Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Avoiding Flame Retardants: Adult Mattresses

Frankie's favorite place: Mom and Dad's bed.
I became concerned about my mattress having flame retardants when I discovered that flame retardants can pass from my system into my breast milk. I wanted to minimize the amount of flame retardants Frankie was ingesting, so I decided to replace my mattress, which was certainly treated with flame retardants given that it was a polyurethane memory foam mattress. Hubby and I also used to spend (and hope to again someday) a lot of time in our bed, so reducing our exposure was important to us too, especially considering I’d struggled with infertility (which has been linked to exposure to PBDE, a particular kind of flame retardant). Now that I’ve been a momma for five months, I’m glad I did because our bed is one of Frankie’s favorite places to be. Replacing my mattress was the most costly change that we made because, as I’m sure you know, mattresses are expensive, and just like everything else, the flame retardant free options were even costlier. Again, the issue wasn’t so much finding a mattress without flame retardants. The issue was finding one that I could afford. As before, I started by Googling “organic mattress.” The link below proved to be helpful in my quest. 

I considered several companies: 

Naturepedic: This is the same company that makes the crib mattress I chose. Their mattresses are made in the USA, have a 20 year limited warranty, and are designed to be flame resistant without flame retardants. Additionally, might I add, the mattresses are made in Ohio (O-H!...). I like this company because they are more transparent about what’s in their products than most.  In the end, however, I wasn’t able to afford any of their adult mattresses because the cheapest option started at $1199 (for a twin without a box spring—not feasible for someone no longer in college). You can spend as much as $8898 for a king with a box spring! I certainly couldn’t afford to spend thousands, so I very sadly kept on looking. If I were a bajillionaire, however, I’d have bought one of their mattresses.  

Green Sleep Organic “The Natures Nest” Mattress: I pined after this mattress because it has individual spring coils that are split into two separate systems so that each person can have his or her own support system (read: less movement transference and passive rolling into the middle for the smaller partner). The materials listed in the mattress are all ones that I would have loved to have in my mattress. They’re also very up-front about the exact contents of their mattress and explicitly state the mattress has no flame retardants of any kind. The price, however, is steep with the twin minus the box spring coming in at $2099. The option I would have needed (king with box spring) costs $5295, which wasn’t feasible with a baby on the way.  

Savvy Rest: This company states right away on their homepage that they don’t use any flame retardants because their mattresses are made with wool batting, which ensures they meet federal flammability standards. I liked these mattresses because you can customize the layers to achieve the level of firmness you desire and on the Queen and King sizes you can customize for each side. They’ve also got financing which you’ll see shortly would be helpful in allowing people to afford their mattresses. The Unity Pillowtop (which is just the Serenity with an extra 3 inch layer of latex foam) is what I would have wanted. Again, the price for the options I desired (King, 4 layers of firm Talalay) was prohibitive at $6499. It’s cheaper cousin, the Serenity, still cost $4499. Their other latex option, the Tranquility, isn’t for people weighing more than 160 pounds, so that option was out, but it was still pricey for my budget at $3699. They even sell a futon mattress (the Pastoral) that I still couldn’t afford at $2799 (nor did I want it as I’m not in college anymore and have matured out of futons). These prices were all sans foundations, btw.  

Pure Rest Organics: These mattresses were ones that I found to be the most affordable in my search of an organic mattress. Again, the company states that they do not use flame retardants outright on their website. My champagne tastes made me desire the 13 inch Zip Zeus, which, like the Unity Pillowtop by Savvy Rest above, has 4 layers of 3 inch thick latex rubber foam, but can  be had only with Dunlop processed rubber (which could be seen as a negative because many consider Talalay to be a better quality latex foam compared to Dunlop). If you’re fine with Dunlop latex foam, then I’d buy the one from this company because theirs is more than $1000 cheaper than the Dunlop Unity Pillowtop option ($3,792 versus $4,799, respectively). Again, these prices are all mattress only—no box spring). I couldn’t afford this option either, so I thought I was going to end up sleeping on the floor…until I had an epiphany. 

My Epiphany: I noticed one thing kept popping up: natural latex foam. After some investigating, I learned that natural latex foam is basically nature’s memory foam. I LOVED the idea of being able to keep the things I loved about my memory foam mattress but get rid of the flame retardants. My husband gets into, out of, and moves around our bed like a water buffalo. Memory foam saved our marriage because I no longer bounced around in bed every single time he moved. If natural latex foam offered the same reduction in movement transference, I was in! Now that I have a natural latex mattress, I love it because it doesn’t hold heat like polyurethane memory foam. 

My search for a new mattress ended at The Foam Factory. I got a king sized 6-inch thick Talalay natural latex rubber foam mattress with the beige terrycloth cover for $752.99 and free shipping. The website didn’t mention anything about flame retardants, so I contacted the company. They said, “The only mattress that we sell that contains any fire retardant in the foam is our Lux-HQ. Also, the flame retardant is not sprayed on the foam as a chemical, the foam has the flame retardant inside the foam that comes from our manufacturer.” I also made sure to ask about the mattress cover and was glad I did because, “The gray and white striped, 50/50 cotton polyester cover does contain fire retardants. The beige terrycloth, 80/20 cotton polyester cover does not contain fire retardants.” Thus, I paid $20 more for the cover that didn’t have any flame retardants. 

Currently, the mattress is on the floor because Frankie is still bed-sharing with us (if Frankie rolls off, he’ll only have 6 inches to the floor), but when we get a real bed setup (he will eventually sleep in his crib the whole night, RIGHT?!?) we’ll probably make our own box spring because latex foam mattresses either need to be on a platform or have very close spacing between the slats. Also, there are flame retardants in box springs too. Up next, (my last installment on flame retardants) will be other ways that I’ve tried to reduce our exposure to flame retardants.


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