Each night, you and your loved ones lay down on your mattresses to rest and recharge. Beyond firmness and comfort, you probably don’t give a whole lot of thought to your bedding, but you should. Unfortunately, many people are sleeping on mattresses made of fiberglass without even realizing it. This could cause them to experience all sorts of health complications and could lead to long-term negative impacts. So how can you determine if your mattress or mattress cover contains fiberglass, and how can you protect your health? Read on to learn more.
What is fiberglass, and why is it in my mattress?
Fiberglass is what is known as a composite material, meaning that it is produced from two or more materials. In the case of fiberglass, the composite contains very fine glass and reinforced plastic. Manufacturers love the material because it’s so flexible, malleable, cheap, and durable. Additionally, it’s an excellent flame retardant. It works well as a flame retardant.
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), more than 2,000 people die in home fires each year, with 11,000 injured in fires. As a result, many mattress manufacturers face pressure and fall subject to regulations for developing flame-retardant mattresses. This is especially true since flammability standards were implemented by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2007. Although hundreds of flame-retardant chemicals are available, fiberglass is popular because it’s very heat-resistant, cost-effective, and long-lasting. Fiberglass is most commonly found in foam/memory foam mattresses and in mattress covers. Look out for tags that mention “fiberglass,” “glass” fiber, or “glass wool.”
These types of mattresses are safe as long as the fiberglass remains inside and undisturbed. If the mattress becomes unzipped or damaged, however, the fiberglass can be released into the air and wreak havoc on your health. If you currently have fiberglass mattresses or mattress covers in your home, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush to throw them out and replace them. In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to recognize if your fiberglass mattress has become a problem and what you can do about it. In the future, however, as you shop for new mattresses and bedding solutions, we advise that you avoid buying from manufacturers who use fiberglass as a flame retardant. Choosing mattresses that rely on other, safer flame-retardant chemicals will ensure that you don’t have to worry about the potential hazards of fiberglass in your home.
How can fiberglass in mattresses negatively impact health?
Once fiberglass particles make their way into the air, they can cause a variety of problems. Knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of acute exposure can help you to prevent long-term health problems.
Short-term impacts of fiberglass exposure include:
- Nasal irritation
- Sore throat
- Red, itchy, watery eyes
- Lung inflammation
Long-term impacts of fiberglass exposure include:
- Hormonal disruptions
- Lung disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Difficulty breathing
- Lung cancer
Where else might fiberglass be located in my home?
Beyond mattresses, fiberglass may find its way into your home and negatively impact indoor air quality (IAQ). Many homeowners are aware that fiberglass is often a source of insulation in their attics, ceilings, and walls and that it must not be disturbed. You should also know that some furnace filters may also contain fiberglass.
How can I protect my household from the dangers of fiberglass?
Now that you’re aware of the dangers of fiberglass and the potential for its presence in your mattress, mattress covers, and other areas of the home, it’s important to take certain steps to mitigate risk and protect yourself and the members of your household.
- Inspect Mattresses: Start by taking a good, hard look at your home’s mattresses and mattress covers. First, check the labels. As mentioned previously, be on the lookout for words like “glass fibers” or “glass wool.” Be advised that mattresses made in China frequently contain fiberglass. Because other countries have different standards for mattress manufacturing, some may not mention the presence of fiberglass. When in doubt, reach out to the manufacturing company and ask direct questions about the materials used as a fire retardant. If you cannot find the answers, it’s safest to assume that the mattress or cover contains fiberglass. Any mattress or cover that is presumed tocontain fiberglass should be checked for any rips or tears and to ensure that the zippers are all the way closed.
- Inspect Surfaces: It’s also wise to check the surfaces around your fiberglass mattress. If fiberglass particles have found their way into the air, they may settle on dressers, nightstands, etc.
- Pay Attention to Symptoms: Never ignore the signs and symptoms of fiberglass exposure in yourself or a household member. Even low exposure can cause serious damage if ignored.
- Hire a Professional: It’s always in your best interest to hire a professional contractor to evaluate your home’s air quality. The team of experts at Indoor Doctor, for example, is able to collect air and surface samples to test for the presence of fiberglass. If fiberglass is detected, we can help you determine the source of the problem and take measures to restore your IAQ to optimal levels. Even if fiberglass is not detected, we can provide you with advice to ensure that fiberglass within your mattresses does not become exposed to the air and how to recognize a potential threat in the future.
Take Charge of Your Home’s Health Today
If you discover that any mattress or mattress cover in your home contains fiberglass, it’s a good idea to have your IAQ tested. Additionally, if you or any of your household members are experiencing signs of fiberglass exposure, it’s essential to have your home inspected. The experts at Indoor Doctor are able to quickly detect hazardous fiberglass in the air, narrow down the source of the problem, and resolve the issue so you can restore your home to total health. So please, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule a consultation today.