Archive for April, 2014

Coping With This Year’s Allergy Season – The Worst In Years

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

pollen-grains-colorYou may have noticed that different species bloom at different times in the spring.  For months, we get to enjoy Mother Nature’s timetable. First we see little spring flowers poking their heads through the snow, then buds appear on the trees and not too much later, the grasses start budding and sporting their full color. By summer, they’re lush.  But for allergy sufferers, this schedule has special significance – the blooming season of each species is potentially something they dread. And this year is going to be worse than most.

Why? As with other tricks up Mother Nature’s sleeve, the bloom timetable is a result of a complexity of factors  -  just one of which is the weather.  And as anyone north of tropical or semi-tropical climes will attest, the recent winter was long and severe. Even now, near the beginning of May, there is still snow on the ground in some locations  – and the timetable is a mess.

Since it wasn’t warm enough for trees to get a head start on the grasses, they’re all going to be blooming at once. For allergy sufferers, that means a double or triple dose of the pollen they dread!

How Can You Meet the Challenge of All That Pollen?

Of course, you will have to follow your normal allergy routine, but pollen is only one source of onslaught to the immune system. If you can relieve the burden of other sources, you have a much better chance of fighting off the pollen.

How do you do that exactly?

Everything that is toxic to your body – whether ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin – sets your immune system into action. When the body has to deal with too many things, you wind up with symptoms of overload. In the case of pollen, those symptoms are usually a runny nose, difficulty breathing, swollen and itchy eyes, sometimes a rash, and so on.

The simple solution is to eliminate as many as possible of the other things putting demands on your immune system.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stop eating food containing preservatives and other chemicals. Instead, choose fresh, organic produce, meat and poultry without hormones and antibiotics, and stay low on the sugar and other junk food. Not only will this relieve the chemical burden, it will actually boost the immune system.
  •  Switch out your furniture. Okay, that’s not so easy to do. Not all of us can afford to replace all their couches, chairs, tables, and so on with products that are made with organic materials or, at the very least, don’t contain chemicals that may be off-gassing toxic fumes into the air you’re breathing. But you can, and should, make some changes if at all possible. One good change to make is your beds – after all, you spend about eight hours a day in bed, with your nose very close to the mattress, not to mention breathing the bedroom air. This is especially important for kids, who don’t have the resources adults have to fight off allergies because their immune system is still developing.

At Naturepedic, we make organic crib mattresses and twin mattresses that are perfect for your kids. Not only are they free of toxic chemicals, some even have built-in dust mite barriers – dust mites can also cause reactions. Plus, our infant and kids’ mattresses don’t contain latex or wool, both of which can be a source of allergy or sensitivity.

I hope this helps you and your children to really enjoy the season and have a lovely spring!

Are You Getting the Whole Truth About Your Personal Body Care Products?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

 

Toxic chemicals in mom’s body pass through to the baby

warning dangerous chemicalsCreating a healthy environment for our kids doesn’t start with the food we feed them, the personal products we use to keep them clean, the air they breathe or the materials we use to clothe them.  It starts with their very first home – mom.

So many things in mom’s body pass through to the baby during development in the womb, it’s extremely important for mom to make the right decisions about her own food, her personal care products, the air she breathes and the materials she uses for clothes.

For the uninitiated, it might seem difficult to figure all that out. Especially with the rampant ‘green-washing’ – labels that make a product look safe for us and for the environment when, in fact, it’s not.

Let’s take personal body care products – soaps, lotions, shampoos, body lotions, cosmetics, and so on – as an example.

Are Body Care Products with Natural Ingredients Safe?

You’ve probably seen many personal body care product with special labels – not just the ingredients list, but a little special announcement on the front of the container. They say the product is made with or contains aloe vera, coconut oil, honey, natural botanical extracts, shea butter, lavender, milk, essential oils, Vitamin E, or any number of ingredients that seem, and may well be, natural, or even organic.

A perfect example of green-washing. And very effective on those who are not aware of green-washing techniques.

When I first saw these products on the shelf I was still uneducated in this arena. I bought them and used them, pretty proud of myself for taking the high road with my health.

Then I looked into things a little more and, what do you know, it turned out that the aloe vera, shea butter or botanical extracts only represented a tiny fraction of the ingredients. Many of the remaining ingredients were either proven to be toxic or were linked to diseases of various sorts – even though the cause and effect had not been fully established.

