For kids, scratchy clothing tags, an uncomfortable temperature in the room, or a damp diaper, are reasons for having trouble falling asleep. However, studies show that exposure to dangerous chemicals found in traditional mattresses can also interfere with the child’s sleep and cause respiratory issues. This, coupled with the chemical flame retardants used in conventional mattresses, can significantly affect the health of your child and is also what causes dust to accumulate in your home, covering everything even when we can’t see it.
Most Parents Have No Idea Their Kids Are Sleeping on a Potential Health Hazard
From the moment we become parents, we have an innate urge to safeguard our children. Parents spend most of their time helicoptering over their children to ensure they are out of harm’s way. But how often do we really think about mattress materials filled with nasty, toxic chemicals and their effect on our children’s health? Due to mandatory flammability requirements, some manufacturers include fiberglass in their mattresses, while others add chemicals.
Fiberglass isn’t often associated with the mattress industry. We expect that a mattress maker ensures their product has no trace of any hazardous chemicals that children could be exposed to and could foreseeably cause substantial illness or injury. However, a common feature of low-cost foam mattresses is fiberglass in a thin shell surrounding the foam core, which is also true for the Zinus brand. Many parents are becoming more concerned about this, without a doubt.
Fiberglass is produced from several recycled materials, including small strands of glass that have been melted down. It’s a versatile material that is easy to work with, lightweight, and inexpensive, which is why many manufacturers use it in their products. Assume you’ve used fiberglass wadding to insulate water pipes or attic space, or you’ve repaired a boat. In this case, you’re probably well aware of how fiberglass particles may penetrate the skin and cause itching and rashes.
When the babies’ delicate skin comes into contact with fiberglass, the pointy ends of the strands may cause a painful irritation through scratching, creating tiny cuts. When disturbed, fiberglass releases microscopic fibers and particles into the air. Many of them are so small that they may be inhaled by anybody in close proximity, causing soreness in the nose and throat and difficulty breathing. Overexposure to fiberglass may exacerbate pre-existing asthma or bronchitis-like symptoms. Children are especially susceptible because they need 14 hours of sleep each day.
How to Spot Fiberglass in a Crib Mattress – The Biggest Red Flags
Because the fiberglass is woven into the mattress, it is difficult to detect it with the naked eye. Fortunately, there are clues to check for on mattress labels, descriptions, and reviews that will let you know whether a mattress includes fiberglass or not.
Low costs. As a cost-cutting effort to keep the price down, super cheap mattresses (about $400 or less) are more likely to include fiberglass—and other low-quality, possibly hazardous components.
“Made in China” labels. Manufacturing in China provides numerous economic benefits to businesses, but it may often come at the price of consumers’ health due to lax standards.
Misleading labeling. Some mattress manufacturers purposefully use terminology like “silica,” “glass fiber,” or “glass wool” to deceive consumers into believing their mattresses do not contain fiberglass. This is especially prevalent in all-foam and polyfoam mattresses.
Never Remove the Mattress Cover Even if There’s a Zipper Present
Certain mattresses have a zippered shield with a “do not remove cover” warning. The exposed glass fibers are quickly distributed into the household environment when the mattress top cover is removed. Many mattress manufacturers do not advise against this, and as a consequence, many individuals inadvertently create a huge mess inside their homes. Even worse, once fiberglass fragments become airborne, they are almost impossible to remove altogether. With the help of the HVAC system, glass fragments may quickly spread throughout the house, polluting the air, carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture, and clothes.
So, to avoid making the costly and perhaps harmful mistake that others have made, be certain that you are informed of what is included inside your mattress and that you take measures to protect your safety.
For Your Baby’s Safety, Choose a Non-toxic & Organic Crib Mattress
When shopping for non-toxic crib mattresses, pay attention to labels so you can keep an eye out for toxic materials. You want to avoid fire-retardant chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl, and fiberglass. Seek mattresses composed of natural latex, organic cotton, organic wool, bamboo, and hemp. Wool and cotton mattresses are naturally fire-resistant. Therefore, they do not need the use of chemical fire retardants to satisfy safety requirements.
Choose a crib mattress that blends real-world performance with comfort—breathability for safety and ease of washing. Look for materials and products that have been certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Global Organic Textile Standard (GOLS) and those that have received the GREENGUARD Gold certification for having extremely low emissions.
About the author:
Jonathan Sharp is the CFO and Director of Claims at Environmental Litigation Group P.C., a legal firm with over 25 years of expertise seeking financial relief for victims of hazardous exposure and defective products.