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The Many Ways in Which Your Mattress May Harm Your Health, and How to Select a Healthy Mattress

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

toxic mattress

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  • Considering you’re spending a third of your life on top of your bed, your mattress could be a significant source of toxic chemical exposure
  • Harmful flame retardant substances you might find in mattresses include PBDE, Deca, boric acid, antimony, melamine, vinylidene chloride, bromine and formaldehyde, all of which are associated with serious health effects
  • Toxic chemicals aren’t the only way your mattress might make you sick. Other factors that could harm your health include dust mite droppings, mold and fungi, sweat, saliva, urine and dander from pets sharing your bed
  • When shopping for an organic, chemical-free mattress, look for one with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and/or Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certification. The value of other mattress labels is discussed
  • The best and purest mattresses on the market will adhere to multiple safety standards. Be especially careful when choosing a mattress for your child, as products intended for children and babies are also those most likely to be doused in flame retardant chemicals

When shopping for a mattress, there are a number of factors to take into account, beyond perceived comfort. In time for Presidents’ Day mattress sales, The New York Times listed several tips to help you select your ideal mattress. Among them:

1. Assess quality and durability — Bedding and medical experts recommend looking for memory foam with a density of 3 pounds per cubic foot or greater, and coils with a gauge of 13 to 15.


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