Consumer Reports: Don't Fall For A "Natural Mattress"

Chemicals In Your Mattress: What Are You Sleeping On

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Chemical flame retardants, formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds - Consumer Reports says these are some of the junk you could be breathing in from your mattress.

"The effects range from respiratory irritants, to possible hormone disruptors, to cancer. We didn't test for actual levels, but the potential presence of these chemicals is an unnecessary risk." Consumer Reports's Urvashi Rangan said.

You can find mattresses that claim to be healthier or natural. Don't fall for it.

"The term natural is meaningless. It has no standards behind it and it has no required verification," Rangan said.

Even a mattress labeled organic may contain only a portion of materials that are actually certified organic.

"A truly organic mattress should have about 95 percent certified organic fiber, and it should also prohibit potentially harmful chemicals and materials used in processing," Rangan said. 

To protect yourself, look for these labels showing a mattress meets minimum qualifications— the Global Organic Textile Standard, and for mattresses that contain latex — the Global Organic Latex Standard.  But these mattresses can be expensive. These start at about  $3,000. There is another label to look for: the Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

"It doesn't ensure that the fiber is produced organically but it does set limits for harmful chemical emissions and requires testing of the final product. It also bans the use of certain chemical flame retardants and allergenic dyes." Rangan said.

No matter what mattress you choose, Consumer Reports says be sure to air it out for at least 48 hours before you use it.


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