That ‘fully established’ thing can be really tricky. Sure, they haven’t proven it’s going to kill you, but when there’s a lot of evidence pointing in that direction, why take the chance?!

Don’t be Fooled by Green-washing – Read and Understand the Ingredients

Okay – reading the ingredients is one thing, pronouncing them another, and understanding their significance yet another. Fortunately, we don’t all have to quit our jobs and spend all of our time researching chemicals – plenty of others are already doing that, that’s their job.

One of the best sources of such information – which chemicals are safe in personal care products and which are not – is the Environmental Working Group.

Here’s a list from them – chemicals you should avoid in personal care products and cosmetics – which I edited for the sake of brevity. More info on these chemicals is available on a special page of EWG’s website, under “Shopping tips by ingredients”:

BHA: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (agent that causes cancer). Can cause skin depigmentation, liver damage, stomach cancers, reproductive and hormonal system malfunction.

Boric acid and Sodium borate: Disrupts hormones, harms the male reproductive system, causes testicular damage to mice, rats, and dogs in studies.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine): A known human carcinogen.

Formaldehyde: A known human carcinogen, causes asthma, neurotoxin, developmental toxin.

Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15: They kill bacteria, but they also generate formaldehyde. Enough said.

Fragrance: Can contain hormone disruptors. Fragrances are also among the top 5 allergens in the world. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label.

Hydroquinone: Tumor development and a skin disease called ochronosis –blue-black lesions that, in the worst cases, become permanent black caviar-size bumps.

Lead: This neurotoxin relates mostly to men as it is found in Grecian Formula 16 and other men’s black hair dyes for men. But the lead from the dyes travels from hair to doorknobs, cabinets and other household items which when touched, may be absorbed through the skin of women and children.

Methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone: Preservatives. Among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact allergy. Lab studies on mammalian brain cells suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.

Nanoparticles: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles appear to be among the safer and more effective active ingredients in U.S.-marketed sunscreen creams because they do not penetrate the skin. But avoid sprays and powders containing these nanoparticles, which could penetrate your lungs and enter your bloodstream.

Oxybenzone: Linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies. Can cause decreased birth weight among newborn baby girls and greater birth weight in newborn boys. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system.

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens): Mimic estrogen, disrupting the endocrine system and causing reproductive and developmental disorders.

PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: Frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen.

Petroleum distillates: May cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities.

Phthalates: Studies indicate damage to the male reproductive system.

Resorcinol: Skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and frequent cause of hair dye allergy. Can disrupt normal thyroid function.

Toluene: Generally found in nail polish, exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may impair fetal development. Associated with toxicity to the immune system, and possibly linked to malignant lymphoma.

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones.

Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinol): When applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase skin sensitivity. Sunlight breaks down vitamin A to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions and tumors in lab animals.

Many of these chemicals stay in the body for a very long time. So, if you’re pregnant, or could become so, make sure you don’t fall for those green-washing labels. Instead, always check the ingredients in your personal care products and choose products that you know are safe for yourself and your baby.

In fact, everyone should do this. Why take a chance with potential poisons being absorbed into your body?

Want to Do Something About It? Get Into Grass Roots Chemical Reform

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

mind the store

Let’s face it, not too many corporations are socially conscious enough to make changes in the products they manufacture or sell just because they contain chemicals suspected of causing health problems. Changes can be expensive, so they’re not likely to happen, unless the government steps in with new laws and regulations that even the playing field for everyone. But even without that official pressure, big corporations can be moved in the right direction.

How?

There is one person who can exert enough pressure on a company to force them to do something – and that person is you.

On April 16, 2014, for example, the public – you – descended on 50 different Walgreens stores and returned products that contained toxic chemicals. They also delivered postcards to the managers. The move to get Walgreens to do more to get rid of these products has been ongoing for some time. In the last year, consumers and health professionals have sent Walgreens 60,000 letters on the subject. But today’s blitz was motivated by a recent study.

The study, for which 44 products were purchased from Walgreens and then analyzed for toxic chemicals, was conducted over the last few months.

What did the study find?

According to HealthyStuff.org, which conducted the study, the products contained chlorine, PVC, phthalates, antimony-based and brominated flame retardants, organotins (chemicals identified by Methyl and Butyl in their names – you’ve seen them on the shelves, and even lead. And all were present in amounts that set off alarms.

