Air Quality Awareness Week and May's Clean Air Month both shine the spotlight on the rise of air pollutants in the home. Naturepedic, a leading certified organic and nontoxic mattress and bedding brand, underscores how reducing indoor air contaminants by eliminating exposure to chemical emissions can create a healthier, safer living environment.
The State Of The Air
The American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report found that more than 4 in 10 people (135 million) in the U.S. live with polluted air. According to the EPA, "indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air," such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), is the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. VOCs are found in many common household products including mattresses, paints, new furniture and cleaning products. VOC inhalation can lead to a variety of symptoms such as headaches, difficulty breathing and dizziness, to name a few. In the worst-case scenario, some VOCs, such as formaldehyde, are even suspected or known carcinogens.
"Keeping the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home to the bare minimum is very important to achieving the best indoor air quality possible," comments Barry A. Cik, BCEE, Technical Director and Founder of Naturepedic, "While certainly not the only source in the home, conventional mattresses can be a notable contributor to indoor air pollution due to the questionable chemicals and materials that are often in them. In fact, the 'new mattress smell' is actually a release of these chemicals that are negatively affecting indoor air quality, as well as the health of the person inhaling them," remarks Cik.
"While these levels may decrease over time, exposure to VOCs can be avoided by selecting mattresses and bedding that utilize certified organic cotton, wool and latex materials. Additionally, checking if a product is GREENGUARD Gold certified will indicate that it has low to zero chemical emissions," he adds. Recent studies have also shown that body heat can contribute to increased VOC emissions in mattresses when sleeping. This, according to Cik, highlights why body temperature regulation is so important for optimal sleep health.
Mattresses Can Release VOCs
"Most conventional mattresses are made with foam, which may have a negative effect on body temperature. Polyurethane Foam (certainly including memory foam) is made from petroleum which doesn't breathe and can make you feel hot and sweaty at night. Adding cooling gels, as many brands do, only brings more questionable chemicals into the mix. Choosing bedding made with natural, organic cotton fabric and fill and other temperature-regulating materials like wool to wick away moisture, is the easiest way to transform your sleep environment from hot to comfortable."
The EPA also reports that studies of human exposure to air pollutants reveal "indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels." This statistic is "of particular concern" because people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors.
"What we breathe in matters," states Cik, "The good news is that consumers have a great opportunity to improve their air quality not only by improving ventilation, but by eliminating sources of chemical exposure in the home. At Naturepedic, we believe in the importance of indoor air quality, and to help promote this, Naturepedic does not use vinyl, PFCs, flame retardant chemicals and barriers, polyurethane foam, formaldehyde, pesticides, GMO's, glues/adhesives, or any other questionable chemicals and materials which can be released into the environment."
With a range of cutting-edge GOTS-certified organic, MADE SAFE certified nontoxic mattress and bedding products for babies, kids and adults that meet GREENGUARD Gold and UL Formaldehyde-Free standards, Naturepedic understands that when it comes to your health and sleep quality, there really is no room for compromise.
Since 2003, Naturepedic has been on a mission to protect the lives of families through safer, healthier organic-based products that have a positive impact on the environment. A brand with purpose, transparency and ethical practices, Naturepedic is the recipient of many certifications and is highly respected by numerous health and environmental organizations (https://www.naturepedic.com/certifications) and is an EPA Green Power Partner. Since its inception, Naturepedic has been a consistent and generous advocate and supporter of NGO's and nonprofits advocating for "Right to Know" about what is in the products that people bring into their homes.