No, DLX Mattresses do not use fiberglass in their products.
Our dedicated team actively participates in the production process, overseeing the handling of raw materials and ensuring the quality of every mattress we create. This hands-on involvement provides us with a comprehensive understanding of our products.
Instead of fiberglass, we employ an inherent FR Rayon batting as our flame barrier in our mattresses, which is situated directly beneath the exterior fabric. This unique fiber contains silicic acid (or polysilicic acid) that is mixed with viscose, and its precipitate becomes an integral part of the fiber itself, rather than being added as a separate coating or powder. This innovative approach is why we refer to it as inherent, and it results in a cellulose-polysilicic acid hybrid fiber.
Why is Fiberglass Used as a Flame Retardant?
In 2006, the CPSC introduced CFR 1633, a regulation mandating that mattresses must pass an open flame test. This test involves placing a burner on top of the mattress and its side for durations of 60 and 90 seconds. Additionally, after 30 minutes, the heat release must not exceed 200 kilowatts. It's worth noting that this law does not prescribe specific flame retardants but rather requires mattresses to meet the test's criteria.
One commonly used material to meet this requirement is fiberglass, primarily due to its cost-effectiveness when compared to other alternatives. The affordability of fiberglass makes it a preferred choice as a fire retardant in mattresses, particularly in the budget-friendly segment. While there are mattresses available with alternative fire protection methods, they generally come at a higher price point.
The utilization of fiberglass as an economical flame retardant is not exclusive to mattresses; it is a well-established practice and can also be found in various other products such as furniture, rugs, curtains, and home insulation.
A Controversial Topic
The use of flame retardants in mattresses has been a topic of controversy for many years, with debates revolving around the potential dangers of these chemicals and their associated health risks versus the perceived benefits.
According to a recent report, Fiberglass and Other Flame-Resistant Fibers in Mattress Covers, published by Wagner, J.; Fowles, J.; Barreau, T. in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, as of December 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) had received 128 complaints related to fiberglass exposure in mattresses from various brands. This could be just the tip of the iceberg, as many individuals might not be aware of their exposure or may not exhibit immediate symptoms. News media have also highlighted a growing number of health complaints related to this issue. For instance, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) investigated a case in 2021 where a 6-year-old child experienced persistent skin and respiratory irritation believed to be linked to fiberglass leakage from a mattress purchased in 2018. The remediation efforts included disposing of the mattress, carpet, and clothing items that couldn't be effectively cleaned of fiberglass fibers.
Recent public concerns have raised alarm about the potential for some mattresses currently available in the market to release airborne fiberglass. While mattress foam is often marketed as free of potentially harmful chemicals, the composition of their covers is less understood by the general public. In response to these information gaps, researchers from the California Department of Public Health conducted a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Their goal was to shed light on the physical and chemical characteristics of fibers found in new mattress covers by analyzing four different mattresses.
The study involved sampling and analyzing the covers of these newly purchased mattresses using polarized light microscopy, SEM-EDS, and FTIR microspectroscopy. The results revealed that two of the mattress covers contained over 50% fiberglass in their inner sock layers. Up to 1% of the fiberglass had migrated to adjacent fabric layers, potentially exposing consumers if the zipper on the outer cover is opened. The observed fiberglass fragments had aerodynamic diameters ranging between 30 and 50 µm, suggesting they could be inhaled into the nose, mouth, and throat, though they are likely too large to penetrate deeper into the lungs.
The presence of fiberglass and other chemicals in mattress covers poses a potential health risk when not adequately contained. The absence of mattress covers in chemical-free certifications underscores the need for improvements in mattress labeling and consumer education.
CertiPUR-US is an industry-based certification program that certifies foam products as free from heavy metals, PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP ("Tris") flame retardants, as well as numerous flame-retardant additives. However, the certification and testing do not currently extend to the mattress covers and flame retardant fabrics and fibers.
