Is Your Bedroom Toxic?

BedroomWhether I'm sleeping, watching a movie, reading a good book, or spending "quality time" with my husband, it seems like I spend a good portion of the day in my bedroom.

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time in your bedroom.

What would you do if you found out you were deathly allergic to your bedroom?


Walt Bader, author of Toxic Bedrooms: Your Guide to a Safe Night’s Sleep, was faced with that very question growing up.

Bader says he has struggled with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) for decades, and the main source of his illness was his bedroom (remember, there are chemicals in everything).

To help others with chemical allergies and to raise awareness about health hazards in the home, Bader co-founded a company, Organic Mattresses, Inc. (OMI), makers of 100-percent organic beds.
According to Bader, many popular mattresses are a chemical nightmare comprised of elements associated with environmental problems as well as human health hazards.

These chemicals -- stabilizers, catalysts, surfactants, fire retardants, antimicrobial additives, and colorants -- have been linked to chronic bronchitis, impaired lung function, breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions.

Yet, mattresses are treated with these chemicals because it's the cheapest way to control flammability. (OMI controls flammability with wool, which is about 20x the cost -- but not toxic!)

OMI Mattress

In his book, Bader tested conventional memory foam and typical pillow top mattresses in a reputable laboratory and published a list of chemicals that were out gassing from (coming out of) the products. Nine of the chemicals were recognized as carcinogens by every health organization in the world, and many were well-known irritants, reproductive toxins, and respiratory irritants.

For those (me!) who cannot afford to replace their mattress with an eco-friendly version (the mattress pictured above costs $995 twin, $1,495 full, $1,695 queen, and $1,995 king, not including the foundation sold separately), Bader has some advice:

"As far as what can be done without spending money to improve your bedroom’s indoor air quality, keep in mind what the Sierra Club said years ago, 'The solution to pollution is dilution.' Open the windows."

Have you ever considered the possible toxins in your bedroom?

Images via Marc Lacoste/Flickr and OMI

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