame retardants, there are a couple things you need to remain mindful of, such as:

  • Many mattresses contain polyurethane (“PU”) foam, and it is normally treated with flame retardants. Mother Jones’ blog post tells about some of the possible side effects of these chemicals.
  • We are surrounded by chemicals. Since we are so accustomed to them, it may take awhile for that to really sink in. Take a few minutes to look at this video on DuPont from the 1960s to gain perspective. It’s taken years for the current situation to develop, helped along mightily by multi-million-dollar advertising budgets. Addressing an issue this complex will take years, and many voices are needed to make effective progress in restoring healthy environments for all of us.
  • It’s not economically feasible for most people to just run out and buy a new mattress. And, even if it were, we wouldn’t recommend it because it pays to do extensive research these days on any large purchase, especially when you are going to be spending a significant amount of your life on or in it (e.g. home, car, carpet, mattress).You may not be experiencing any noticeable side effects such as the ones noted in this article. If you have any concerns at all, you may want to check with your personal physician as there are tests that can be run on various samples from you.

So are flame retardants really necessary in furniture? California seems not to think so anymore, and many people are coming onboard with this idea especially in view of the fact that these chemicals are showing up in breast milk. We’ll talk about that in another post in the near future.

In the meantime, remember the bullet points above plus polyurethane foam is more than likely not only in your mattress but, possibly, other items in your household. The majority of PU foam contains flame retardants, because it is highly flammable.

If you remember the tragic night club fire that killed 100 people in Rhode Island at The Station not that many years ago, you are keenly aware that it takes only seconds for it to ignite. Most people don’t set off fireworks in its presence, as was the case in this event.

The chemical industry and its associations push their agenda.

Environmentalists and health advocates push theirs.

So who is right? We are hard-pressed to say at this point in time, although you can guess which way we lean.

We can’t tell you what you need to do, but we can offer our findings for you to explore and make your own decisions. We’ll continue to discuss this issue in future blog posts and welcome your comments below.

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