We're Making News
TV stations, Magazines, and Newspapers across the country have done news
stories on toxic beds
Sleeping with Danger
"At several factories around the country, the people who make mattresses say they're suffering health problems, too. WTHR talked to workers at a large mattress plant [Not Simmons] who say they and dozens of their co-workers have gotten sick in the past eight months. "We've seen rashes and skin irritations, headaches, sore throats..." said one of the workers. "I've had nose bleeds, bronchitis, and coughing," said another. "It's happening to lots of us and it's just been getting worse." They say all the health problems began last year when they started making mattresses that pass the government's new flame test. When asked if they would purchase and sleep on a mattress made at their factory, the workers said they would not."
Like most stories they also interviewed Mark Strobel who has led the fight against the regulation, and they concluded by telling people the only way to get a chemical free mattress is by prescription.
A great story we hope you will watch:
"What Might Be In Your Mattress? Could Mattress Safety Measures Make You Sick?
The story interviewed Dr. Doris Rapp, MD, who says unsafe, several Simmons mattress factory employees who are getting sick just from handling the new flame retardant materials, Serta who admits using Boric Acid, and Mark Strobel who has campaigned and generated news against the new flameproof mattress regulation for four years.
The CBS story quotes several Simmons
mattress factory employees complaining of "Breathing Problems, Sharp
Chest Pains, Sinus Problems, Irritated Eyes, Chronic Sore Throats, Bloody
Noses, and Painful Skin Rashes." In one scene a Simmons executive says
they offer employees protection as the reporter picks up a dust
mask/respirator. The only thing wrong in the story was that they said
"Manufacturers have to tell you what chemicals are in the mattress, but you
have to ask." This is simply untrue, there are no labeling requirements, and
a Simmons executive they interviewed said "We don't want to put our recipe
out there." The story concludes by telling people the only way to get a
chemical free mattress is by prescription.
ABC Cincinnati, "Sleeping With Danger"
"It's proven you're going to absorb a daily dose that's twenty-seven times the EPA says is safe," Strobel said. The only way to get a new mattress without any flame retardant is by prescription. If your doctor or chiropractor prescribes a chemical-free mattress, people like Strobel can make one for you.
National CBS Evening News, Katie Couric, May 19-20 2008, parts 1 and 2
Is Fire Retardant A Harmful Toxin? Part 1, May 19, 2008
She grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, but when Hannah Pingree had her blood tested, she found 19 different flame retardant chemicals in her system.
"If I have it, you have it, we all have it," Pingree said.
We all have it, because for 30 years, flame-retardant chemicals - hundreds of millions of pounds of them - have been embedded in furniture and consumer products, in an effort to slow down fires and reduce deaths and injuries.
They show video of mattress manufacturing and the new mattress open flame test.
The mattress factory video is the same as used in the NBC Indianapolis Toxic mattress story where the workers report getting sick from the flame retardant chemicals in the mattresses.
See the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31khqnJFXU4
Controversy Over Fire-Retardant Chemicals Part 2, May 20, 2008
"They can affect the developing brain and they can affect the developing reproductive system," said EPA senior toxicologist Linda Birbaum.
Despite the growing concern over flame-retardant chemicals, the industry, and groups aligned with industry, is lobbying to increase the use of chemicals in a wide range of consumer products.
Chicago IL, July 1 2007, got admissions from industry and top
manufacturers that they really are using toxic chemicals to flameproof
mattresses including, Antimony Trioxide (Arsenic), Boric Acid (Roach
Killer), Silica Glass, and Ammonium Polyphosphate (Ammonia). Plus she quoted
several top scientists and doctors who say this is unsafe. They also told
people there is an alternative in prescription mattresses that are toxin
free and allowed by the regulation.
CBS New York,
New York NY, FOX TV,
More News ...
