Flame Retardants in Mattresses in Canada

Ironman Mattress Fire Retardant in Mattresses, Sleep Health Leave a Comment

People are more interested than ever in knowing what goes into their products. This is true for food, cosmetics, self-care products, and home cleaning products. One area often overlooked are material products – by that we mean, things made of textiles and fabrics. Things like clothing, cushions and mattresses.

This category of products seems fairly harmless at first. But with a little digging, one will find that they too are often subjected to a wide range of chemicals. One of the most widely used are flame retardants.

Manufacturers spray flame retardants on fabric and foam products because they are often very flammable to begin with. Flame retardants reduce the chance a product will catch on fire, or that the fire will spread if there is a spark.

But at what cost? Since flame retardants are a cocktail of chemicals, people are concerned that they are hazardous to their health.

According to a government of Canada website: “One of the flame retardants reviewed, known as TCPP, is commonly used in mattresses and upholstered furniture. The draft assessment indicates that the use of TCPP in these products may pose a danger to the health of Canadians.”

In other words, yes – they are probably dangerous to your health.

It seems like a conundrum. People want to be same from their products catching on fire (hence the law), but not if it causes health problems. Like often happens, products evolve much faster than the laws regulating them.

The flame retardant laws were first put into place because it was, at one time, much more commonplace for people to fall asleep while smoking cigarettes, causing house fires to erupt. Fortunately, fewer people smoke in bed in 2018!

The problem is that the laws need to catch up or there needs to be alternative options for fire resistance.

Removal of these chemical products seems to move at a snail’s pace (though Canada has banned certain flame retardants). All while studies are continue to validate people’s concerns.

And people should be concerned about mattresses and pillows. We spend a third of our lives in direct contact with them, breathing in these chemicals.

So what is a person to do? An alarming fact is that manufacturers and sellers are not required to disclose whether or not a mattress has been sprayed with flame retardants. But one can assume that if the mattress is made of polyurethane foam, there is a good chance it is sprayed with flame retardant.

The advice from the government’s website includes these helpful tips:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Dust and vacuum your home often to remove any flame retardant that may have settled on household surfaces.
  • Replace or repair damaged covers on products that contain foam, such as upholstered furniture and mattresses.
  • The best thing a person can do is follow this last point. And shop for a mattress made of natural, organic material, and made by a company that is committed to health and well-being. They do exist! But as a consumer, it is up to you to do research before you buy.

Some mattress manufacturers have simply taken matters into their own hands. They have decided that chemical flame retardants are not the only way forward. Wool, for example, is naturally flame resistant and many companies have incorporated this material into their product design.

Look for companies that are transparent. They will often list the contents of their products on their website and will answer any questions one might have.

Unfortunately, it’s up to consumers to protect themselves, and it’s important that you arm yourself with as much information as you can. That way, you can rest easy at night. As mattress sellers, we are among the smaller percentage of those who do not sell mattresses containing flame retardants. Instead, we choose mattresses containing Certipur-US Certified foam and natural latex.