Home » Home and Family

What's in Your Baby Mattress?

Apr 18, 2008
The conventional mattress is made up of metal inner springs, rubber/latex, cotton and wools and chemicals, oh those good ole chemicals that we sleep with half of our life and if you are a baby, 75% of the first 2 years of your life is spent sleeping or playing on a toxic mattress and inhaling the air from no more than inch or two above the source. Would you put yourself or your baby in a room of chemicals that they touch and breathe 24/7? Do you know what's in your mattress?

We as a society are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated diseases among our children today as the rates of asthma, allergy, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased. Children up to six years old are at the most risk for chemical toxicity as their vital organs and immune systems are still developing and they depend heavily on their environment, much more than adults do.

The problems with baby mattresses within the last 3 decades is that the materials have been replaced with cheap petroleum based synthetic products and some of these chemicals have been shown to leach out into the surrounding air. What are these chemicals and what are they doing to our children?

There are some basic problems with conventional baby mattresses and the main one is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or vinyl. This chemical is used as the surface material in nearly all conventional baby mattresses and is considered one of the most toxic and environmentally unfriendly plastics in use today.

This chemical makes the vinyl surface of the typical baby mattress soft and flexible and phthalate plasticizers are added (most often DEHP). Phthalates account for 30% by weight of the vinyl surface of a typical baby mattress. What are phthalates? They are chemicals added to PVC to make the plastic soft and flexible and then as the product ages the vinyl cracks, becomes brittle and the phthalates leach out.

These chemicals are absorbed into the bodies of babies and are very harmful and are found within one inch of your baby 10 or more hours a day. They are not found in just baby mattresses but also our lotions, shampoos and almost anything that is or contains plastic. Not only does your baby put these plastic items in her mouth (baby bottles, pacifiers, teething rings, etc) but they absorbed thru the skin from the lotions, shampoos and then they sleep on a conventional baby mattress. This is evidenced by the increased phthalate levels found in breast milk and household dust samples.

Over the last couple decades there are increasing numbers of asthma, allergies, malformations, liver damage, male reproductive damage and other health problems. It use to be that these problems only occurred in about 1 or every 5000 children, today it is 1 in a 100 or for example, asthma is reported in 1 of 20 children.

The next problem is that not all plastics are created equal. PVC is made from vinyl chloride which is a combination of petroleum (ethylene) and chlorine and is much more toxic than the plastic bag you put your daily lunch in. Then there are added chemicals to the PVC surface which can include lead, cadmium, phosphorus and others.

Antimony is a very rare element and not commonly found in water supplies or foods except in parts of the world with volcanic activity. It is not considered an essential element for life and is considered dangerous and occupational exposures may become life threatening. The chemical properties are much the same as lead. It is has been added as the primary fire retardant used on vinyl plastic surface and is very harmful even at low levels. It can cause eye irritation, hair loss, hung damage, hearth problems, and fertility problems.

Arsenic and its compounds are added to baby mattresses to combat microorganism growth such as mold and mildew. It has been shown over the last couple centuries this element doesn't work, yet manufacturers are still putting arsenic into our baby beds.

These are just 2 problems with conventional baby mattresses and yet babies are put to sleep daily in chemical laden beds and expected to grow healthy and strong. Todays' children are exposed to thousands of substances in the environment, most which haven't been tested for toxicity to children. The implications of this massive exposure are unknown.

What can you as a parent do to reduce or prevent your child's exposure to these dangerous chemicals? The first and most important thing is to have an organic mattress. These beds are made from 100% natural rubber, organic cotton and organic wools. They contain no phthalates, vinyl, and polyurethane foam, chemicals or scrap/ pig hair fibers.

The cotton and wool are raised organically thus no chemicals used in production or manufacturing of the products. Your baby will sleep better and if they have health problems as asthma or allergies they may be reduced or even eliminated. Your chance of SIDS is reduced and health issues of the future are reduced.
About the Author
Audra Jensen is concerned about the health of her family and yours. For an
organic life experience for your baby and you visit: www.dakotaroseorganics.com//page/12770196
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