In light of the potential health hazards associated with fiberglass and flame retardant chemicals in mattresses, it is crucial for consumers to be informed about potential risks when making a purchase. Manufacturers should also be transparent about the presence of these materials in their products and provide guidance on how to minimize potential exposure risks. While the long-term health effects of fiberglass and flame retardant chemical exposure remain unclear, taking precautions to reduce exposure is important, particularly for children and infants. Simple steps such as avoiding mattresses known to contain these materials and ensuring well-ventilated homes to reduce airborne particle concentration can help mitigate potential risks.
Is Fiberglass Harmful to Health?
Fiberglass finds application in numerous aspects of our daily lives, including fiberglass insulation in homes and businesses, as well as the construction of items like patio furniture, fishing poles, and boat hulls. Importantly, fiberglass has not been proven to be carcinogenic and is generally considered non-toxic.
However, it's essential to recognize that while fiberglass may not be directly carcinogenic or toxic, it is not entirely without risks. Those working with various forms of fiberglass, such as builders and installers, often take precautions by wearing respirators and eye protection due to the potential health hazards associated with fiberglass exposure.
Fiberglass in Mattresses Can Cause Skin Irritation: Most individuals who have mattresses releasing fiberglass particles have reported experiencing skin irritation and itchiness as their initial symptoms. In more severe cases, prolonged exposure to fiberglass can lead to skin abrasions and a condition known as fiberglass dermatitis.
Fiberglass in Mattresses Can Irritate the Eyes: Fiberglass particles are minuscule and can easily become trapped in the eyes, often being nearly invisible to the naked eye. People who have dealt with leaky fiberglass mattresses have frequently complained of persistent redness and itchiness in their eyes until they replaced the mattress and thoroughly cleaned up the fiberglass contamination.
Fiberglass in Mattresses Can Be a Respiratory Irritant: Inhaling fiberglass particles can irritate the nose, throat, and in severe instances, even the lungs. Individuals with mattresses leaking fiberglass have reported frequent nosebleeds. Studies have indicated that the inhalation of fiberglass particles may contribute to increased complications related to asthma and bronchitis.
For further information and guidance on fiberglass exposure: You can refer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) overview of synthetic mineral fibers like fiberglass. It's important to note that the overview, along with other sources, highlight that there is insufficient evidence suggesting that fiberglass causes respiratory issues. However, the results of animal experiments have prompted conservative classifications of certain synthetic mineral fibers, like fiberglass, as potential human carcinogens. Although, scientific understanding can evolve with further research and study, and ongoing investigation is essential to ensure accurate risk assessment.
Important Note If Your Mattress Has Fiberglass
TL;DR - If you suspect your mattress contains fiberglass or are unsure, avoid removing the mattress cover.
Here are key points to consider:
Be Cautious with Cheap Memory Foam Mattresses: Very affordable memory foam mattresses from platforms like Amazon or discount retailers may incorporate crushed fiberglass barriers. Removing the mattress cover can release fiberglass particles into the air, potentially contaminating your living space. Do not remove the cover in such cases.
Watch for Firesocks in Traditional Memory Foam Mattresses: Traditional memory foam mattresses and other types with firesocks often contain glass fibers embedded within the yarn. Firesocks are favored for their stretchability, enhancing the sensation of soft foams beneath. However, fiberglass can escape from firesocks and become airborne. Once again, refrain from removing the cover.
However, it's worth noting that there is limited evidence of fiberglass making its way through an intact cover.
If you have not removed the mattress cover, you should generally be safe from fiberglass exposure.
If you've already taken off the cover, reattach it and carefully inspect your living area using the flashlight test to identify any glass fibers. If you spot glass fibers, it's crucial to clean your home. While there's no strong evidence of carcinogenicity, these fibers can be irritants and may contribute to sinusitis, skin irritation, and sleep disturbances.
To clean up fiberglass contamination, consider the following steps:
Call a professional cleaning crew or perform the cleanup yourself while wearing a respirator and using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
Vacuum all surfaces, including books, walls, and furniture.
Invest in a true HEPA air filter and run it for a few days to weeks.
Periodically check the area for any further signs of glass fibers and repeat the cleaning process as necessary.
Taking these precautions can help minimize the potential health risks associated with fiberglass exposure.