Health Risks of Fiberglass in a Mattresses

Learn about health and safety issues associated with fiberglass in mattresses.

Mark Abrials avatar
Written by Mark Abrials
Updated over a week ago

Why Do Some Mattresses Use Fiberglass

To meet federally mandated flammability standards, some mattresses use fiberglass — fine, thread-like fibers of plastic reinforced with tiny strands of glass — as a fire retardant in mattresses, especially in memory foam mattresses and mattress covers. While fiberglass may offer some level of protection from fire, and is inexpensive to use, it can also pose serious health and safety risks to individuals who come into contact with it. If a cover or mattresses gets torn or ripped, or the cover is removed and washed, fiberglass can be released.

Respiratory Problems

Fiberglass is a type of glass that is made into very fine fibers and used in a variety of products, including insulation, filters, and fire-retardant materials. While fiberglass has been proven to effectively prevent fire spread, it can also be dangerous if it is released into the air or comes into contact with the skin. When fiberglass fibers are inhaled, they can irritate the lungs and cause a range of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, exposure to fiberglass can lead to lung disease and cancer.

Skin Irritation & Rashes

In addition to respiratory problems, fiberglass can also cause skin irritation and rashes when it comes into contact with the skin. The tiny fibers of fiberglass can penetrate the skin and cause itching, burning, and redness. Over time, repeated exposure to fiberglass can lead to more serious skin conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis.

Harmful Chemicals When Burned

Another major concern with fiberglass-filled mattresses is that they may emit harmful chemicals when they burn. Mattresses that contain fiberglass may release toxic fumes, including formaldehyde and other carcinogens, when they are exposed to fire. These fumes can be inhaled and cause serious health problems, including respiratory problems, headaches, and eye irritation. It is important to follow proper care and maintenance guidelines for mattresses, such as keeping them clean and free of dust and debris, to reduce the risk of exposure to fiberglass fibers.

Natural Alternatives to Fiberglass

To reduce the risks associated with fiberglass-filled mattresses, it is recommended that individuals choose mattresses that are made from safer materials, such as certified organic cotton, certified organic latex or certified organic wool. Avocado only uses certified organic wool as a natural fire barrier. Our mattresses are GOTS organic certified products and have received the MADE SAFE® non-toxic seal. These materials are naturally fire-resistant and do not emit harmful chemicals when burned.

In conclusion, while fiberglass may offer some level of protection from fire, it can also pose a health and safety risks to individuals who come into contact with it. Individuals should consider alternative materials when choosing a mattress, and take proper care and maintenance steps to reduce the risk of exposure to fiberglass fibers.

Of course, the best way to ensure you are not exposed to fiberglass is to shop GOTS certified organic products, such as Avocado mattresses, that have earned the rigorous MADE SAFE® nontoxic seal.

Additional Resources

You can find information on the health and safety issues with fiberglass in mattresses through sources such as:

  1. Environmental and health organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  2. Government agencies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which provides information on the safety of consumer products.

  3. Medical journals and articles, such as the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, which provide information on the health effects of fiberglass exposure.

  4. Research studies, such as those conducted by universities and private organizations, which examine the health and safety risks associated with fiberglass in mattresses.

By consulting these sources, you can gather more information and understand the health and safety risks associated with fiberglass-filled mattresses.

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