Choosing the right mattress isn’t easy is it! As you mentioned the adhesives, constituents of synthetic foam and the fire retardants used in the manufacture of synthetic foam mattresses do contain many toxic chemicals, including petroleum based compounds. These chemicals can leach from the mattress via gas and dust release and expose your family to these toxic compounds while they are sleeping. A cotton mattress protector, dust mite cover, organic wool or latex barrier may provide a small amount of protection but it is possible that some of these harmful chemicals may still be released and result in exposure. Many of these synthetic or plastic covers will only add more chemical exposure and off-gassing to the situation. Some say that a thick layer of plastic such as Polyethylene is considered the safest, non-toxic plastic to use as a plastic cover to reduce toxic off-gassing. However using plastic has its own adverse effects such as noise and it is also a non-breatheable plastic which means that the mattress will not be so easily aired.
These chemicals many of which are VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) can be found in nearly all household goods from kitchen appliances to carpets. The concentration and exposure to these chemicals is around 5 times more inside the house than outside. So it is nearly impossible to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals in our modern lifestyles. Good ventilation is the best way to reduce exposure. A healthy active lifestyle, vital food, clean water and the occasional detox may help to lessen the effects of the harmful chemical compounds we are exposed to on a daily basis.
SUGGESTED TYPES OF MATTRESSES TO CONSIDER
After some research the following are common suggestions for safe mattresses:
- Certified organic mattresses which meet the standard of the Global Organic Textile Standards. Please be aware that some non-certified organic mattresses are not necessarily non-toxic as they may use a vinyl covering
- Wool mattresses are naturally anti-microbial and are fire-retardant, however some manufacturers use additional fire retardants are used so be sure to double check. Ensure that you choose organic options as sheep are exposed to chemicals such as Arsenic to reduce ticks and fleas
- IntelliBed mattresses, organic mattress, non-toxic
- Natural rubber latex made from the rubber tree, however if you have an allergic system this is not the best choice. The use of chemicals in the manufacture of Natural Latex mattresses is much lower than in many of the other types of mattresses and the support they provides is great.
TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SLEEPING ENVIRONMENT
Some simple tips to improve the sleeping environment of your bedroom:
- Frequently air your mattress, take it outside on a sunny day and air both sides. Sunlight is the best sanitizer and helps to reduce dust mites and microbial growth
- Open the windows to let fresh air flood the room during the day and open the curtains to let the sunshine clean the space. At night you may also choose to leave the window open a small amount to improve the quality of the air
- Use an air purifier in your bedroom
- Make an air mist in a bottle with essential oils such as Orange, Lavender, Lemon, Pine and Eucalyptus to freshen the space and reduce bacteria, fungus and mould spores
- Create a serene space by cleaning out unneccesary clutter from the room. A sleeping space should be free of electrical appliances (clocks, telephones, televisions, mobile phones), have low mood lighting, fresh air and minimal furniture so that sleep is not difficult due to an overstimulated environment