5 Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Mattress

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Is it possible that the mattress that you spend upwards of 8 hours a night sleeping on could be leaching harmful chemicals and spreading allergens while you remain blissfully unaware? Mattresses are in a unique position — there is almost nothing else that we have regular, prolonged, skin-to-object contact with on a daily basis. The majority of people don’t give their mattresses a second thought, however, some experts believe this could be a major health risk oversight.

There is evidence to suggest that your mattress may contain potentially carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals, colonies of allergen spreading dust mites, and could release harmful gasses. These chemicals can cause ongoing issues such as persistent headaches, breathing problems, or even potentially cause cancer to develop. All this without a single word of warning from the manufacturer.


We’ve compiled a list of 5 hidden dangers that could very well be lurking in your mattress. In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you.

5. Toxic Fire-Resistant Chemicals

According to Federal law, all mattresses must be coated with fire-resistant chemicals before being sold to consumers. In theory, this is a good thing. I mean, nobody wants to wake up on fire, right? The problem is that the fire-resistant chemicals used in modern manufacturing have the potential to cause a variety of painful and dangerous health conditions. Many mattresses contain compounds such as melamine resin, made using formaldehyde, which has been demonstrated to cause symptoms such as chest pains and wheezing.

4. Memory Foam Hazards

Memory foam is the most recent trend in mattress styles. Memory foam mattresses are made up of polyurethane foam with chemicals added to modify the density and firmness of the product. The exact chemicals used in memory foam are often kept a secret by individual companies, which is entirely legal under trade secret laws. Some memory foam mattresses may be produced using chemicals like Methylbenzene, which can directly harm the nervous system and cause problems like headaches, dizziness, or even unconsciousness. This is not a chemical that you want to be exposed to at all, let alone every night.

3. Releasing Toxic Gas or “Off-Gassing”

As if it weren’t scary enough that our mattresses may contain a variety of different hazardous chemicals and compounds, these compounds have a tendency to break down over time in a phenomenon known as “off-gassing.” When the compounds break down or react with other chemicals used in production, they can release dangerous gases that slowly leak out from the mattress. Given the amount of time we spend breathing in close proximity to our mattresses, it’s not hard to imagine that we could be breathing in all sorts of nasty chemicals.


2. Allergen Spreading Dust Mites

While not as inherently toxic as some of the other hazards in this list, tiny creatures called dust mites thrive in the environment of a moist, warm, slept-in mattress. Dust mites live off of the dead skin cells that we shed and love humid environments. An average mattress has anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million dust mites, both living and dead. These little mites excrete allergens that can make symptoms worse for people who suffer from allergies or asthma. The worst part? These mites are way too small to be seen, so they could be setting up a home right next to you without you ever noticing.

1. Limited Disclosure From Manufacturers

They say that knowledge is power, and one of the biggest threats presented by your mattress is the lack of consumer knowledge about what is contained within. Manufacturers are not required by any law to label or disclose dangerous chemicals used in the mattress production process. As long as the finished product passes simple tests for the presence of a few chemicals, almost anything is allowed. This is an issue because while a mattress may not be releasing harmful chemicals at the time of the test, a few months or years later it could be a very different case.

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