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The chemical nightmare in your mattress

Monday, November 15, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: mattress, chemicals, health news

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(NaturalNews) The average mattress is a cocktail of toxic substances, warns Barry Cik of Naturepedic, in an article published on www.GreenBiz.com.

"My rude awakening came when my wife sent me to buy a crib mattress for our first grandchild," Cik writes. "I was appalled by what I found; the crib mattresses were full of industrial chemicals. Because of my environmental engineering background, I knew how harmful these chemicals could be to a developing child."

Cik describes how one bad manufacturing decision leads to another to produce a toxic nightmare. For example, most mattresses are covered with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to keep water out. Because PVC is naturally hard, however, it is combined with phthalates to make it softer.

"One short-sighted decision leads to another and, before you know it, you've got a very unhealthy baby mattress," Cik writes.

Phthalates, however, are estrogen mimics that have been linked to asthma, cancer and reproductive disorders. They have been proven to leach from mattresses and into the surrounding environment.

"Phthalates ... aren't quite identical to the natural hormone molecules in men's or women's bodies, but they come close enough that they occupy the same receptors on estrogen-sensitive tissues and exert their own unique effects on human health," writes David Steinman in his book Safe Trip to Eden.

Cik draws attention to the fact that the safety of most chemicals used in mattresses -- or any other consumer product -- is simply unknown, because the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 considers all new chemicals safe until proven otherwise, and does not require companies to do any testing of their products. This means that companies such as Naturepedic, which markets non-toxic mattresses, are forced to pay to individually test nearly any component they want to include in a product. This drives up the prices of their products, making a healthy mattress a luxury only the wealthy can afford.

"Our ... challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche," Cik concludes.

Sources for this story include:

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