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Healthy Mattress Tips

Healthy Home 2008, Spring 2008

Nothing is better for your health -- or your outlook -- than a good night's sleep. That's why it's particularly important to make sure you're breathing healthy air during those eight hours.

Many mattresses are treated with toxic chemicals, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), to reduce their flammability. PBDEs are linked with liver, thyroid, and neurodevelopmental toxicity.

In addition, several petroleum derivatives are used in making mattress components, such as the foam. Thankfully, there are healthier short- and long-term alternatives.

Careful
Cover your old mattress with an organic wool or latex pad to reduce contact with PBDEs or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) escaping from the foam or covering.

More Careful
With some states starting to institute PBDE bans, manufacturers are beginning to offer safer alternatives. Ask local retailers or look online for PBDE-free mattresses.

Most Careful
Buy a mattress made of latex, organic cotton, and wool (wool is naturally fire-resistant)