Friday, August 13, 2010

Creating a non-toxic sleep environment!


In 2005 the federal government mandated that mattresses be treated with flame retardant. This sounds innocent enough, helpful even, if that's as far as you take the thinking process. But what are flame retardants? Are they "safe"? Afterall, we spend at least a third of our lives with our faces pressed against our mattresses, inhaling what lurks inside. These questions have haunted me for a long time. It started when we purchased one of those memory foam type mattresses and the fumes that it produced absolutely horrified me. We were warned that it would need to "air out" and that the smell (think wet paint) would fade. I was pregnant with Harvey and Jack was sensitive. The mattress did lose the odor eventually but it took far longer than they claimed and in the meantime I was googling away eduacating myself on a subject I knew nothing about - mattress contents and their affect on the body.

I, like most, assumed that something that is designed for sleep would never be toxic. If so wouldn't someone be on that? Someone like the FDA? One would think.

Flame retardants are hazardous to human health, they reside in furniture, electronics, even childrens clothing. They accumulate in the body (see "antimony" in Jack's heavy metals test results), they are neurotoxic and affect the immune system. I often refer to "our environment" when I'm addressing the rise in childhood disorders and allergies/athsma, these types of toxic exposures have become a part of our every day life. I think it's no coincidence. Especially with the rise in children's plastic/foam products that contain them. Levels of these chemicals found in the breastmilk of american women and some fetuses are approaching levels shown to impair learning and cause behavioral problems in lab mice. And yet our homes ARE LACED IN THEM....by mandate, without our permission, and (let's face it) without our knowledge. Shame on you FDA!

We are doing our best to educate ourselves and find alternatives to what we know to be dangerous. Finding an organic mattress is the only way to get around the flame retardant mandate. An organic mattress uses organic wool which is naturally flame resistant and therefore doesn't require harmful chemicals. It's important to find a company that uses certified organic products rather than misleading wording such as "pure" or "natural" which is likely still treated with chemicals of some sort. After much research we chose to purchase from Green Mattress Factory because of their choice of materials, reasonable prices, and wonderul customer service. Their site offers some valuable information and products (organic dust mite covers, sheets, etc). Our mattresses will arrive this week and I am so eager to have us all sleeping on non toxic materials!

The mattress we chose for ourselves is comprised of three 3" layers of latex, the layers are different levels of firmness which you can arrange to your liking. We chose standard coil mattresses for the boys that are padded with latex, cotton, and wool. We've moved the boys into their own room which has been a work in progress and is going really well! They are really growing up. I'm actually starting to believe that I'll one day sleep through the night again....Harvey may wake me on occasion but the "pea" (racing thoughts of toxic chemical inhalation) will be permanantly put to rest!

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