Have you ever felt the itch of microscopic fiberglass shards under your skin? It's something you really can’t forget. If you try to wash it off, it feels worse. Brush or rub it and it feels like a thousand needles penetrating the skin. It’s almost impossible to get rid of and can cause serious problems with the lungs. Because airborne fiberglass can not be seen by the naked eye nor does it have a smell, it is very difficult to detect.
People react differently when exposed to fiberglass but most people will experience the obvious signs of sinus issues, coughing, burning of the eyes and while others get an upset stomach. It makes sense if your body is busy trying to get rid of a toxin, it has less energy to fight off other ailments or take care of the body in normal ways. Toxin overload can stress the liver and kidney, creating inflammation which can cause a wide range of health issues.
WHY WOULD YOU FIND FIBERGLASS IN A MATTRESS?
Knowing the dangers that fiberglass poses to the body it is the last material you'd expect to find in your mattress. So why is fiberglass found in some mattresses?
Unfortunately, using fiberglass is a cheap way for many manufacturers to meet federal industry fire regulations and help keep you safe while sleeping in your cozy but flammable — bed.
Nap Lab has analyzed 140 mattresses to find out which brands contain fiberglass and which don't! You can explore the full list of mattresses with fiberglass here.
Fiberglass is especially common in memory foam mattresses, which are extremely prone to fire damage. Typically, if your mattress catches on fire, it will melt instead of bursting into flames and burning freely. Fiberglass slows down the spread of the fire and requires more time for the flames to reach the combustible materials on the inside of your mattress. Manufacturers may weave the fiberglass into the mattress, either directly underneath or right into the inner cover, suggesting out of sight and out of mind.
Should your mattress cover wear out or needs to be removed for whatever reason, it can release tiny microscopic fibers and cause irritation, damage the eyes and airways, and worsen asthma symptoms if inhaled.
California Approves Ban on Fiberglass in Mattresses & Upholstered Furniture
In a groundbreaking move, on September 8, 2023, the California Senate voted in favor of a ban on the sale of mattresses containing hazardous materials, particularly fiberglass and toxic flame retardant chemicals. This legislative decision is poised to have far-reaching implications for consumers nationwide, as the state's influence often extends beyond its borders in matters of retail consumer goods.
Set to be enacted on January 1, 2027, this legislation marks a significant step towards ensuring that consumers across the United States can rest easy on mattresses that meet stringent safety and health standards. For consumers in need of a new mattress today, the transition period may seem lengthy. However, there are immediate options and important considerations to keep in mind.
What to Watch Our for When Shopping for a Fiberglass Free Mattress:
- LOW COST: Cheap mattresses ($400 or less) are more likely to contain fiberglass and other low-quality, potentially harmful materials to reduce cost.
- "MADE IN CHINA" LABELS: Many mattress companies actually import their poly foams or mattresses from China for the cost savings advantages. This is usually at the expense of consumers’ health, as there are less stringent laws and regulations that allow them to use materials like fiberglass.
- GREENWASHING: Terms like “silica,” “glass fiber,” or “glass wool” are often used to purposely mislead customers into thinking their mattresses don’t contain fiberglass. This is particularly common in polyfoam mattresses, which is considered a memory foam but may contain fiberglass and other lower-quality materials.
- "DO NOT REMOVE COVER" TAGS: If a mattress tag warns against removing the cover, that’s a big red flag and almost certainly because doing so would expose you to the fiberglass layer underneath. Manufacturers do not place fiberglass on the outer surface of the mattress, where you risk easy exposure to the material. Rather, they use it inside the mattress’s inner cover, usually woven into a sock that covers all the materials inside. Ask for manufacturer tags and make sure the mattress has a zipper cover to remove and wash.
- OPT for NATURAL & ORGANIC MATTRESSES: Seek out mattresses crafted from natural or organic materials, such as latex, cotton, and wool. Avoid man-made materials like polyurethane foam or polyester. Use caution when considering wool as a natural fire retardant. Some "green" manufacturers treat their wool with flame-retarding chemicals to ensure that their mattress passes flammability tests but still claim their wool is natural.
- LOOK FOR CERTIFICATIONS: Prioritize mattresses with certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard), which serve as a guarantee that the materials used adhere to rigorous organic and non-toxic standards. Understand what the certification means as some can be confusing. CertiPUR-US ensures the mattress is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals and must have low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. However, their certification does not necessarily mean that there is no fiberglass used in the mattress, just none in the foam.
WHERE TO SHOP FOR A FIBERGLASS FREE MATTRESS?
Here at Essentia we are committed to the safety and health of our customers. We went above and beyond industry standards to offer a non-toxic fire protection barrier by using kevlar fabric. Since it is a fabric, we put it on the mattress much like a sock and sew it up on the other end. This means we don’t spray any harsh chemicals or toxic flame retardant chemicals, it is safe for human contact and does not introduce any harmful chemicals or particles into your sleep environment.
We have also prioritized a clean, allergy free environment which is why you also won't find any wool or cotton batting on an Essentia mattress that can act as a nesting ground for dust mites. In fact, Essentia mattresses have been tested by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to be impervious to dust mites making it the perfect sleep environment for someone suffering from allergies.
The requirement for a Flame Proof mattress is only applicable in the United States. Essentia mattresses are made in our GOLS and GOTS certified organic factory in Canada. As Canada does not have the same regulation in place as the US, all mattresses that we ship within Canada do not have the non-toxic kevlar flame retardant fabric. Essentia will ship a mattress to our customers in the US without that kevlar fabric sock if we are provided a prescription from a doctor stating that you require a mattress without a flame retardant.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR MATTRESS HAS FIBERGLASS?
For consumers currently in possession of mattresses that contain fiberglass and similar toxic substances, taking appropriate action is crucial:
- Dispose of Safely: When it comes time to replace your mattress, be sure to follow local waste disposal regulations for the proper and safe disposal of mattresses containing hazardous materials.
Utilize Mattress Covers: Consider using high-quality, impermeable mattress covers to contain any potential fiberglass particles and mitigate exposure.
- RETURN IT: Many manufacturers offer a Sleep Trial where if you are not satisfied with the purchase you may return it. Some charge a fee and others don’t but either way, you will get rid of the offensive mattress. Then consider a healthy, organic and performance mattress.
With the California Senate's approval of the mattress safety bill, consumers have a clear path towards enjoying safer and healthier sleep environments. By making informed choices and advocating for organic and non-toxic options, consumers can take control of their mattress purchases and promote the broader adoption of mattress safety standards nationwide.