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Is Your Bedroom Toxic?

by Juliet Farmer on July 6, 2010 at 1:10 PM

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

Filed Under: bedroom, furniture, going green


  • jmetz24


    July 6, 2010 at 2:24 PM never crossed my mind that a mattress could contain chemicals, and it's a scary thought. considering the majority of time you spend in your bed, it's not a bad idea to invest in one of these...


    have a good night

  • tonya...


    July 23, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    i havent

  • aneela


    April 8, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    it never crossed my mind about the for posting this

  • Mrs.P...


    April 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    I have never considered the toxins in my bedroom, other than my horny toad husband.  LOL

  • dusky...


    April 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    I'm not surprised that there are toxins in the bedroom. We just got a new mattress and you can smell the newness.

  • allie...


    April 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    I have never thought about it

  • coppe...


    April 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    No I never thought about it, but I'm going to now. Thanks! :)

  • slw123


    April 16, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    I have never considered these things.

  • MamaB...


    April 16, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Interesting,I had not even thought about them before.

  • mille...


    April 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    never thought about it.. but i do need a new mattress.

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