The average human being spends more than 6 – 8 hours every day in their bed. It’s where you go to rest after a long day of working and running chores. For most people, it’s the only place where they feel safe. However, how well do you know your mattress? Recent reports show that most beds are more dangerous than most people think and it’s all thanks to a material known as fiberglass!
These days, there are several mattress manufacturers who are using fiberglass as a flame retardant in their mattresses. This material is quite toxic and it’s a health hazard that should never find its way into your home. That’s why we decided to come up with this comprehensive guide on how you can know if your mattress contains fiberglass.
What is Fiberglass?
Most of you know fiberglass as an insulation material that’s commonly found behind walls. It’s a composite material that comprises reinforced plastic and glass. Fiberglass is sold in sheets and it was mostly used for insulation. However, due to its fire-resistant properties, it also became a popular material in the mattress industry.
Here in the US, all mattresses are legally mandated to have a flame retardant. A couple of manufacturers prefer to weave fiberglass around their mattresses because it’s cheap and enables them to pass this requirement. This is done at the expense of their customers’ health. When you make direct contact with fiberglass, it can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.
How Can You Know If Your Mattress Contains Fiberglass?
No matter how subtle some manufacturers try to be when it comes to the use of fiberglass in their mattresses, there are many ways to tell whether this material is present in your bed. Some of the methods you can use include;
Checking the Label
It’s an ethical requirement for a manufacturer to list the ingredients used in their mattresses. One of the ways you can know if your mattress contains fiberglass is by reading the label. If you spot fiberglass or glass fiber, that should immediately raise a red flag. In the label, they usually mention the percentage of fiberglass used in the mattress as well as an additional warning that advises you not to remove the cover. This warning prevents scenarios where the cover is removed and fiberglass shards escape into the air.
Inquiring from the Company
As a customer, you are allowed to inquire from the mattress company about the ingredients used. Sometimes, they may not list the mattress ingredients on the label and their website. Therefore, feel free to reach out to a particular vendor and find out if their mattresses contain fiberglass. Please note that not all mattress companies operate transparently. Some customer care representatives may hide the truth about fiberglass in mattresses.
Identifying the Origin of the Mattress
The blunt truth is that the US has different manufacturing standards compared to other countries. If you are buying a bed that has been made and assembled in the US, the chances of it containing fiberglass are low. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for mattresses imported from other places like China. If the mattress isn’t made locally, you need to be careful.
Comparing the Price
One of the reasons some mattress manufacturers use fiberglass as a flame retardant is because it’s a cheaper option. This means that most low-priced mattresses will most likely have fiberglass as the main flame retardant. This doesn’t mean that all budget mattresses have fiberglass. But if the price is too good, you better think twice.
Opting for Organic Mattresses
Another way you can know that a mattress is fiberglass-free is by shopping organic. All organic beds comprise natural flame retardants like cotton and wool. Even though they come with a higher price tag, they are a much safer option.
Shining a Torch on Your Mattress Cover
In case you suspect that your mattress contains fiberglass, you can switch off the lights and point a torch toward the cover. If you see shiny pieces of glass then your mattress doesn’t just contain fiberglass, you are also dealing with contamination. In such a scenario, you need to place the mattress in a plastic bag and get rid of it ASAP.
Waking Up with Itchy and Bruised Skin
If your mattress contains fiberglass, you will always wake up with itchy and bruised skin. As you toss and turn at night, these tiny glass particles can pierce through your skin leading to bruises. For people with sensitive skin, you may develop a rash as a result of making contact with the fiberglass.
What Does Fiberglass Look Like on a Mattress?
Fiberglass looks like a shiny and white material that is a bit translucent. Because these particles are small in size, they may sometimes resemble plastic threads or a powdery white substance that glitters when exposed to bright light. Sometimes, fiberglass particles may be invisible to the naked eye, especially if they are in small amounts.
In a mattress, the fiberglass is usually woven beneath the cover. Therefore, you can only see it when you remove the cover. Also, if your mattress cover is torn or worn out, the fiberglass particles can rise to the surface and stick to the bedding.
It’s important to know that fiberglass shards can also escape into the air. In a room that has been contaminated with fiberglass, you may spot some particles flying around. These are the pieces that can be inhaled and irritate your respiratory system.
If you are not very observant, it can be difficult to identify fiberglass particles on a mattress. This is why prevention is the best solution. As long as you are sleeping on a mattress without fiberglass like the Saatva, you don’t have to worry about contamination.
In instances where you can’t see fiberglass particles, you may feel tiny and sharp strands when you touch your mattress or bedding.
Why is There Fiberglass in Mattresses?
Mattresses comprise of more than just coils and layers of foam. They also need a fire retardant to pass the flammability test. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission enforced these standards back in 2007 and it’s a mandatory requirement.
