Word je ziek van synthetische matrassen en hoofdkussens?

Do synthetic mattresses and pillows make you sick?

Do you or your child sleep on a synthetic mattress or pillow? Then please read on! You may be breathing in harmful substances every night without even knowing it. While you should be recovering during the dark hours, you are burdened with countless toxic chemicals that slowly build up in your body. Hello body burden .

Composition of synthetic mattresses and pillows

Many synthetic mattresses and pillows are made of polyester or polyurethane. This is again made from petroleum or petroleum. Think of the extremely popular memory foam. This foam molds completely to your body and returns to its original shape when it is no longer under pressure. Memory foam is very comfortable and provides good support, making it a favorite for many people. A waterproof plastic layer is sometimes placed around the foam, for example for children's mattresses. Various types of chemical glue can also be used to attach the different layers and materials together. And then they can be treated with superpowers such as stain-resistant coatings, flame retardants, antimicrobials and anti-allergenic treatments.

VOCs in synthetic mattresses and pillows

As comfortable and practical as these synthetic mattresses and pillows may be, they can contain all kinds of harmful chemicals that you inhale or absorb through the skin. The most dangerous are probably VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs are chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature and end up in the air. And therefore directly into your lungs. If you just bought a new mattress and smell a pungent odor, that's probably the peak VOC emissions that occur at the beginning. It is therefore always recommended to air new items outside, so that the concentrations of VOCs decrease. Properly ventilating your bedroom also helps. But if you think that your mattress is completely safe after a week of airing, you will be disappointed. The off-gassing can take years and years. It is also unlikely that a thin, porous fitted sheet will block many VOCs.

Research into synthetic mattresses

This is clearly demonstrated, among other things, in a study by the University of Texas into synthetic baby mattresses. For this study, the exhaled VOCs were measured from both new and used polyurethane and polyester baby mattresses. All these mattresses released harmful, carcinogenic VOCs. As expected, the concentration of VOCs in new mattresses was much higher. Some culprits: phenol, 2-ethylhexanoic acid, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene and naphthalene. It was discovered that the concentration of these VOCs was much higher about an inch above the mattress than in the middle of the room. So in your breathing space. Body heat further increased the amount of emissions (higher temperatures promote evaporation). Bottom line of this study: anyone who sleeps on synthetic materials inhales a large portion of harmful VOCs every night. And this also applies to used/older items, albeit to a lesser extent. It is often claimed that a mattress no longer emits harmful chemicals after a week, but that claim does not hold true. Don't be misled by false information.

Flame retardants in synthetic mattresses and pillows

Another big problem with synthetic mattresses and pillows: flame retardants. Most synthetic items are treated with some type of flame retardant to prevent them from catching fire too quickly. For example, polurethane foam is extremely fire-sensitive and is therefore treated with fire-retardant substances. However, the use of these (hardly degradable) flame retardants is subject to discussion due to all kinds of health and environmental problems. For example, they are said to disrupt hormones and cause cancer, cause developmental and reproductive damage and affect the liver and kidneys. Scary, don't you think? Moreover, it can take years before such a flame retardant no longer emits fumes. And the worst part: these flame retardants appear not to work well IRL. So we are being poisoned right where we are, while we are not properly protected at all. Then what's the point? The interesting book Toxic Bedrooms: Your Guide to a Safe Night's Sleep by Walter Bader discusses this in detail.

Short- and long-term consequences of toxic mattresses and pillows

If you sleep on a 'toxic bed', you may experience certain complaints. Think of headaches, nausea, dizziness, allergic reactions and breathing problems. These complaints usually worsen while sleeping and decrease again when you leave the bedroom. If you only experience certain symptoms in the bedroom, this could be related to your bed. Again, if there are toxic VOCs in your mattress or pillow, they will be released at higher levels when it gets nice and warm. So the warmer and cozier you are, the more harmful fumes you inhale. In the long term this can cause serious problems. For example, many VOCs are known to be carcinogenic, meaning they increase the risk of cancer. In addition, they are associated with fertility problems, neurological problems and problems with the kidneys and liver. A laundry list of misery.

