As of the mid 2000’s, most mattresses were required to contain enough Fire Retardant to withstand a 2foot wide blowtorch open flame for 70 seconds.
Nearly 90% of the market, or most major sleep product brands, use a highly controversial fire retardant due to its cost efficiency. In order to maintain its brand integrity and health standard.
Fire Retardants are prevalent in a multitude of common household products and can be found in everything from pillows to couches, children’s clothing, carpets, computers and baby toys.
Toxic, Hazardous Chemicals found in Fire retardants:
- Boric Acid (reproductive and developmental toxin, used as a pesticide)
- Antimony (causes heart and lung damage, possible carcinogen)
- Decabromodiphenyl Oxide (causes hair and memory loss, possible carcinogen)
- Heart, lung and kidney damage
These chemicals leech though pillow and mattress covers and are absorbed through the skin.
Use of these fire retardants has been linked to:
- Skin irritation
- Learning and memory deficit
- Heart, lung and kidney damage
- Birth defects
Chronic exposure to these chemicals causes them to accumulate in the body and present themselves in:
- the blood stream
- breast milk
- umbilical cord blood
In America, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a 2006 federal regulation (16 CFR 1640) enforcing a strict national flameproof mattress standard, mandating all new mattresses to withstand a two-foot wide blowtorch open-flame test, for 70 seconds.
The national flameproof mattress regulation has been in effect in California since 1/1/05 and is now effective nationwide. All mattresses, sofa beds, futons, cribs and fold out beds are included under the regulation.
Chemicals Found in Most Mattress Fire Retardants
Chemicals are used in manufacturing fire retardants. The CPSC has concluded the level of exposure safe, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagrees. According to the EPA, the percentage of Antimony present in most FRs is 27.5 times higher than the recommended percentage. http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0006.htm
Why most Mattresses Fire Retardants are Harmful?
Though new regulation has intended to provide improved fire safety this legislation has produced new health risks due to the use of the hazardous chemicals used in most flame retardants. Most major mattress bands treat their sleep products with hazardous fire retardants in order to acquire the anti-flammable property necessary to withstand the two-foot thick open flame blowtorch test.
The regulation does not mandate the labeling of chemicals used in fireproofing. As such manufactures are free to use any chemical including those that have yet to be tested for hazardous side effects.
Ironically, in America the National Flameproof Mattress regulation allow physicians, including chiropractors, to prescribe fire retardant free mattresses for patients should they conclude that the health risks posed by toxic fire retardants will interfere with the patients’ well being.
List of chemicals found in Flame Proof Mattresses:
Mattress glues are also another hazard found in most coil and memory foam mattresses.