Is your baby’s mattress safe?

Crew Cleaning Fiberglass
Michelle Cantrell said a professional cleaning crew was called to remove fiberglass in her home (Courtesy Michelle Cantrell)

Parents are continuously striving to make the best possible choices for the health and happiness of their children. Because newborns have more sensitive skin than adults, minimizing exposure to dangerous chemicals prevalent in the household environment is generally one of the first considerations. For most of us, mattresses are gentle, unthreatening places to rest; this is not always the case. So, what is it that lurks under the surface that makes them so dangerous?

Chemicals in mattresses are not static 

Chemicals like petroleum-derived foams, adhesives, and synthetic fibers designed and manufactured to possess flame-retardant properties are used to produce a large number of mattresses. These chemicals are flame-retardant, which means they may have long-term health impacts, such as an increased risk of pediatric asthma, developmental and neurological disorders, and even certain malignancies.

As a result of the following factors, children are more vulnerable to chemical exposure from mattresses because they spend most of their time sleeping. Moreover, since their detox organs—liver, kidneys, lungs, gut, and skin are still developing, they cannot detoxify and excrete these toxins when exposed, efficiently.

The issue is that conventional crib mattresses give off significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins into the air. Off-gassing occurs when the chemicals employed in particular materials escape into the surrounding air and pollute the environment. A common misconception is that the release of unwanted odors or scents into the atmosphere is associated with off-gassing; however, this isn’t always the case.

Dangerous fiberglass may be leaking from Your baby’s mattress

Numerous mattresses do feature a small layer of fiberglass that encases the foam inner. This layer is located under the mattress cover; thus, the fiberglass should not cause any issues if the cover is intact. However, certain mattress manufacturers have lately come under scrutiny. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Zinus and the retailers who sell the mattresses in question. According to the lawsuit, defective Zinus mattresses were sold, posing health concerns to those who purchased them due to fiberglass exposure.

A mattress that won’t burst into flames is a good thing. Still, the flame-retardant chemicals commonly employed to make them flame-resistant have been associated with many adverse consequences. Glass fibers may cause allergic reactions in the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. If the fibers get into your baby’s lungs by inhalation, it might cause serious health problems. Experts even suggest that residents exposed to glass fiber should vacate the property. Cleaning up a residence that has been subjected to glass fibers contamination may cost up to $20,000.

Why do mattresses include fiberglass?

The answer is straightforward: fiberglass is a fire retardant. It keeps your mattress from igniting and posing a fire hazard. Numerous mattress producers, especially those producing lower-priced mattresses, have chosen to enclose the mattress in a fiberglass shell. Although it is not recommended that you remove this cover, some individuals do so unknowingly.

Whether you call it “fiberglass,” “silica,” or “glass wool,” you’ve perhaps seen a lot of media coverage lately about mattresses containing dangerous glass fibers. Fiberglass is produced from the same material that is used to make glass-like windows and kitchen drinking glassware. To manufacture fiberglass, glass is heated until it is molten and then squeezed through very thin holes. This results in exceedingly thin glass filaments—so thin that they are best measured in microns.

These flexible filament threads may be woven into larger patches of material or left unstructured to provide the more recognizable puffy texture used for insulation and soundproofing. Many families complained that fiberglass was released into their homes when the mattress cover was unzipped, causing skin and respiratory discomfort. This should not be a problem until the cover gets worn or removed, which is not permitted even if it has a zipper.

Consider replacing your child’s mattress now, not later

Sleep is an essential factor for children’s physical and mental health ranging from newborns and toddlers to school-aged kids and teens. Although everyone’s sleep requirements are indeed different, there are some very reasonable, science-based criteria that may help you assess whether or not your kid is receiving the sleep they require to grow and learn as well as play. A high-quality mattress is required to achieve that level of sleep since it is intended to provide the support that children’s developing bodies need.

However, it is not just the critical support; the chemical composition may also have long-term consequences for a child’s sleep and general health. That is why your youngster must sleep on a mattress free of harmful materials and made from natural ones like wool, organic cotton, and organic latex.

Jonathan Sharp, the Chief Financial Officer of Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., is in charge of the planning, development, management, and operation of the company’s financial activities. Since 1990, Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. has been legally assisting people and families whose lives have been irrevocably impacted due to an entity’s failure to comply with safety regulations.