This study, and the recent events at Walgreens, are part of a Safer Chemicals Healthy Families project called Mind the Store – a project that is working towards getting the 10 largest retailers to change their ways when it comes to serving up potentially dangerous chemicals.

The specific chemicals Mind the Store focuses on are the Hazardous 100+, which have been linked to everything from cancer to endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive abnormalities. Here’s a full list of the chemicals and the references regarding their toxicity.

A lot of progress has been made, but since Walgreens was lagging a bit behind, Mind the Store decided to step up the pressure with today’s actions.

Not that Walgreens has been stagnant by any means. The company even developed their own ‘green’ brand, called Ology.

Across the board, most of the progress made on getting rid of toxic chemicals in consumer goods has been the result of consumer demand.

At Naturepedic, we involve ourselves in many such projects. In just the last few weeks, Barry Cik, our founder, spoke at the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference and our David Anthony (you may have seen him at one of our events) lobbied the White House (see his blog Meet Me at the White House). We also joined Companies for Safer Chemicals. That’s just a few of the projects we’re involved in.

You CAN affect the changes you’re looking for. You CAN affect the laws, and you CAN motivate retailers.

All you have to do is find and support a grassroots activity – to whatever extent works for you. Every bit counts.

A hidden guest bed with your Symphony organic mattress? Could be!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Call this a Symphony in Comfort

Call this a Symphony in Comfort

Psst. I’ve got some inside information for you. Naturepedic’s newly redesigned and sublimely comfortable Symphony organic pillowtop mattress offers a hidden “guest bed.”  We don’t market this as a feature, so this will be our little secret.

If you have a Symphony, I doubt you’ll be offering it to guests, not even to a favorite sister. With a base of two layers of support coils, each coil individually wrapped in certified organic cotton fabric and hand assembled, how can you be expected to go without that glorious support and isolation of movement? I’m not judging. I didn’t even mention the 1 inch of certified organic natural latex foam built into the base. Listen. I understand. The Symphony takes comfort to a remarkable level.

This base alone is already incredibly comfortable as a cushion firm mattress.

Of course on top of this base you have a two-sided pillowtop made with 3 inches of organic latex. One side of the pillowtop is deeply quilted for an uber-plush, luxurious feel. Flip the pillowtop over and you find a lower-fill quilt design that creates a firmer sensation while still delivering a plush level of support. Three sleep sensations, depending on your preference, or even mood.

So here is the secret.  If you’re in a pinch and need one more additional sleep surface, you can pull that lush pillowtop onto the floor for a comfy, cushy pad. You still get an incredible sleep sensation, and your guest(s) gets a cloud-like sleep surface better than any cot or couch could ever offer.

An "inside" peek at the Symphony

An “inside” peek at the Symphony

You’ll sleep satisfied. Instead of giving the shirt off your back, you’ll have given the top off your mattress, and that’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it?

Yes. It really is.

 

Earth Day Musings from Naturepedic

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

We’re about organic mattresses at Naturepedic so we love Earth Day as much as National Sleep Day (Jan. 3), World Sleep Day (March 14) and even National Sleep Week in March! A combination of better earth choices and sleep is our thing.

sprouts

Wake up the kid in you — it’s Earth Day!

Speaking for myself, I love the centering aspect of Earth Day; it reminds me to reexamine how my choices and actions affect the planet.

Instead of focusing on the gloom and doom of pollution and environmental degradation, I use Earth Day to recharge my energy toward positive action where I can make a difference.

Additionally, I use Earth Day to remember how cool our Earth is. If you’ve temporarily forgotten, go look at a spider web up close or at the sprouting plants all around to recapture some of that childlike wonder about planet Earth.

Competition for Planet Earth

green-city-feature

(c) City of Vancouver website

Five years ago, Vancouver (in Canada, not the state of Washington) kicked off its Greenest City Action Plan, a goal to become the greenest city in North America. They might be on to something.

Consider: a city collectively working for the bragging rights of being the greenest city. Instead of pouring money and energy into defeating and circumventing earth-friendly action, could cities, governments and companies use a spirit of competition to drive toward a healthier environment?

Top Cities for Earth Day Celebrations

According to a ranking by website SaveOnEnergy.com, Austin, Texas takes the top spot for Earth Day Celebrations in 2014 with their Austin Earth Day Festival. If you’re heading out to Austin, check out Naturepedic mattresses at The Clean Bedroom or Austin Natural Mattresses.

