What Are Toxic Mattress Chemicals?

March 29, 2020

What Are Toxic Mattress Chemicals?

Many mass marketed mattresses are, unfortunately, filled with chemicals. They are harmful to everyone who sleeps on them, night after night. The chemicals in these mattresses can cause a wide range of health problems and they can cause problems for the planet as well.

The more you know about these harmful chemicals that are so commonly found in mattresses, the better prepared you can be when shopping for a new mattress. The chemicals below are among the worst offenders.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Further, they cause headaches and loss of coordination, and are believed to cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. With prolonged exposure, they may even cause cancer.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

At any age, exposure to PBDEs, a common material used as a flame retardant in mattresses, can be devastating. It is especially harmful to pregnant women, infants, and children. Children exposes to PBDEs are more likely to experience delays in cognitive development, increased impulsiveness, reduced attention spans, and impaired motor skills, according to the CDC.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

Inhaling CFCs from using a mattress containing them may cause a wide range of health problems, including loss of coordination, headaches, light-headedness, convulsions, tremors, and more. Acute inhalation may cause disruptions to heart rhythm that ultimately result in death.


Even with minor exposure to cyanide, humans can experience a wide range of unpleasant side effects, such as vertigo, headaches, nausea, vomiting, weak pulse, rapid pulse, etc. In cases of acute exposure, it can cause death.


Immediate results from exposure to chloroform may include central nervous system depression. Long-term problems may include damage to the liver, including hepatitis and jaundice, tumors in the liver or kidneys, and the EPA has identified chloroform as a Group B2 probable carcinogen.


The most common effects of formaldehyde include irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. It can also  trigger asthma, and has been identified as a human carcinogen by the Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Heavy Metals

Toxicity caused by excess heavy metal exposure can lead to slowed mental function, loss of energy, and declining function in lungs, kidneys, the nervous system, and other organs.


The really big nasty according to many, petrochemical exposure has been linked to major health consequences including brain damage, nerve damage, liver damage, birth defects, asthma, cancer, and hormonal disorders.

Prohibited Phthalates

Phthalates have been linked to a wide range of negative health effects. Especially for women and children. Among them are reproductive defects and infertility, increased risks of miscarriage, allergies, ADHD in children, eczema, asthma, and lower IQs. Some phthalates may even harm the thyroid, liver, and kidneys in adults while also weakening immune systems. Some are even identified as probable carcinogens by the EPA.


Prolonged exposure to antimony at relatively high concentrations can cause irritation to the eyes, lungs, and skin. The longer the exposure continues, the more the health effects worsen, potentially causing heart problems, lung diseases, stomach ulcers, vomiting, and diarrhea.

As you can see, even minimal exposure to some of these chemicals can cause immediate, and sometimes lasting harm to you and your family. Prevention, as the saying goes, is almost always the best cure. When these chemicals are so commonly used in mattresses, how do you prevent that exposure and health risk in your home?

How to Reduce Toxic Mattress Chemical Exposure Risks in Your Home

We all have to sleep, and no one is keen to sleep on the floor. So, what can you do to reduce your risks of exposure to these harmful chemicals that are so commonly found in mattresses? The most important thing you can do is choose to sleep on a non-toxic mattress. You spend approximately one-third of every day in bed. Some people spend even more than that. It’s important to make sure that time is not exposing yourself and everyone in your home to these harmful chemicals.

The best way to do that is by purchasing a mattress that doesn’t contain them, like the Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress. This mattress is made with 100 percent natural Talalay latex organic wool, and organic cotton. It contains no polyurethane, and no toxins, so you can rest easy that you’re not exposing your family to chemical toxins and possible carcinogens while you sleep.

How Do You Know a Mattress is Truly Healthier?

One of the best indicators that a mattress is a healthier choice, is to look for certifications. At Eco Terra, mattresses are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, an independent certification agency with rigorous standards, for the wool and cotton used in the mattress. They are also made with ARPICO 100 percent natural latex foam, certified by ECO-INSTITUT Standard 100 to be free of harmful substances.

Of course, materials aren’t everything. You must also pay attention to how the mattresses are manufactured. Eco Terra mattresses are made in the USA ,and come with a 15-year, non prorated warranty. When compared to most mattresses that only offer up to seven or eight years, this is a huge improvement.

You don’t have to sacrifice luxury or quality to get an amazing mattress that is free of harmful chemicals. You may have to shop around to find your perfect fit. That is, of course, if you don’t begin your search with Eco Terra.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.