When shopping for a mattress most of us are preoccupied with comfort and cost. Now, it seems, we also need to worry about whether what we choose will be "off-gassing" toxins as we sleep. Many mattresses are made using polyurethane, polyester and even pesticides. And while flame retardants and stain-resistant finishes may sound good, they usually contain other chemicals. Over time, these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can have a negative impact not only on the environment but also our health, and have been blamed for eye and skin irritations, pregnancy complications and much more serious illnesses such as cancer.
Unfortunately the alternatives, often made of wool, organic cotton and even horse hair, can be expensive and hard to find. Look for options made mostly of natural latex, a renewable substance that is also biodegradable, comfortable and mould- and dust mite-resistant. In April Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Company announced that the King Koil brand was no longer using the VOC methylene chloride and had instead adopted new technology using natural latex to make mattresses that are totally organic and emission-free.
If buying a new mattress is not an option, you could explore ordering an organic mattress topper, which is usually made of organic cotton or wool.