Earth Day Selfie

NASA is promoting aGlobalSelfie_shareable_FINAL Where Are You on Earth Right Now? #GlobalSelfie campaign. People tweet pics of where they are on the planet on Earth Day, April 22 using the hashtags #GlobalSelfie, #NASA #EarthDay. The campaign is part of their Earth Right Now campaign. Visit the NASA website to learn about the campaign and download Global Selfie signs.

 Happy, Healthy Earth Day from Your Friends at Naturepedic!

 

And remember: Sleep on a Naturepedic Organic Mattress and you’ll get to celebrate Earth Night, too!

 

Making Decisions Monday: The Honest Company

Monday, April 21st, 2014

“Making Decisions Monday” is a blogging series by Naturepedic marketing director and mom of one, Heidi Baumgart, and her path to making better purchasing decisions for her family.

Anchors

Meet Momo.

When I first became a parent, there was a lot to research in general about baby “stuff.” Of course the one thing that all my parent-friends joked about needing the most was diapers. Which to choose? Ads, coupons, product packaging overwhelm you when you stand at the wall-o-boxes at any retail establishment. Marketing message inundate you: best wetness protection, best fit, cute designs… What diapers were really best!? Yes, you’re on the Naturepedic blog, so yes, I considered cloth. My husband just didn’t love the thought of it. My mom had visions of 1980′s “rubber pants” that were bulky and a mess. So with two votes against one, we went with disposable.

buybuybaby

Let’s try a few designs too…

I believe in “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” so I’m won’t mention the diaper brands I have tried. Bulky, smelly, instant diaper rash with one brand! etc. And what is in them? Moving on.

When I first started working for Naturepedic, I heard about The Honest Company. Sounded good. Looked great! So off I went to our brand new local buybuybaby to purchase some in person.

Our nursery is nautical themed, so of course I grabbed the adorable anchor pattern.

Before I continue, full disclosure of course: The Honest Company didn’t ask me to write this, they aren’t paying me to write this, and I actually forgot my buybuybaby coupons so I paid full price for the diapers. 

I’m obsessed with the diapers. Seriously. And for a few reasons.

Momo checks out her new diapers.

Momo likes ‘em.

First of all: I know I made a better decision. The Honest Company diapers are made with PLA which is a potato starch plant based fiber. I know the benefits of PLA! We use the fabric made of corn and potatoes in some of our organic mattresses!

Secondly: They are free of: chlorine processing, latex, lotions, fragrances, common allergens, phthalates, optical brighteners, PVC, heavy metals, organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT) & harsh petrochemical additives. Well I love that. I know that using latex – even organic latex is a no-no for baby products because babies can be highly allergic to it! And, just like our crib mattresses, there’s no need for PVC or petrochemicals.

Third: Okay, plain old mom love here. They fit amazing. They are designed wonderfully and have you SEEN the cute designs? I love coordinating baby outfits anyways and now cute flowers or fruit or animals show instead of some over-marketed cartoon character.

So a necessary commodity becomes a smile a half a dozen times as day. Try ‘em. You like em, too. Our friend Beau of #theoandbeau wears The Honest Company diapers, too, and has a coupon code for you.

The Honest Company Shampoo/Body Wash

When you are out right now, Honest is in stores too!

P.S. If you’re an in-person shopper too, I found our other The Honest Company favorite: body wash/shampoo at Costco in a two pack. :)

Opinions DO matter!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

When it comes to buying new and more expensive products, the internet has been a saving grace for me.  I scour various sites and blogs for any reviews I can find so that I can make the most informed decision possible based on my needs and the experiences of my peers with similar products.  Getting actual user feedback on various models and brands, I feel more confident when I finally lay down my hard earned money.

Don’t just take our word for it!  Naturepedic has been working with bloggers for several years and we thought you would love an easy place to see our reviews.  We live in such a fast paced world that anything we can do to save you time in researching our products would be of value to you.

