We spend 8 hours or 1/3 of out day sleeping and one of the more important things in life is a good mattress. One that offers support, allows us to get a good's night sleep, is fire retardant, and most of all chemical free. Chemical free? That's right. Did you know that most mattresses are impregnated with chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to make them fire retardant? You do now.
PBDEs are chemically similar to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have been banned since 1976 because of their link to birth defects. Recently animal studies have shown PBDEs to have similar adverse health effects to those of PCBs. California is in the process of banning them completely by 2008. PBDEs are used to treat the foam in mattresses and other objects such as seat cushions and carpet padding, drapes, and are also used in children's pajamas and other clothing.
Enter the green mattress.
A green mattress is one that is chemical-free and made from natural materials. They should be labeled as such, many sporting the Pure Grow Wool label. Other hallmarks of a green mattress include a core that is made from cotton batting or natural (not synthetic) latex rubber. The latex should be 97% pure and not a combination of natural and synthetic (aka petroleum-based). In order to meet fire retardant standards these mattresses are covered in wool, a natural fire retardant. Bedding should conform to the standards of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission so make sure it says so on the mattress label.
As far as green bedding, look for sheets, blankets, mattress pads, and pillows that are made from undyed and unbleached cotton or linen, preferably organically grown. Dyes if used should be plant-based natural dyes because many conventional dyes contain heavy metals. Also beware of stain resistant finishes and permanent press sheets, which often use formaldehyde in the "finishing" process.
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