Who has not already smelled a strong smell when unpacking a new mattress? Mattresses can release harmful substances. Unfortunately, they’re not the only everyday items that contain them. Since 2013, legislation has been in force for household products, construction and decoration, according to their pollutant emissions.
Why are mattresses said to contain toxic substances?
The mattresses undergo various treatments, to protect them both from humidity and from fires; these treatments contain VOCs, volatile organic compounds. These VOCs include polyurethane, synthetic latex, glues and plastics. They are responsible for the indoor pollution of mattresses.
To ensure the fire-retardant side of the mattress, manufacturers treat them with brominated flame retardants (RFB). However, the latter are known to be endocrine disruptors. According to ConsoGlobe, BFRs cause thyroid and nervous system disorders.
The treatments don’t stop there: to fight mold and bacteria, mattress manufacturers use formaldehyde. This VOC has side effects on humans, namely irritations of the mucous membranes, the appearance of headaches and the development of allergies.
What about the comfort of the mattress?
The comfort of the “perfect” mattress, which adapts perfectly to the box spring, is not without consequences: manufacturers use polyurethane foam. However, it also contains many chemicals.
A study demonstrates that due to body temperature, humidity and the concentration of carbon dioxide released, the rate of VOC emissions would increase in the air. Sleeping on this type of mattress would intensify the problem.
So what should be done to avoid these inconveniences?
It is essential to read the composition label of the mattress before acquiring one, in particular to keep an eye on the treatments that the mattress has undergone. According to ConsoGlobe, 100% natural latex mattresses are the ones with the least amount of treatment.
A word of advice: ventilate your room and your mattress every day!