The crib mattresses is one of the most important products to buy organic and safe for the health of your new baby! Babies sleep an average of 15-18 hours a day and most of this time is spent with their little noses just inches away from their mattress, inhaling whatever chemicals were added to the mattress for 60-75% of their day! Chemicals in mattresses can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin depending on the chemical. In fact, mattresses are considered the primary source of toxic exposure to children during the first years of life. And over the last 30 years or so years, the materials used in baby mattresses have changed from natural products like wool to petroleum and synthetic products.
Most people have no idea what is really in traditional mattresses! Parents naturally assume that there are governmental regulations and agencies monitoring the materials and chemicals used in baby mattresses … and that out children are protected from damaging chemicals. What they do not realize is there is absolutely no regulation of materials in baby mattresses other than the basic labeling requirements. In fact, 21 states have no guarantee at all what will be in your mattress and the remaining states have almost no enforcement of the minimal regulations in place. Here are some chemicals found in mattresses:
PVC: creates a dust that is released into the air and is associated with asthma, allergies, lung damage, and liver problems.
Phthalates: Children are thought to be at higher risk to the adverse affects of phthalates because higher exposures during a time of growth and development. Phthalates are most dangerous to baby boys because they affect their reproductive systems. They are linked to an increased risk of testicular cancers and low sperm counts. Considered an endocrine disruptor- health issues include fetal death, malformations and reproductive toxicity in laboratory animals.
Flame Retardants: PVC is extremely flammable therefore it is heavily treated with flame-retardants in order to meet government requirements. PDBE (penta-brominated diphenyl) is the most common chemicals used as a flame retardant for PVC. It has been associated with thyroid and liver toxicity and neurobehavioral changes in children. The chemicals in flame-retardants have shown up in the blood of newborns, breast milk and the majority of adults in the United States. PDBEs accumulate in the body and environment and are difficult if not impossible to eliminate. Currently they are banned in Europe and California. However, they are being replaced with other flame-retardants that are not shown to be any less toxic. Chemicals called Chlorinated tris are quickly becoming the substitute. They are the same chemicals that were banned in children’s clothing in the 1970’s due to being a carcinogen. Other FR used are boric acid, phosphates and other brands like named Firemaster 550, that do no disclose what is in the mixture at all. It is proprietary, or a trade secret.
These are just a few…others include PAN, other VOCs, Vinyl Cyanide and even pig hair!
non-toxic bassinet mattresses
Lifekind Organic Bassinet Mattresses
So you can see why we always recommend that parents invest in a safe mattress (and a safe car seat) for their child because the amount of time of exposure. They will spend more time in these two items than anywhere else! These are also two of the “big ticket” items so it is important to budget these as a priority! While we believe safe foods, lotions, etc are critical as well, organic mattresses are an investment in your child’s health and many parents will need to prepare and save to purchase one.
NOTE: There is a LOT of greenwashing or misleading advertising in this category as well. Sealy “organic” mattresses for example are coated in boric acid as a flame retardant (which is used in rat poison) and is simply “made with organic cotton” and wrapped in vinyl. You can add organic cotton to anything toxic and still say “made with organic cotton”, but it doesn’t make it non-toxic or safe.
On that note, that brings us to a great choice for safe baby (and adult) mattresses! The company is called Lifekind and they some of the best on the market. They make their mattresses in their own 100%-organic mattress Eco-Factory™ using the finest American-sourced materials. Their factory is the first to earn a true organic certification, to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) set by the Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) fiber program. They meet and exceed all federal flammability requirements using only our Naturally Safer® pure wool. They even go as far to promise if you can find a purer mattress they will give you one for free! You can learn more about their purity guarantee here.
Interior view of rubber mattress
Lifekind offers wool, Talalay natural rubber and 100% organic cotton materials in their mattresses. They offer traditional mattresses, bassinet mattresses, adult mattresses and more! We love them and hope you will check them out! For those of you who want more information about the ingredients in mattresses, they even wrote a book that you can buy to learn more!
To learn more about where these chemicals are found and how to avoid them visit http://www.organicbabyuniversity.com to watch fun, animated videos in their Organic Pregnancy Class and Organic Baby Class! They also have guides and checklists, safe product recommendations, exclusive coupons and more!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jennifer Hankey is the President of Organic Baby University. Organic Baby University is a site dedicated to teaching pregnant women and moms how and why to avoid the common, harmful chemicals in everyday products.
To learn more about where these chemicals are found and how to avoid them visit http://www.organicbabyuniversity.com to watch fun, animated videos in their Organic Pregnancy Class and Organic Baby Class! They also have guides and checklists, exclusive coupons and more!