Over 154 Years of Service to the Furniture Industry
 Furniture World Logo

New Government Regulation Might Poison Your Bed

Furniture World Magazine


A new regulation calls for mattresses, that already meet current federal standards of not igniting due to cigarettes burning all the way down, to meet new open flame ignition tests. To pass this arbitrary test, mattress manufacturers must put a thick chemically saturated fire-barrier totally encasing the outside of the mattress just under the top layer of ticking, that can withstand the flame of a large propane torch. One alternative is mixing Boric Acid, a chemical made from the reaction of sulfuric acid and borax, with cotton fibers. Some people may not want to sleep on and breathe these chemicals or acids for eight hours a day even if it is a very mild acid? This is dangerously close to human skin and respiration and the exposure is one third of people's lives. According to USA Today, “though the USA has the world's toughest flame retardancy standards, 3,000 people die in fires each year. The Chemical Manufacturers Association estimates the number would be up to 960 higher without the [1.2 Billion pounds of] flame-retardant chemicals we now use [annually.] “(2) Upholstered furniture, including mattresses, are related to 100 fire deaths each year. With this new mattress regulation, our government has chosen minimal fire safety benefits over potential health risk for us. Flame Retardant Chemicals have a bad history. Health risks from PCBs were first discovered in 1937, it took until 1976 to ban these FRCs after much human and environmental damage that continues to this day. After continuing to legislate more FRC use for the next 28 years to where we now use 1.2 Billion pounds annually in the US, we now find PBDEs are in dangerous levels in humans and breast milk in 2003. Then California bans PBDEs effective 2008. Chemical Industry again argues remaining FRCs are safe. In 2004 we find yet another FRC is dangerous and should be banned. Under U.S. law FRCs cannot be banned unless they are proven unsafe. Since many FRCs are used in things that do not have close and extended human contact like beds, there is no law requiring they be tested for safety before being brought to market.. FRCs have never been tested for close human contact for long durations as in beds where we would be exposed for eight hours every day for the next 25 years. The legislated standard requires a high concentration of chemicals in beds. Combining this with extremely long duration and close contact may spell trouble for people from even the mildest chemicals -- Perhaps not catastrophic, but only itchy, uncomfortable, and painful skin rashes and breathing difficulties, and a few thousand sensitive people dying from allergic reactions. Given the history of FRCs, and that our knowledge grows every year, it is very likely we will find more problems with these chemicals in the future. But then it will be too late. If FRC history repeats itself, we will have poisoned our entire population. For research links see www.Strobel.com/studies.htm Many people trust our government to protect us and are unconcerned about this risk. If you are concerned about you and your family sleeping on these chemicals, or the $20 to $200+ extra retail costs per mattress under the new law, it is not too late yet. For the next few months you may still be able to buy a new mattress without these added chemicals. This law goes into effect in California at the first of the year and the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission will likely enact the standard nationally shortly thereafter. But beware, some of the big ‘S’ mattress brands are already putting these chemicals in their beds nationally in anticipation of the new law. Regardless of your side on this issue ask if the mattresses passes the TB-603 fire standard. Even if you wait you can always buy a Waterbed, which will pass this fire standard naturally without added chemicals. Don’t laugh, today’s modern waterbeds are actually very good and comfortable beds. Many are double-wall, motionless, have added lumbar support, temperature control, pressure reduction surfaces, and more. For a story covering all types of mattresses from Airbeds to Innerspring-z see: ‘How to Buy a Mattress’ at www.Strobel.com/howtobuyamattress.htm The Author: Mark Strobel is founder and owner of Strobel Technologies, a 30-year old company that manufactures specialty mattress including Airbeds, Latex beds, Waterbeds, and Memory Foam (Visco-Elastic) beds. We sell nationwide and have permanent showrooms at the major wholesale furniture markets of San Francisco, Tupelo, and High Point (IHFC-M640 if you send reporters here). Our beds are regularly featured on CBS’s the “Price is Right Show.” Phone: 812-280-6000, fax: 812-282-6528, visit www.Strobel.com email: health@strobel.com Additional Contact: Dale Read, Specialty Sleep Association, 300 W Exchange St, Providence, RI 02903, Phone: 401-861-1130, Email: daler@rtppub.com, Dale Read is also Editor of Bedroom Magazine www.specialtybed.com/