The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a 2006 federal regulation (16 CFR 1640) enforcing a strict national flameproof mattress standard, mandating all new mattresses withstand a two-foot wide blowtorch open-flame test, for 70 seconds.
The national flameproof mattress regulation has been in effect in California since January 1, 2005 and is now effective nationwide. All mattresses, sofa beds, futons, cribs and fold out beds are included under the regulation.
Wool - the natural fire retardant
Think uses wool as a natural fire retardant in all its sleep products. Wool is free of toxic chemicals while providing the same safety standard as the traditional and other natural product mattresses without compromising product integrity and our commitment to a healthier night's sleep.
Reborn Kapok Mattresses have passed the open flame testing at Underwriter Laboratories in Illinois.
Watch test results (Video and result analysis)
Why we skip the chemical fire retardants
The federal regulation does not mandate the labeling of chemicals used in fireproofing. The manufacturers are free to use any and all chemicals including those that have yet to be tested for hazardous side effects.
Ironically, the National Flameproof Mattress regulation allows physicians, including chiropractors, to prescribe fire retardant free mattresses for patients should they conclude that the health risks posed by toxic fire retardants will interfere with the patients' well being.
Here's a list of some of the chemicals used as fire retardants:
Here's the health impacts and other information about these chemicals:
PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) is a toxic flame retardant used in the mattress and pillows. PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, can impair brain development, particularly in the very young, and alter thyroid hormone balance, which is critical to the function of the central nervous system
Scientific studies postulate a relationship between some fire retardant chemicals and adverse birth outcomes, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, cryptorchidism, reduced fertility and sperm counts, and other negative neurological and reproductive impacts.
This is of special concern for pregnant women and young children who are the most vulnerable to endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, mutagens, and neurological and reproductive toxins. Since spermatocytes are the most rapidly growing cells in adults, men also need to be protected as well from toxic materials in their beds.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Scientific Reports on Chemicals used to flameproof mattresses:
EPA Boric Acid Review, June 2004, Conclusions:
Have identified the developing fetus and the testes as the two most sensitive targets of boron toxicity
high prenatal mortality, reduced fetal body weight and malformations and variations of the eyes, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and axial skeleton
The testicular effects that have been reported include reduced organ weight and organ:body weight ratio, atrophy,
Reduced fertility and sterility
CDC Boric Acid Review, Health Effects, 1992, Conclusions:
Demonstrated injury to the gonads and to the developing fetus.
Boron (as boron oxide and boric acid dusts) has been shown to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract in humans.
Boron does cause health effects following acute dermal exposure.
Neonatal children are unusually susceptible to boron exposure.
Neurological damage is an area of concern following exposure to boron
Boric Acid MSDS:
Chronic Exposure: Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible.
Antimony Oxide MSDS:
Potential Health Effects: ... May cause heart to beat irregularly or stop.
Chronic Exposure: Prolonged or repeated exposure may damage the liver and the heart muscle. Prolonged skin contact may cause irritation, dermatitis, itching, and pimple eruptions. There is an association between antimony trioxide production and an increased incidence of lung cancer.
Vinylidene Chloride MSDS:
Irritation, symptoms of drunkenness, lung congestion, liver damage, convulsions LONG TERM EXPOSURE: kidney damage, tumors http://www.matheson-trigas.com/msds/MAT25070.pdf
Decabromodiphenyl Oxide, Brominated Flame Retardant, 82% Bromine Minimum, contains free Bromine, http://www.grchem.com/product-30_e.htm
Skin Contact: Corrosive! Symptoms may include skin discoloration, pain, serious burns, blistering, and slow healing ulcers. Eye Contact: Corrosive. Can cause blurred vision, redness, pain, severe tissue burns and eye damage. Chronic Exposure: Pulmonary edema, pneumonia, diarrhea, and rashes may be delayed complications of severe exposures.
FORMALDEHYDE MSDS: "POISON! DANGER! SUSPECT CANCER HAZARD. MAY CAUSE CANCER. Risk of cancer depends on level and duration of exposure. VAPOR HARMFUL. HARMFUL IF INHALED OR ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN. CAUSES IRRITATION TO SKIN, EYES AND RESPIRATORY TRACT. STRONG SENSITIZER. MAY BE FATAL OR CAUSE BLINDNESS IF SWALLOWED. CANNOT BE MADE NONPOISONOUS." http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/F5522.htm