Given how much time we spend either sleeping or trying to do so, we end up spending a significant portion of our lives in our beds. With so much time dedicated to the bedroom, it is an obvious stop for us along the way in our step-by-step journey to creating a healthier home.
That being said, we know that revamping your entire bedding collection is quite a big expense, especially compared to replacing something like your body wash, which is a considerably smaller investment. So, while we are covering the entire topic of bedding for this month’s swap, we would encourage you to choose one bedding item to replace for this month. Or, stick this information in your back pocket for a time when resources may allow for a swap. Remember that nontoxic living is a journey, so it’s all about taking on what you can when you can.
Whether you’re in the market for new bedding or simply looking to learn more, we’re so happy you are here to join us as we explore bedding this month!
Want to skip the nitty-gritty and go straight to safer solutions? Skip to What to Look for When Shopping for Safer Options.
Flame Retardants – Flame retardants describes a group of chemicals commonly added to polyurethane foam, a popular material used in conventional mattresses, which is highly combustible due to its derivation from fossil fuels. Various flame retardants have been associated with a variety of negative impacts, which include altered sexual development, fertility issues, endocrine disruption, lower IQ, hyperactivity, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer.
VOCs – Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are organic chemicals that can easily become gases. The polyurethane foam typically used in conventional mattresses not only off gases VOCs in the home, but can actually absorb them from the surrounding environment as well! Once absorbed (perhaps in transit or in a factory or warehouse), they can be re-released into the air in our homes. There is a wide range of known substances categorized as VOCs, many of which are known to be harmful to human health. Some of the health impacts of VOCs include irritation, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, organ damage, and cancer.
Conventional Cotton – Conventional cotton bedding can be a source of harmful exposure, as the heavy doses of potentially toxic pesticides utilized in the growing process for conventional cotton can be harmful to the environment and, therefore, humans as well. While the health effects associated with pesticides vary, some of them include: cancer, behavioral issues, and more. Growing conventional cotton is also a water-intensive process.
Polyester – Polyester raises environmental concerns as it is not biodegradable. This means that when your sheets and bedding end up in the landfill – and they inevitably will – they won’t break down. Polyester, can use harmful substances in its manufacturing process which can be detected in the fabric after production. Some of these harmful substances, such as antimony trioxide — a production catalyst that has been classified as possibly carcinogenic — can even migrate from the fabric and into saliva and sweat of the user.
What to Look for When Shopping for Safer Options
- When the time comes to shop for a new mattress, look for one made of natural materials such as wool, latex, organic cotton, and coil constructions. Skip polyurethane foam, which is commonly marketed as memory foam. Also ensure your mattress is made without harmful flame retardants. Wool is naturally flame resistant and when used properly can provide effective flame resistance.
- If now’s not the right time to swap your mattress, you can use a topper made of latex, wool, or organic cotton to create a barrier between you and the mattress.
- A great place to start your nontoxic bedding journey is with your pillow. This swap is a smaller investment with a big return, by offering you a barrier between your head and your mattress for relatively low cost. Shop for natural fill fibers like organic cotton, kapok, natural latex, and wool.
- Look for bed linens made of natural textiles like organic cotton, wool, linen, and silk.
- Choosing organic textiles and ethically-sourced animal fabrics – like wool and silk – are friendlier to our environment and the animals with whom we share our planet that conventional options.
- Don’t forget baby! Developing babies’ bodies are more susceptible to exposure to toxic substances, so select a nontoxic mattress and bedding for your little one.
- For more tips on choosing safer mattresses and bedding, see our fact sheet, Sleep Safe. Want to dive into all the nitty-gritty details? Read our full report, Detox Your Sleep.
MADE SAFE® Certified Solutions
Visit here for a full list of MADE SAFE certified MATTRESS options.
Visit here for a full list of MADE SAFE certified BEDDING options.
Visit here [see BEDDING > PILLOWS] for a full list of MADE SAFE certified options.
Visit here [see NURSERY] for a full list of MADE SAFE certified BABY BEDDING + MATTRESS options.