Some of the links below may not work if the TV station removed the story from their website
CBS Boston, 11-8-07
The Boston news story interviewed Liz Harriman, of the Toxic Use Reduction Institute at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Cindy Luppi, of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, and concluded with a Mother named Gwendolyn Atwood. All are concerned about the toxic chemicals now being added to mattresses
CBS Boston also interviewed Ryan Trainer of ISPA (the mattress manufactures association) who admitted manufacturers do use Antimony, but then he misstated the facts by saying Antimony could not get out of mattresses, and that testing proved it did not get out. In fact, the government proved Antimony and more does leach to the surface of mattresses in large quantities.
Please look at the CPSC risk assessment justifying the regulation, and you will see:
The CPSC proved these chemicals leach to the surface of mattresses and measured significant amounts of toxins contacting our bodies.
The CPSC says five year old children
will absorb .5 mg Antimony (Arsenic) from flameproof mattresses, every
night. This is 63 times more Poison than the EPA say is safe! They also
say the average adult will absorb .8 mg Antimony every night, and this is 27
times more poison than the EPA says is safe. Antimony is one of the acutely
toxic heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic, antimony) and is also known to
"Sick Mattresses", 10-11-07
The story concludes by telling people
the only way to get a chemical free mattress is by prescription.
ABC Detroit, "Is Your Mattress Toxic?" May 13 2008
"This could be our greatest toxic disaster ever."
[Mark Strobel - Mattress Manufacturer] "There's a lot of double talk in the mattress industry, but there's no chemical-free systems that pass this test.'
But the CPSC admits that some of the toxins are absorbed by the body every night. And a review lab hired by the agency found serious flaws in its methodology.. questioning how the CPSC could simulate a lifetime of exposure.. the lab also questioned how the CPSC scientists decided on a higher maximum daily dose of antimony than other government agencies allow.
[Mark Strobel - Mattress Manufacturer] "It's proven you're going to absorb a daily dose that's 27 times than the EPA says is safe."
All new mattresses must survive this baptism by fire. Even crib mattresses. Many of those also contain boric acid.. even though the boric acid label says "keep out of the reach of children."
Yet the CPSC's risk assessment specifically excluded babies and toddlers.
[Mark Strobel - Mattress Manufacturer] "They made the assumption all children under five will sleep on vinyl sheets due to bed wetting problems and that's going to protect them from the toxic chemicals in their mattress."
Royal Oak toxicologist Dr. Michael Harbut says if you have a waterproof mattress pad – or plastic -- on your bed – you can minimize your exposure to these chemicals.
[Dr. Michael Harbut/Toxicologist] “Until we really know for sure that they’re completely safe, it’s probably a good idea to be prudent. Put on a mattress pad, seal up the mattress, be safe – don’t sleep on a bare mattress.”
The only way to get a new mattress without any flame retardant is by prescription. If your doctor or chiropractor prescribes a chemical-free bed.. some companies can make them for you –but it can be costly.
Meanwhile.. even if you ask.. manufacturers and retailers are *not* required to tell you if your mattress has toxins inside.
ABC Cleveland, "Flame-Resistant Mattresses Made With Toxic Chemicals," May 14 2008
But mattress manufacturer Mark Strobel said, "We continually find these flame retardants are harmful. [Federal regulators] ban them one after the other".
Allergist Dr. Leonard Rubinstein admits the flame retardant chemicals might have a worthwhile effect, they also have the potential to harm the respiratory system. "Patients are often developing eye or skin irritation from sitting in contact with these chemicals that leach out. We are also seeing patients having headaches or neurological symptoms from some of these aromatics", said Rubinstein.
See the Video: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/16263350/detail.html
NBC West Palm Beach, “Sleeping With
NBC Kansas City, "Sleeping With Danger,"
CBS Indianapolis, 2-14-08, Sleep Concerns - A Special Report
This story interviews yet another person sick from their mattress, Cheryl Anderson, who said two different mattresses make her sick with fever and skin rashes. The story discusses Antimony, a probable carcinogen, being added to mattresses and that toxic chemicals are required to pass the new open flame test. Plus they told people the only way to get a chemical free mattress is with a Doctor's prescription. It concludes by telling people children under age five were not studied by the CPSC, as they assumed all these children would sleep on vinyl sheets, and that this would protect them from the toxic chemicals in their mattresses.