Pillow and mattress without harmful substances

If you know that most people sleep about 8 hours a day, a third of their lives (!), then you understand the need for a pillow and mattress without toxic substances. Babies sometimes sleep 14 to 18 hours a day. Then you obviously don't want a bed that emits high concentrations of toxic fumes non-stop. Certainly not when it comes to small children, because their bodies are still developing and are more likely to experience the effects of harmful substances. Enough reason to invest in a non-toxic mattress and pillow without toxic chemicals and flame retardants. Safer choices include natural latex, organic cotton, organic wool or responsible down (which of course does not involve animal suffering). Such a mattress or pillow exudes far fewer harmful substances and is also very comfortable. Admittedly, it does indeed cost (a lot) more. Ask yourself: what is my health worth to me?

Less toxic alternative to memory foam

Do you sleep on memory foam or other synthetic foam and are you looking for a healthier, but just as comfortable and shape-retaining alternative that provides good support? Then 100% natural latex is probably the best solution for you. Natural latex comes from the Brazilian rubber tree ( Hevea Brasiliensis ). This tree contains a white, milky liquid, a mixture of rubber particles and proteins in water. Natural latex is made from this liquid. Natural latex is inherently antibacterial and hypoallergenic, so it is also very suitable for people with dust mite allergies. However, mattresses and pillows made from 100% natural latex are rare, because natural latex is quite expensive and synthetic latex (made from petroleum, yak) is therefore often added. So don't be blinded by the nice advertising talk of companies ( natural latex is not a protected term, so a product with a little natural latex can already use this term ), but double check that pure natural latex has been used and not a questionable mix.

Additives in natural latex

It is also good to know that 'pure' (100%) natural latex can also contain added chemicals. After all, a lot has to be done to turn the sap of the rubber tree into a solid material. For example, during production a little ammonia, soap, sulphur, salt and zinc are often used (these are largely washed out again) . During the vulcanization (heating) of natural rubber, nitrosamines (carcinogenic substances) can also be formed. Therefore, always inquire carefully before making a purchase, so that you can be sure that your item does not contain harmful additives. Sometimes it is natural latex products also certified to strict standards, such as Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) , QUL or ECO Institute. Pay close attention to these quality marks and, if necessary, request test reports from the manufacturer.

Natural latex mattresses and pillows from Yumeko

We are happy with the natural latex mattresses and pillows from the Dutch company Yumeko. They are made from 100% Hevea Foam® and according to strict standards (GUL and Oeko-Tex ) tested. The presence of many chemicals is examined in a laboratory , so that it can be seen exactly which substances are present in the end product and to what extent . This also excludes the possibility that high concentrations of nitrosamines are present or formed, which are harmful to our health. Yumeko further indicates that the plantations [rubber trees] operate cleanly and do not use fertilizers, pesticides or insecticides.

Sleep cleaner on a budget

Do you want to detox your bedroom, but do you have a modest budget or do you simply not want to spend a lot of money? Then we recommend that you give priority to your pillow. After all, that is where your head lies and is directly in your 'breathing space'. If natural latex is too pricey, you can look at cheaper options such as a kapok pillow . And then you prefer to put an organic cotton pillow protector and pillowcase over it. This way it will last a lot longer. As for your mattress: those are quite large purchases, we know . If you don't have the money for that now, you can also consider purchasing a topper made from natural materials. Maybe you can even score it on sale? This way you can also detox your sleeping environment on a budget .

Invest in your health

In any case, remember that you sleep a third of the day (= really a lot of time) and that a clean mattress and pillow are absolutely not an unnecessary luxury. Think of it as an investment in your health. If you really want to thoroughly overhaul your bedroom, take a critical look at all the materials of your bed. Do you sleep on a solid wooden bed without toxic finishes or, for example, on chipboard or fiberboard, which can release toxic formaldehyde fumes? Do you lie under a synthetic duvet or fleece blanket or do you crawl under the wool every evening? Are your sheets and covers made of regular (sprayed) cotton or undyed and unbleached organic cotton ? All factors that play a role in your body burden . For more tips, you can read our previous article ' Sweet dreams: 15 tips for less toxic sleep '.

Disclaimer (Do Your Own Research): We are happy to share with you our experiences and knowledge that we have gained in our search for a toxic-free life. At the same time, we would like to emphasize that you are solely responsible for your health (that goes without saying, right?). The information we share here is for general educational purposes and is not personalized medical advice. Everyone is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.

*This blog contains affiliate links, which means if you click on the affiliate link and purchase an item, we will receive a commission. This allows us to test new products and expand the less toxic community. Want to know more about how we select products and maintain our integrity? View our selection procedure .

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