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Healthy Home Basics - In Search of a Healthy Mattress

Mattress quality is important for getting a good night’s sleep, yet selecting the right mattress is challenging because there are so many different manufacturers and products in the marketplace. While weighing the various options such as comfort, cost and durability is daunting enough, it is also important to evaluate the chemicals that may be emitted from the mattress and the effects they have on our personal health. 


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Mattress manufacturers often appeal to consumers with guarantees for the best sleeping comfort. Others even claim that individual body types require unique mattress composition or configuration. However, in selling the comfort of the product, many manufacturers neglect to mention the impact that the materials may have on the air you breathe. Many commercial mattresses are manufactured using polyurethane, synthetic fabrics, chemical fire retardants, toxic dyes, formaldehyde and stain-resistant chemicals. These chemicals are outgassed over time, and can expose skin and lungs to potentially toxic substances, causing allergic reactions and other health problems.

Concerned with the harmful affects these chemicals may impose, many consumers are buying organic mattresses, such as those made from pure certified organic cotton, natural rubber, and wool, and are manufactured without polyurethane foam, chemical flame retardants, formaldehyde, anti-fungicides, pesticide-treated cotton, or other harmful chemicals.

As demand for organic mattresses continues to rise, many manufacturers are making environmental product claims. The benefit of this trend is consumers have a better selection; however these environmental claims are not always supported by sound, scientific evidence. To verify green claims, consumers should make sure the product is certified by an authorized program or organization. By getting products certified, manufacturers can differentiate their products in the marketplace, while demonstrating a commitment to the environment and to the health of their customers.


In October 2006, GREENGUARD certified the first bedding products for low chemical emissions. GREENGUARD Certified products must undergo rigorous testing and meet recognized standards for low chemical emissions. For more information and to search the database of GREENGUARD Certified products, visit


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HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Healthy Home Basics - In Search of a Healthy Mattress:  Created on August 16th, 2008.  Last Modified on January 20th, 2010


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About GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI)

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that oversees the GREENGUARD Certification Program.  As an ANSI Authorized Standards Developer, GEI establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments, and buildings. GEI’s mission is to improve public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air. A GEI Advisory Board consisting of independent volunteers - who are experts in the areas of indoor air quality, public and environmental health, building design and construction, and public policy - provides guidance and leadership to GEI.



Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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