See the preview of the story at:
CBS Sacramento, 11-2-07
The story concludes by telling people
the only way to get a chemical free mattress is by prescription.
Denver, news video, 7-31-07
news video, 7-9-07
Louisville, "It's like sleeping on rat poison", 10-23-07
Rock River Times, Rockford IL,
October 3 & 17, 2007
Bonnie Rogoff column,
Good chemistry and bed chemistry,
August 26, 2007
Tampa FL, Fox TV wtvt, Tampa Bay area, 7-9-07
Milwaukee WI, FOX TV, witi, 6-26-07
Minneapolis - St. Paul MN, FOX, kmsp, 6-26-07
Charlestown WV, FOX, wvah, 6-26-07
Jacksonville FL, FOX, waws, 6-26-07
Cincinnati OH, FOX, wxix, 6-26-07
Denver CO, NBC, 6-29-07
Austin TX, FOX, ktbc, 6-26-07
Evansville IN, FOX, wtvw, 6-26-07
Colorado Springs CO, FOX, 6-29-07
Louisville KY, Fox 41 on 6-12-07,
Indianapolis IN, Fox
59 TV, 6-13-07
Boise ID, CBS 7 TV,
Charlotte Observer, Charlotte NC,
July 1 2007
Columbus Dispatch, Columbus OH,
CBN.com, Is your mattress making you
VegNews Magazine, July/August Issue
Medical Journals Articles:
The American Chiropractor, November 2006 issue,
a non-profit medical journal.
Chiropractic Economics, March 30 2007 issue
American Chiropractic Association
magazine July-07 article titled:
Chiropractic Products Magazine, May 2008 issue
The American Chiropractor, June 2008 issue,
a non-profit medical journal.
“Is your new mattress safe?”
An in-depth special report of problems about mattresses, especially those manufactured since 7/1/07
by Doris J Rapp, M.D.
Doris J. Rapp, MD, F.A.A.A., F.A.A.P. Is a board-certified environmental medical specialist and pediatric allergist. She was a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Rapp is the founder of the Practical Allergy Foundation and is a past President of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. She is also the author of several books, and a New York Times Best Selling Author.
The book primarily address the risks from the new fire retardant chemicals in new mattresses.
It is available for purchase for $14.95 at: http://www.drrapp.com/publications.htm
Washington Post, Industry Admission of
Chemicals in Beds
10 News, San Diego, CA,
[Industry has previously admitted they use chemicals including Boric Acid to
the Washington Post and others. Kevlar is used in the yellow thread you see
on the perimeter of the mattress to hold it together, but this is not the
flameproofing system. The CPSC report
proves the cotton batting flameproofing system contains 7.5% Boric Acid and
2.4% Antimony. With no labeling requirements, it is typical for mattress
makers to deny using chemicals!]
By Cindy Skrzycki
Article, printer friendly version:
The Washington Post story was picked up by many newspapers across the country, and the issue is being featured by major market TV affiliates of CBS, FOX, and ABC.
A new law already effective in California and being enacted nationwide by Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) requires mattresses to resist ignition from open flames.
While the CPSC and Industry public statements say these chemical systems are safe, the written word of the CPSC in their draft law says otherwise. They admit these systems have never been studied, are ‘acutely toxic’, a ‘reproductive and developmental toxin’, and more study is needed. They do say they are getting exposure data and studying them now, but we fear study will not be complete before this law is enacted and that they are trying to justify a preexisting conclusion.
With the safety verdict still out, all new mattresses sold in California, and millions nationwide contain toxic chemical flame proofing systems. At least one major brand has fire proofing systems on all their new mattresses nationwide.
