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Are There Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) In Your Mattress?

What Are VOCs?

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are used, in the manufacturing process, of many items found in our homes. The term “volatile” means that these are chemicals that can easily get into the air that you breathe each day and end up inside of your body. “Organic” means that they are carbon-based.

U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have discovered that VOCs are widely found indoors. Indoor levels can be 2 to as many as 1,000 times higher than outdoor VOCs. There may be between 50 to 100 types of VOCs present, in the air, inside of your home, right now. You might be able to smell some of these. Others will not be easily detected.

Health Effects of VOC Exposure

The potential negative health effects from inhaling a chemical is dependent upon how long it’s been in the air, how regularly you breathe it in, and how much of the chemical is present around you. Breathing in low levels of VOCs for protracted time periods could increase your risk of getting ill. Studies suggest that VOC exposure can worsen asthma symptoms, and it is bad for people who are sensitive to chemicals.

Keep in mind that VOCs refer to a group of chemicals. Each chemical has its own potential to cause different health effects as well as its own toxicity level.

Some VOCs are irritants, and can give you symptoms such as:

Short-term or acute exposure

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Throat, eye and nose irritation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms

Long-term exposure

  • Central nervous system damage
  • Cancer
  • Kidney and liver damage

Long-term exposure to some VOCs could lead to cancer and other chronic diseases. Some VOCs are toxic in high concentrations.

Common VOCs that could be present in your home include:

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers. These are flame retardants that have a connection to hormonal changes and reduced fertility. They also have connections to hyperactivity, lower birth weight, and lower IQ in children.
  • Formaldehyde is a preservative that’s also used as a glue in mattresses. This chemical can irritate your skin, nose, and throat. It presents an increased risk for wheezing and coughing.
  • Polyols bind polyurethane foams and create bulk. Some polyols come from natural sources such as soybeans and they are mixed with other chemicals. However, most come from petroleum. Benzenes is a known carcinogen that occurs naturally in petroleum.
  • Toluene diisocyanates. These make foam more flexible. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) view these as a potential carcinogen.

Ways of Chemical Exposure

There are three main ways you can suffer from chemical exposure:

  1. Inhalation
  2. Ingestion
  3. Dermal absorption.

Inhalations involve breathing in VOCs in the air your breathe. Ingestion happens when chemical materials come into contact with your mouth, and dermal absorption is when they come into contact with your skin.

Is There a Safe Level of VOCs?

It’s a good idea to limit your exposure to materials and products that contain VOCs, to protect your health. If you’re worried about the level of VOCs in your mattress, try buying an organic latex mattress instead. If you feel that VOCs are making you sick, try reducing their levels in your home. If your symptoms persist, have a chat with your doctor to rule out any other potentially serious medical conditions that could have similar symptoms.

Who is at Risk From VOC Exposure?

Everyone who is exposed to VOCs is at risk of inhaling, ingesting or absorbing them. Also, your risk is greater if you have respiratory problems, chemical sensitivities, asthma, etc. Children and the elderly also have a greater risk.

VOCs and Offgassing

Outgassing is often referred to as offgassing. Outgassing is the process your mattress goes through when VOCs are released into the air, from the chemicals in your mattress. Have you ever noticed the strong odor that a new memory foam mattress has? This strong odor is due to the VOCs and chemicals in your mattress. These VOCs disperse into the air in your home, which you breathe in each day. When you detect these chemical smells, be aware that these are a source of potential harm.

How to Avoid Breathing in VOCs

Synthetic materials generally contain VOCs, whereas natural materials do not. That may be so, but it’s crucial to note that the process of creating some products, even with natural materials, results in them containing VOCs. Wherever possible, try to opt for an organic latex mattress since they don’t have volatile organic compounds.

Your Mattress

Perhaps you find it easy to fall asleep at night, no matter where you are. But, sleeping on a traditional mattress, filled with VOCs, makes it harder to get a good night’s rest. Not only will your mattress be laden with dust mites and skin cells, but it could be leaking out harmful chemicals as well.

It’s likely that you’re sleeping on polyurethane foam, whether a mattress is a traditional innerspring model or a memory foam model. Polyurethane foam is a synthetic derivative of petroleum. These mattresses have offgassing from the VOCs inside of the mattress, and they are unsafe and unhealthy to sleep on.

You may also be sleeping on a mattress that contains chemical flame retardants. Chemical flame retardants are commonly used on mattresses and they are well-known for harboring harmful toxins that leech out, into the air that you breathe, as you sleep.

Offgassing odors, from chemicals and VOCs, are not only displeasing, but they can trigger asthma attacks, upper respiratory discomforts, headaches and other reactions. We all see our beds as a safe place to be. But, how safe are they really, when they are filled with chemicals? The fewer toxins that you bring into your home, the less you will expose your family to harm.