StumbleUpon.com is the perfect venue to provide this service to you.  Each week, we add new product reviews and blogger giveaways to our StumbleUpon Likes page.  We are also adding in all of our past reviews so you can have as many reviews to look through as possible for the products you are interested in.  There will be other interesting articles and press releases about our company that you might enjoy as well.
StumbleUponWhat a great way to collect all of your favorite information and sites in one spot for reading at a later time or to share with your friends and family.  If you like what you read, give a thumbs up and add the link to your own StumbleUpon page.  Be sure to Follow us so you can see when new reviews and giveaways come in. Start Stumbling?

Meet Me at the White House

Friday, April 11th, 2014

(c) wikipedia

Many years ago, I had the chance to meet the President of the United States. The honor and reverence that the Presidency deserves also applies to other distinctly American offices, buildings, and processes. So, when I had the chance to lobby at The White House before The White House Environmental Council, my patriotism swelled and I took the assignment more serious than any other effort. Speaking of serious, I was fortunate to be discussing one of the most serious and important issues facing our nation and our citizens . . . potential reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1976. Just to put that into perspective, in 1976 gas was $.59 a gallon, Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford for the Presidency, Nadia Comaneci was winning gold in the Olympics, and some upstart named Sylvester Stallone was in a new movie called “Rocky.”

TSCA was supposed to regulate the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. Many have viewed it as a tremendous failure mostly due to the fact that it grandfathered most existing chemicals at the time – while also giving chemical manufacturers a long period of time to introduce new, untested chemicals before the new law took effect.

Bottom line, it is absurd and scary the lack of impact this legislation has had in protecting our fellow Americans. Seriously… is this a joke… our government leaders haven’t addressed the use of dangerous chemicals in our lives and consumer products in nearly 40 years?

Last year, the bipartisan team of Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced legislation to start the TSCA review process. Tragically, Lautenberg died a short time later but there is still activity in Congress to get something done in 2014 with either modified or new TSCA related bills.

Although these efforts are good news, the devil is in the details and concerned citizens should push for TSCA reform that protects consumers. The chemical industry also claims to be supportive of TSCA reform but that should be greeted with a raised eyebrow. The bad bills that are currently introduced could actually do more harm than good. A bad bill supported by the chemical industry could give them tremendous protections, remove concerns about current state requirements, all the while giving them the chance to feign being a good corporate citizen.

newlogoOur company, Naturepedic, is a great story: we make organic crib and adult mattresses. We were founded 10 years ago when our owner, an environmental scientist with a prolific chemical background, went into a baby store to buy a crib mattress for his grandchild. Thanks to his technical science background, he knew it was ludicrous to put a baby on a mattress made with plasticizers, flame retardants and other questionable chemicals.

In a life changing moment, upon his questioning, the clerk stated, “Well, it must be safe or else the government wouldn’t allow us to sell it.” The truth is, there are around 80,000 chemicals in use today with only a miniscule fraction that have truly been tested for their potentially dangerous impacts. Most average citizens have no idea what chemicals they are exposing themselves to and the government has failed them.

The good news is there are some great companies leading the fight. As stated, Naturepedic doesn’t want you or your baby sleeping on a pile of chemicals.

The American Sustainable Business Council is leading the fight to remove harmful chemicals from consumer products. Naturepedic and Lullaby Earth support this initiative. Other responsible companies like, for example, Seventh Generation and Ben and Jerry’s, have also joined with the ASBC to remove harmful chemicals from consumer products.

There are “better” chemicals . . . and there are better ways of doing things without some chemicals . . . and if done correctly, TSCA reform could be one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed. Congress still teeters around 18% approval ratings. Here is a bipartisan effort that both sides could agree on that would mean everything to the safety of our people . . . whether they knew it or not. Editorial boards across the country need to become engaged and use their influence to let Congress know this is one issue they better get right.

Naturepedic’s EOS Customizable Organic Sleep System: Fitting Your Lifestyle AND Up the Stairs

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Naturepedic’s latest certified organic sleep concept the EOS offers many benefits, including customization and ease of ordering.

Eos even goes up castle stairs! (CC Photo, Harlech Danger, used courtesy of Dave Younce on Flickr)

Eos even goes up castle stairs!
(CC Photo, Harlech Danger, used courtesy of Dave Younce on Flickr)

One benefit that might get overlooked, however, is getting your mattress into your room. In some homes that can be a major challenge!

If you live in a five-story walk-up with no elevator, a century home with narrow door frames, or any furniture-moving nightmare of a building but still want to sleep on a  luxurious organic mattress, than EOS has just become your solution.

