By: Christopher Schriever
With asthma, allergic diseases and related health issues impacting more than 70 million Americans, Spring Air International has developed the ideal mattress line -- and succeeded in having the collection certified as asthma & allergy friendly™.
The breakthrough Back Supporter®-branded bedding line, intuitively named Breathe™ and carrying the position statement “Live Healthier™,” has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). AAFA is the world’s leading non-profit patient organization dedicated to fighting asthma, allergic diseases and related conditions.
The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification program is a joint program of AAFA and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), an Ireland-based certification organization that develops laboratory standards and protocols for a variety of environmental control products. It is awarded to products that have been scientifically proven to be “more suitable for people with asthma and allergies and that are effective in indoor environmental control and allergen reduction.”
Each certification standard is reviewed, approved and adopted by AAFA.
The new Certification Standard for Mattresses (ASP: 02:15) is designed to assess many factors including raw materials, construction, allergen accumulation and quality of product. The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification mark is awarded only to those products proven to meet the strict standards set by the program.
Certification for the proprietary Breathe line follows more than a year of rigorous development and scientific testing at third-party, accredited laboratories. The results were worth the effort as Spring Air’s Breathe mattresses join more than 130 other consumer products--made by brands such as Disney®, LG®, Valspar® and Dyson®-- that have earned the respected asthma & allergy friendly Certification mark.
On the certification of the company’s mattress, Rick Robinson, president of Spring Air states, “We’ve never been more excited about a product introduction, especially one that addresses, head-on, the number-one product in every home—the mattress—which has been identified by asthma, allergy and immunology experts as the priority target for reducing allergens and improving indoor air quality.”
Robinson continues, “We say our name has been trusted by millions for 85 years, and we’re proud to be the first mattress company to make such a product available.”
The extent to which Americans could benefit from products like Breathe is apparent in AAFA statistical research, which confirms that more than 50 million Americans live with allergies and more than 22 million have asthma, making those conditions among the most common.
“Unfortunately, allergic diseases aren’t rare anymore, they’re mainstream,” noted Mike Tringale, AAFA vice president of external affairs. “And the numbers are rising. More and more families, schools and workplaces are dealing with the allergy epidemic.”
Health experts have identified a direct link between indoor allergens and irritants and the severity of asthma and allergy symptoms. Two recent AAFA studies conducted in 2008 and 2009 among attendees at national meetings of allergy, asthma and immunology medical specialists, found that when asked to identify what types of indoor environmental control products they recommended most, 42 percent of doctors named bedding. Other responses included dust mite control through clutter removal/avoidance (27 percent); air filters (17 percent); allergen control/prevention products (9 percent), and dehumidifiers (5 percent).
Also as part of the 2009 survey, 100 percent of respondents agreed that AAFA’s certification is “helpful” or “very helpful” when shopping for environmental control products.
“In the home, the bedroom is ground zero for dust mites,” Tringale explained, adding that, “the mattress is ground zero within the bedroom. That’s why we’re so pleased that Spring Air has taken this major leap forward.”
Robinson defines the new Back Supporter Breathe collection as much for what it is not as for what it is.
“Breathe beds are not medical products in the conventional sense because everyone—even people without asthma or allergy issues—can benefit from a healthier sleeping environment,” he explained.
“And while Breathe mattresses are extremely comfortable, we don’t define them by feel or specification. Their performance is determined by the type, placement and quality—not quantity—of raw materials in each of the beds.
“What Breathe products are,” Robinson continued, “are unique, exclusive in their components and patent-pending designs, and scientifically proven to be effective in indoor environmental control and allergen reduction.”
Carrying a 10-year warranty and expected to retail from $999 to $2,499 in queen, the Back Supporter Breathe collection is one-sided and includes a total of six models—three designs each in two comfort options, firm and plush.
The beds are both innerspring and foam based with many of the components exclusive to Spring Air. The top model uses the patent-pending, multi-level innerspring design found in the company’s premium Sleep Sense™ Back Supporter products.
All Breathe models are foam-encased and include components and materials that are enclosed in a patent-pending, zippered cover.
The stretch-knit cover is highly breathable and is styled in pattern and color to suggest healthy air flow and circulation. A textured border fabric in slate blue coordinates with the top panel and includes the “Breathe: Live Healthier” embroidered logo.
Robinson explained that for anyone seeking a healthier sleep environment, the numerous benefits of Breathe mattresses cannot be duplicated by using a mattress cover or protector.
“Most mattress covers only ‘mask’ potential problems and don’t assure that the bed’s internal components are free of harmful VOCs or other key allergen triggers,” he noted.
Spring Air is introducing Breathe mattresses as adult beds, but plans to expand the collection into both the youth and hospitality categories within the year.
To support and promote the line, at retail, Spring Air has planned a range of in-store materials, promotional and training support, and consumer publicity events to create and maintain high visibility for its Breathe products.
On the sales floor, retailers can add custom headboards that include the Breathe logo, branded lifestyle photography and asthma/allergy facts. Similar information can be included on standing, illuminated acrylic signs for store floors.
A new product video on asthma/allergy health will be featured on a dedicated Breathe section of the company’s website and made available to retailers for education and customer demonstrations.
The company also plans to conduct satellite media tours, create online communications and participate in other media events targeted to consumers and health care professionals to build awareness and interest for the new line.
Robinson said Spring Air also will be included in an informative asthma & allergy friendly Certified Products Guide, published by AAFA and distributed to more than 60,000 doctors, nurses and health care providers in related respiratory fields.
Commenting on the launch, Robinson said, “Our ultimate objective is to begin improving America’s quality of life one home at a time and that applies not only to the 70 million-plus who suffer from asthma or allergies, but also to the remaining 250 million people who can benefit substantially from a healthier sleep environment.”