There is a lot of scepticism about organic products and the value that they have. Taking out of the equation environmentally respectful practices and benefits on some manufacturers, I would like to focus on toxicity.
Cot Mattresses - Know what your baby is sleeping on.
As those of you who follow us on Facebok will have seen, yesterday I posted an article about a study conducted in the US on cot mattresses and found high toxicity levels. Here are the "highlights" (or lowlights) of their findings: Direct quotes taken from source: The Age
- Babies are exposed to chemical emissions from crib mattresses while they sleep
- foam padding and plastic covers of 20 new and old crib mattresses emitted volatile organic compounds — known as VOCs — similar to those found in lemon-scented sprays and other household items.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency says such compounds are irritants that, in some cases, may cause cancer.
- Infants are more susceptible to indoor pollutants because, proportionally, they breathe in more air per kilogram of body weight than adults.
- New crib mattresses release four times as many chemicals as older mattresses
- Choose older mattress wisely to avoid one that is unsanitary or contains now-banned fire retardants (PBDEs)
- The UT study looked strictly at volatile organic compounds, not the flame retardant chemicals polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, that have been banned in Europe and phased out in the United States. (read more on this below)
It will be interesting when they do follow up studies, which are in the works, to cover other parts of cot mattresses and how they emit and also then what harm it is having on our babies.
According to one of my favourite books - Organic Baby. Simple Steps for Healthy Living by Kimberley Rider, the other element to be aware of is flame retardants.
"...flame retardants on conventional mattresses are essential, because the typical foam used in their construction used in their construction has the same combustion rating as kerosene. The flame retardants themselves, however, contain polybromiated diphenyl (PDBE), a compound known to cause irreversible damage to children's nervous systems and brain development."
Kimberley Rider also highlights that some mattresses are made with polyurethane foam and polyester which are made of petroleum products and have been known to cause, allergies and problems with the immune and reproductive systems. "Some mattresses also include toluene diisocyanate and formaldehyde, both of which are carcinogens and irritants to the eyes and skin."
Some work in Australia and overseas has been done to stop the use of PBDEs and in some parts of world they are banned. Some PBDEs are banned in Australia but not all. To find out more :