EOS is designed for convenience.  You can order your EOS online even if no physical store is nearby and mattress components ship to your door by ground.

Now back to that narrow staircase. When your EOS arrives, each layer is boxed separately, meaning manageable weight for even one person.  The support (bottom) layer of any queen sized or larger EOS comes in two side by side sections instead of a single larger component.

It gets easier.

Coiled components are cleverly rolled and packaged so you have a manageable sized box. And don’t worry – when you set up your EOS, coils gently unroll rather than snapping out like a joke snakes in a peanut can. All of this puts you in control.

Should you order a support layer of organic latex, the latex is not only split side by side, but each eight inches of lush organic latex will also be split into two four inch layers for a total of four easy-to-move components.

For the top comfort layer, you select either comfort coils or organic latex and in your desired firmness. A queen size or larger comfort layer can be a single component, but you have the option of ordering it as two side by side components. By ordering the comfort layer in two sections, moving it is not only easier, but you can also order a different firmness for each side of the bed, such as a firm comfort coil for him and a plush comfort coil for her.

Eos - luxurious organics that scoff at narrow hallways!

Eos – luxurious organics that scoff at narrow hallways!

By designing the EOS with your lifestyle in mind, Naturepedic gives you the healthy, organic sleep you want, even if that sleep happens in a stylish bedroom atop a spiral staircase.

 

Flame Retardant Soup

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Do you like soup?

I do. You can put all kinds of vegetable and spices into soup.

When I make soup my kids ask, “What’s in it?” to find out if I’ve added a veggie they’ve identified as one they don’t want.  My youngest has dug in his heels against broccoli and the older one against mushrooms.

They ask because they can’t tell if the offending food is in there.  Do I always tell? No. I sometimes sneak those veggies past them.

Synthetic mattress fabrics can be a toxic soup

Synthetic fabrics can sometimes be a toxic soup

Not too many parents will fault me for my sneakiness. If, however, I was intentionally sneaking really, really unhealthy, even dangerous, ingredients in that soup, opinions would be different.

Synthetic fibers are in one way a lot like soup. A manufacturer can put all types of different ingredients in there and the consumer is probably not going to know.

Take polyester. There are different formulations for polyester just like there are different ways to make vegetable soup. When polyester is being mixed, the manufacturer can add chemicals to change the texture or chemicals to change the sheen.

They can even add flame retardant chemicals implicated as potential causes of cancer / other health problems or learning disabilities.  Flame retardants like chlorinated tris, banned from children’s pajamas in the 1970s due to concerns about genetic mutations but still in many products today.

Even if an added chemical would be restricted (out of more than 80,000 chemicals, the EPA has only restricted six in the past 35 years, and of those a ban on asbestos was overturned!), manufacturers can tweak the formula to form a new, although not necessarily safer, chemical, and again, in it can go. The vast majority of chemicals used in fabrics are untested regarding health.

I’m not picking on polyester. Any synthetic fabric mixed in batches can have undesirable chemicals in the mix.  These chemicals for the most part do not need to be disclosed to a consumer and are virtually unregulated. In fact, if a flame retardant chemical was added to a synthetic fiber as it was being manufactured, a furniture or mattress maker using that fabric can claim NO FLAME RETARDANTS ADDED.  I’m not kidding.

While California is pushing forward with stronger chemical regulations, even if select chemicals do get banned, it will be years before they realistically are out of products, and, as mentioned earlier, other types of similar chemicals not banned could then be legally used.

The bottom line is how much do you want to risk? Because chemicals in fabrics are undisclosed, a consumer has little choice to pick and choose what chemicals are okay and what are not.

At least in mattresses there is a way of avoiding them altogether. A natural fabric like cotton is not a synthetic mix but grown, so it cannot have chemicals added during a manufacturing process. By selecting certified organic mattresses like we sell you can avoid unwanted chemicals being topically added to a fabric. (Unfortunately, non-certified organic products can still sometimes have those chemicals added.)

When Naturepedic formed eleven years ago, we began making organic mattresses not simply to be organic, but because organic was one of the best, most effective vehicles to get to healthier products. By using certified organic materials, we were able let the consumer know what is in their product, without guesswork or games.

Unless you can truly know the chemicals used in synthetic fabrics, the most effective way to avoid them is to select certified organic products.

Otherwise, you just don’t know what chemicals are being added to the “soup.”