There are many flame retardants that can be used in mattresses and fiberglass is one of them. Compare to other fire retardants, fiberglass is very affordable and it does a great job at preventing the spread of fire. Fiberglass fire socks are used to protect highly flammable mattresses, like memory foam from catching and spreading fire.
Mattress manufacturers add fiberglass to pass these requirements. The other reason why they love this material is because it’s a cost-effective option. As you may already know, most mattress brands are in this industry to make profits. They will, therefore, do anything to keep their production costs low.
Where is the Fiberglass in a Mattress?
To emphasize what we were discussing earlier, you will most likely see fiberglass beneath the mattress cover. That’s where it’s positioned during manufacture. However, fiberglass particles can also leak into the outer cover. In fiberglass contaminations, these particles can spread all over the mattress and to your pillows or nearby furniture or clothes.
Are There Reports about Fiberglass Being Used in Mattresses?
The fiberglass mattress pandemic is real and many homeowners have endured severe trauma from it. There have been many reports in the past few years about fiberglass contaminations being caused by mattresses. A good example is the recent video of Cody Jacob who went on viral on TikTok after he narrated his experience with Fiberglass.
It’s not just Cody, but many families have been victims of fiberglass contaminations because of sleeping on such mattresses. A couple of lawsuits have been filed against popular mattress brands like Zinus. This should be a wake-up call and more people need to learn how to tell if their mattresses contain fiberglass.
Why Do Manufacturers Use Fiberglass in Mattresses?
There are two main reasons why manufacturers use fiberglass in their beds; It’s an effective flame retardant and it’s cheap.
Mattresses are usually made of highly flammable materials like memory foam. To promote the safety of sleepers, a law was passed in 2007 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission requiring that all beds have some sort of flame retardant. initially, manufacturers used chemical flame retardants but they were banned because of off-gassing toxic fumes. That’s when fiberglass was discovered.
It is an amazing flame retardant. When woven over a mattress, fiberglass prevents the spread of flames thus keeping you and your property safe. The other benefit of fiberglass is that it’s cheap. When compared to natural flame retardants like wool, fiberglass is quite affordable. As a result, manufacturers prefer to use it because it doesn’t affect the retail price of the mattress.
Is There Fiberglass in All Mattresses?
Not really. There are plenty of fiberglass-free mattresses out there. All you have to do is look hard enough. As time goes by, people are beginning to realize the dangers of sleeping on a mattress that contains fiberglass. This has led to a huge demand for fiberglass-free beds.
Fiberglass-free mattresses contain alternative flame retardants like wool and cotton. These alternatives do not pose similar health risks like fiberglass and you don’t have to worry about contaminations or irritations.
Is Fiberglass in Mattress Dangerous?
By now, it should be very easy for you to know if a mattress contains fiberglass. But are you aware of the dangers this material poses when it’s used in a mattress? Here are some of the health risks associated with sleeping on a fiberglass mattress;
- Irritation of the Eyes and Respiratory System – In case of fiberglass contamination, these particles can get into your eyes, nose, or mouth. When that happens, you can experience severe irritation which can turn your eyes watery and induce sneezing or coughing.
- Irritation of the Skin – Direct skin contact with fiberglass particles can cause bruising, blistering, and itching.
- It Can Aggravate Other Health Complications – If you have asthma or bronchitis, breathing in fiberglass can worsen your symptoms.
Will You Be Safe If You Don’t Remove the Cover of a Fiberglass Mattress?
That depends on a couple of factors. In a new fiberglass mattress, this flame retardant is often hidden beneath the cover. When you remove the cover, that’s how fiberglass escapes into the air. At the same time, with the cover still intact, there is still a risk of fiberglass contamination.
Mattress covers wear out with time. As that happens, some fiberglass particles can escape through openings on the cover. This can result in slow contamination of your bedroom and eventually your entire home.
Is It Okay for a Mattress to Have Fiberglass?
It’s wrong for a mattress to have fiberglass. This material isn’t like memory foam or the innerspring coils you commonly see in mattresses. Fiberglass can put you and your family’s health at risk. it can also make you lose thousands of dollars, worth of property.
The most annoying thing about fiberglass mattresses is that the manufacturers are aware of how dangerous this material is. In the past, several companies have been sued. Other mattress brands have even gone to the extent of lying to their customers that their beds are fiberglass free. Sleepers need to be alert when shopping for mattresses. Otherwise, you may end up bringing this deadly material to your home.
The Bottom Line
There is a lot of misleading information online about fiberglass. That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the facts. Before buying any mattress, use the guide above to identify whether it contains fiberglass. Knowing this information will grant you peace of mind because you will be guaranteed of safety every time you lie on your bed.