VOCs are not found in organic latex mattresses, as mentioned. Organic latex mattress toppers don’t contain volatile organic compounds either, as they are made with 100 % natural latex. When you choose one of these, you can sleep easy, knowing that you’re not releasing harmful chemicals into the air that you and your family breathe.

Why Choose an Organic Latex Mattress?

Organic mattresses and bedding are becoming more and more popular as we seek to live healthier lifestyles. We spend so much time sleeping in our bedrooms that it’s no wonder people are so interested in sleeping healthy.

Is it possible to find a mattress that isn’t filled with questionable chemicals? The answer is yes! Organic latex mattresses contain no VOCs, they are completely recyclable and they typically last for up to 25 years. They can save you money and they are the healthiest sleeping surface for you and your family. If you’re concerned about off gassing and toxic chemicals in your mattress and home, then an organic latex mattress is the way to go.

Traditional Mattress

Traditional mattress options include memory foam beds, gel foam beds and innerspring beds with different fiber and foam layers. The majority of these mattresses contain synthetic materials like  polyurethane foams, vinyl, press board, polyester fabrics and more. They’re also often treated with chemical flame retardants, adhesives, dyes, glues, antimicrobials, and other chemicals that contribute to unhealthy off-gassing.

Organic Mattress

An organic latex mattress, on the other hand, is made with 100% natural latex – no synthetic blends, no fillers, no dyes, no carcinogenic adhesives, no chemicals and no pesticides. Clean, pure, 100% natural latex, as Mother Nature intended. This is the healthiest sleeping surface you will find.

Natural Mattress

Sitting somewhere in between these two distinct categories are mattresses that use all natural materials. These mattresses are not organic, but they often include some healthy materials such as plant-based poly foams, natural fabrics, and natural latex along with coils or a foam core.

Pros Of Choosing an Organic Latex Mattress

It’s time to make the switch to an organic latex mattress if you’re worried about volatile organic compounds getting into your home or the homes of the people you love. The benefits include:

  • VOC-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No pesticide residues
  • Non-toxic fire barriers
  • Sustainable manufacturing and farming

Keep you and your loved ones safe. Consider buying an organic latex mattress today. Don’t accept volatile organic compounds in your home.

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What is the Best Mattress for Children?

kids on a mattress

As a parent, you may agonize over every decision you make for your children. From the choice of pediatrician to the schools they attend and even the things we purchase for them.

The primary objective you have as parent is to raise happy, healthy children. It seems like such a simple proposition. But, every parent knows there are so many big and small things that go wrong, despite your best intentions.

When it comes to buying mattress, it is important to not only find a mattress that is safe for your children to sleep on, but to find a mattress that will offer room for your children to grow. These are a few things you should look for when you’re looking for the best mattress for your children.

How to Keep Organic Mattress Accessories Clean and Fresh

green cleaners

You’ve made the decision to invest in organic mattress accessories, perhaps to go with your organic mattress. Whether it’s an interest in protecting the planet, allergies, or some other reason you’ve made this choice, it’s worth your while to learn how to protect and care for your new mattress.

Shall I Buy a Natural or Organic Latex Mattress – What is the Difference?

natural and organic labels

You will come across many questions as you shop around for mattresses and compare products and prices. It’s always important to know what you’re getting so that you can make apples to apples comparisons as you explore your mattress options.

On occasion, you’ll come across terms such as natural latex mattresses or organic latex mattresses. On the surface, they seem to say the same things. But, there is a significant difference between natural latex and organic latex.

Buying a Latex Mattress Online

shopping online

Many people are somewhat reluctant to make major purchases, such as mattresses, online. The truth is that there is no method of ordering a mattress that is more convenient and potentially cost saving than doing so via the Internet. These tips will help you make an informed decision about the mattress you purchase online.

Natural Mattress

natural world

Image Source: egreenprojects.com

In recent years, there has been a real push in the marketplace to bring in more natural products and goods, whether it’s about leading healthier lifestyles, conserving resources, or saving the planet. One of these products that is capturing increasing attention is the organic or natural mattress. Organic mattresses are becoming more and more popular as a result of many of things, including health risks, particularly lung diseases among children, which have been linked to the chemicals found in non-organic mattresses. These hints and tips should help you select the proper natural mattress to meet your needs.

Organic Mattress

healthy mattress

Are there toxins and chemicals lurking under your covers? Chances are, if you’re sleeping on a conventional mattress, there are. According to the Environmental Working Group, polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), are found in a variety of everyday products used in the home, including mattresses.

“Long-term exposures to PBDEs may pose a human health risk, especially to infants and toddlers who are more likely to ingest household dust or acquire these chemicals through mother’s milk,” said Margarita Curras-Collazo, an associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience in an article for Science Today at the University of California.