Conventional mattresses are filled with synthetic materials. For example, most mattresses contain polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam constantly breaks down and releases chemicals, which is called off-gassing. Polyurethane foam is made from chemicals that are known carcinogens. Other toxic chemicals that can be found in conventional mattresses are PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), chlorinated tris, or boric acid. These are used in mattresses and furniture as flame retardants.
PBDEs: these have been shown to have health effects in animals and are so toxic that Europe is phasing out the use of them completely! Read more about PBDEs at http://apha.confex.com/apha/132am/techprogram/session_14062.htm
Read an article in Salon about PBDE's and related chemicals that are linked to everything from reproductive problems in men and women, lowered intelligence in children, and even cancer: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/06/10/dangers_flame_retardants/index.html
Here is a scary but inspiring article on flame retardants in furniture from the New York Times.
Boric acid: this chemical is also quite toxic, and is in fact used as a roach killer. The EPA and CDC warn of reproductive, developmental, and neurological damage. It has many known health risks jus due to inhalation, a few of which are: inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (including dry throat and cough), eye irritation, and reproductive damage in men (including low sperm count). Please see the following link for the complete report: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp26-c2.pdf
Read more about boric acid in mattresses here: http://www.peopleforcleanbeds.org
What is that smell in memory foam? It is the off-gassing of toxic chemicals and is noticeably strong for weeks to months. This has been known to cause headaches and other severe health reactions in people who sleep on them. Get more information on the health effects of memory foam and conventional mattresses: http://www.chem-tox.com/guest/guestbook.html
You can avoid all these toxins by choosing an organic mattress / natural mattress. Click here to view our selection.
A sleep study conducted by Peter R. Dickson (1984) examined sleep quality of participants when sleeping on natural wool (participants slept on a wool pad that was placed under their sheet). He found that participants moved (tossed and turned) significantly less in the night. Additionally, participants in the study reported that they had slept better and that they felt better the next day when sleeping on the wool. The less a person tosses and turns is related to greater quality of sleep! Wool is hypothesized to increase sleep quality and reduce tossing and turning because 1) it reduces pressure points; and 2) it regulates body temperature. Believe it or not, wool helps keep you warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm. Wool can do this because of its moisture-regulation quality. Here is how it works: when you get too hot, you sweat. If you are sleeping with bedding that is not natural, the sweat will remain near your body and not evaporate, and not cool you down. You can wake up feeling sticky and clammy. However, if you are sleeping with natural fibers, which are breathable, the sweat can evaporate from your body and cool you down. Wool is able to wick water away from your body and is able to absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and still feel dry. Wool helps you stay warm when the air is cool because it is a natural insulator. There are air pockets in wool, which trap heat and let the air circulate near your body. In this way, your body heat stays regulated. If you have a consistent body temperature, you will toss and turn less and have a deep and restful sleep.
Many of The Natural Sleep Store's organic mattresses are made with a layer of ORGANIC wool underneath (and quilted to) organic cotton fabric.
Dickson, P. R. (1984). Effect of a fleecy woolen underlay on sleep. The Medical Journal of Australia, 140, 87-89.
Natural Rubber/Latex: Natural rubber is harvested by tapping the milk (sap) of Hevea brasiliensis (the common rubber tree), which grows within 10 degrees of the equator. The rubber tree sap is whipped up and turned into latex foam. This is truly a sustainable resource because sap can be collected from the trees up to 180 days per year and the tree heals within an hour.
Organic Cotton: United States farmers applied nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested (these chemicals are the most toxic classified by the Environmental Protection Agency). This can account for 25% of all the pesticides used in the United States. The use of chemicals in producing cotton can lead to massive environmental and health problems. You are helping sustain the environment if you buy a natural mattress made with 100% organic cotton, organic sheets, and/or organic bedding. Read more about pesticides at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/
Organic Wool: Organic wool is produced without the use of hormones or pesticides, both in the animal and in the animal's food. Wool is a sustainable resource because the sheep are not killed; they are merely shorn each year. See the quote from http://www.ota.com/OrganicWool.html :
In order for wool to be certified as 'organic,' it must be produced in accordance with federal standards for organic livestock production, which state:
That means that sheep cannot be dipped in pesticides to control external parasites, and all pastures must have gone a minimum of three years since last being treated with synthetic chemicals. Producers must also ensure that they do not exceed the natural carrying capacity of the land on which their animals graze.
- Livestock feed and forage used from the last third of gestation on must be organic.
- Use of hormones or synthetic hormones and genetic engineering is prohibited.
- Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external and on pastures) is prohibited.
- Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.
See also http://www.jeffreywarber.com/hc%20pages/sids.html for more information on SIDS.Avoid exposing your baby to toxic chemicals by choosing an organic crib mattress and organic sheets for baby's crib.
As discussed above, sleeping on wool has been found to increase the quality of sleep in adults (Dickson, 1984). We expect that due to the temperature regulation quality in wool, the same would hold true for babies sleeping on an organic crib mattress with wool in it, perhaps even more for babies since they cannot manually regulate their temperature by adding or removing covers like an adult can.
In a natural latex mattress, latex rubber foam is the core of the bed. Latex rubber foam is dense foam that will last for 10 to 20 years. Latex is great as a core, because it helps relieve pressure points from sleeping on an innerspring mattress, helps keep your spine in alignment, and is inherently hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and dust-mite-resistant. However, natural latex doesnít offer the breathability that cotton and wool can, so our natural latex mattresses are encased in organic cotton and organic wool. When sleeping on natural mattresses, circulation can be increased, tossing and turning can be reduced, and you will be breathing clean air. This helps you sleep more deeply!
Non- organic cotton sheets are often treated with a formaldehyde-based finish that reduces wrinkling. These sheets donít even have to have a label informing you of what they were treated with! Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical that, unfortunately, is found in many common household items like furniture, particle board (which is actually used in the construction of your house), paints, and carpet. It would be hard to completely avoid exposure to formaldehyde, but about 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping, so by avoiding breathing formaldehyde fumes while you sleep (by using an organic mattress with organic cotton sheets) could greatly reduce your overall exposure. Additionally, the conventional cotton growers use more pesticide than almost any other crop. If you choose organic, you are choosing to help save the planet!
Choose chemical free organic sheets to avoid formaldehyde. All of The Natural Sleep Store's organic bedding, including our organic cotton sheets and organic baby sheets, are chemical free.