Luckily in the United States mattresses and upholstered furniture laws pertain only to the manufacturer. This is how Martha Stewart can legally create TV shows and magazines feeding us with the ideas and step by step tutorials on how to make our own rag rugs, upholstered benches, wall coverings, pillows, mattresses, and headboards while skipping the step of soaking the materials in flame retardant chemicals. “Ideas, concepts, and how to's" are not regulated unless they are sold in kit form containing the instructions plus the materials.
How did the laws pertaining to mattresses come about? An opportunity presented itself that the chemical companies could not ignore. That opportunity was a court case against Big Tabacco accusing that their products were a fire hazard. People were smoking in bed and on their sofas, falling asleep resulting in the lit cigarettes igniting the untreated foam fillings in upholstered furnishings. The Tabacco Industry’s defense was clever. They claimed it was not the cigarettes that were the problem but the highly flammable, petroleum-based foams inside our furnishing. The Chemical companies took notice of this case and saw an opportunity to exploit it to create a new, incredibly large market for their flame retardant products.
The Chemical Industry had the money and now an agenda. With this money, they were able to influence federal legislators to bring legislation to introduce new federal regulations for furniture and mattresses, disguised as fire safety. They even made up fake news and fake websites pretending to be citizens fighting for safer home furnishing. With this clever marketing spin, nobody could advocate against protecting children from fire while they slept. The Chemical Industry won. Flame retardants are still added to children's pajamas unless they are 100% cotton and form-fitting.
Honestly, I agree with the chemical companies. Foam is a real problem. It is so incredibly flammable that is should be outlawed for use in mattresses altogether especially in children’s mattresses. What I don’t agree with is to keep the foam but douse it with cancer-causing flame retardants.
The cheapest chemicals that most manufacturers choose won’t adhere to the foam but simply lay on top of it. Foam is a great device for spreading flame retardant chemicals around our home. Every time you sit on foam the air is forced out of it. This propels the chemicals all over our homes landing on the floor where our pets lie and babies crawl. Babies consume most of these chemicals because they put everything in their mouths. If these flame retardants actually protected us from fires it would be one story but it is becoming common knowledge that the health risks from the chemicals completely outweigh the tiny margin of fire safety that chemicals offer.
Duke University is currently studying common household flame retardants. Their recommendations are to vacuum like crazy and wash your hands constantly. Don’t handle your dryer link without gloves as it is toxic.
At Open Your Eyes Bedding we recommend that you rid your home of flame retardants altogether. We recommend replacing the foam in mattresses with naturally flame-resistant materials such as buckwheat hulls. Are you ready to make your own mattresses? We are here to help.