The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on behalf of the U.S. government, established regulations beginning July 1, 2007 that requires all mattresses sold in the United States to meet certain fire retardant standards. The law further requires that mattress labeling includes information indicating that the mattress meets current federal regulations concerning flammability.
However, many mattress makers rely on chemical-based fire retardants rather than natural fire barriers that are completely safe for exposure to healthy adults, the elderly, and to children. That’s a concern to anyone interested in limiting exposure to potentially toxic petrochemicals.
Additionally, a May 2013 US News & World Report Health article reveals that exposure to PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), which are found in many flame-retardants chemicals, have been linked to hyperactivity and lower IQs in children. This makes fire retardant mattress materials of particular interest to parents of small children and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
That said, mattresses need to have a fire retardant unless you have a prescription from a doctor for one without it, according to the CPSC.
“The standard allows an exemption for a one-of-a-kind mattress set if it is manufactured in response to a physician’s written prescription or manufactured in accordance with
comparable medical therapeutic specifications. This provision is unchanged from the proposal and is also present in the 16 CFR 1632 mattress standard.”
If you do take the prescription route, be sure to make sure that your bedroom is safe from fire risks and hazards. Some tips are provided below from the National Fire Protection Association.
Fire Risks with Mattresses
In 2003, prior to the new flammability requirements, there were 8,500 mattress fires in the U.S. These mattresses were filled with petrochemicals that simply exploded into flames when exposed to flames from wiring shorts, candles, cigarettes, close proximity to portable heaters, using matches in bed, and even butane lighters. The risks were very real, as was the need for change.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that bedding and/or mattresses have been the primary point of ignition in 10,260 home fires per year between 2005 and 2009. These fires were responsible for a yearly average of 371 deaths, 1,340 injuries, and nearly $400 million in property damage. The 2009 numbers represent a nearly 85 percent reduction in the number of incidents and a 61 percent reduction in deaths from mattress/bedding fires in 1980.
However, PBDEs are not the only answer available for flame resistance in mattresses. You don’t have to expose yourself, your children, and your elderly loved ones to potentially harmful chemicals in order to protect them from flames while they sleep.
Exercise caution by taking the following actions, which are also recommended by the National Fire Protection Association:
- Don’t smoke in bed.
- Teach your children about the importance of fire safety and keep lighters, matches, etc. out of their reach.
- Never leave portable heaters running unattended.
- Turn offer portable heaters before going to sleep.
Finally, consider buying a natural latex mattress like ours. PlushBeds Botanical Bliss latex mattresses use 100 percent pure Joma New Zealand wool, which provides a flame resistant barrier that exceeds federal standards without harmful chemicals. Our Natural Bliss beds use a silica and plant fiber fire barrier.
You do not have to trade one risk for harming your family for another and you can still get an exceptional night’s sleep knowing that the latex mattress you’re sleeping on is constructed in a responsible, earth-friendly, and sustainable manner.
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