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Did You Know? New Flame Retardancy Laws Mean Mattress Selection Requires Special Care

Did You Know?  

 
New Flame Retardancy Laws Mean 
Mattress Selection Requires Special Care
 
Flame_Retardent_FurnitureAs of July 1, 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has mandated that all new mattresses comply to new flame retardancy standards.  Flame retardant laws have been in place for 30 years, but the new regulations now include a degree of fire retardancy designed to address the potential dangers of an open flame. 
 
While the law seems simple, chemicals used to achieve this degree of fire retardancy possess complex human health affects ranging from cancer to neurotoxic affects.  Ammonium polyphosphates, anitmony trioxide, boric acid/zinc borate, decabromodiphenyl oxide, melamine and vinylidene chloride were the chemicals and chemical classes assessed by the CPSC for satisfying the new requirements.  As with other toxicology evaluations, the affects of “chemical soup,” or chemicals from other everyday exposures was not considered.   The CPSC found leaching of the chemicals onto the mattress surfaces, which were then absorbed via dermal, oral and inhalation routes. (See the full report at
http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia06/brief/matttabd.pdf)  
 
One option for ensuring a nontoxic night’s rest is by obtaining a doctor’s prescription for a flame retardant-free mattress.  Another is to purchase a natural mattress made with cotton and wool.  As a natural fire retardant,  wool satisfies the provisions of the law.   For sources of wool-containing mattresses, see 
http://www.dienviro.com/index1.aspx?BD=18610.   
 
Both existing and new conventional mattresses that may contain flame retardants can be fully encased with an affordable zippered mattress protector.  Avoid those made with PVC (vinyl) and instead purchase a washable model that also protects against allergens, to keep out dust mites and other contaminants.  These can be purchased at retailers such as Gaiam (http://www.gaiam.com/), Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Linens-N-Things.
 
Taking these steps to protect yourself and your family from chemical flame retardants can help reduce the amount of everyday chemicals we are all exposed to.  And that will help anyone sleep better.
 
March 2008 Newsletter
 
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