Manufacturers, and consumers with no labeling information, must choose from one of four basic chemical systems under the ticking to meet law: 1) Boric Acid with Antimony. 2) Polyester with Antimony. 3) Fiberglass with Antimony. 4) Melamine with Formaldehyde. All four systems contain chemicals linked to cancer. Antimony causes heart muscle damage, and can cause the heart to beat irregularly or stop, and a single dermal application has killed rabbits. Europe has proven Antimony leaches from mattresses and it has been found in livers of dissected human infants.
Quoting the Washington Post: “Serta, the second-largest U.S. manufacturer, has been using a fire-blocking system on all its products since January  that uses a blend of natural and synthetic fibers as well as chemicals. …"There is an infinitesimal level of boric acid available on the surface of mattresses," he [Serta] said.” We strongly disagree with the amount and safety of Boric Acid in mattresses. Our government says Boric Acid leaches from mattresses. There can be over one million milligrams of water soluble Boric Acid as loose dust in the surface of a mattress. As the oils in the cotton batting dry out over time much more Boric Acid will be released to kick up into our faces to breathe and absorb by our bodies. Boric Acid is poison, is used as Roach Killer, and the CPSC calls it ‘acutely toxic.’ There are 6,463 cases of Boric Acid poisoning in the US each year. We have found at least one case where an 11-year old child with chronic skin rash appears to be poisoned by boric acid in a mattress. In addition to Inhalation, skin, and damaged skin absorption, it appears children could be poisoned by sucking on a mattress.
The CPSC notified California their law is invalid and unenforceable since there is an existing federal flammability law (cigarette ignition). California chooses to enforce it anyway. A lawsuit on a single point of law could stop California, federal law preempts state law. But we still have to stop the CPSC. The largest mattress companies pushed for and want this law for their own benefit. Now ISPA’s largest members, Leggett & Platt, Sealy, and Serta recently withdrew their membership.
Consumer Watch: Mattress Safety
"We are putting 300 million at risk to sleeping in toxic chemicals to save 300 from fire,"
Again the CPSC misstates the facts in their zeal to push this law through. See the true facts by clicking here
You can see the
two-minute video of the story from their website:
U.S. MAY RAISE FIRE STANDARDS FOR MATTRESSES
"In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that antimony -- the most commonly used fire retardant -- be banned in upholstered furniture. That recommendation was based on a 1998 European study that linked the chemical in crib mattresses to sudden infant death syndrome."
they charge you $1.50 to view the entire article. All the other news links
on our site are free.
Fox59 TV Gets First Industry Admission of Chemicals in
We talked to James Mowry, quoted in the story, who cited a study by the National Academy of Science. He said he was referring to a review done on flame retardants in upholstered furniture, not mattresses, and based his comments on the exposure data amount quoted by the reporter (data presumably provided by Serta). Further it looked at Zinc Borate back coated to upholstery fabric, not boric acid powder as loose dust in mattresses, and the amount of chemical used in mattresses is 7.5 times more than that in the fabric per sq/cm. (more details)
Interestingly, this review had some data for Antimony and warned against Antimony as a flame retardant for upholstered furniture.
Their grape juice comparison seems a wildly broad statement. At one hundred times more than in a year means you would absorb only .003 mg in a year. You would likely breathe more than this in a single breath while just being in the room with one of these mattresses. Our analysis shows the mattress contains 3.8 Million times more boron (found in boric acid) than found in a 6 oz glass of grape juice (.3 mg.).
By comparison, you would have to drink over 200 glasses of grape juice, about 10 gallons, every day for 50 years to equal the amount of Boric Acid in a mattress.
The San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2/05, Home Editor, Laura Thomas, did a 1500 word article exposing the health risks of toxic chemicals being used in mattresses to meet a new open flame resistance law. The new law is already effective in California and is being enacted nationwide by the Consumer Products Safety Commission within the next year.
See the article at: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/03/02/HOGHSBDEL126.DTL
Laura did a great job of telling a balanced story from what people told her. But this illustrates the problem we face. Proponents whitewash the chemical issue and say they don’t use chemicals. The CPSC’s proposed law lists the various systems used to meet the standard, and their chemical content. A review of this document will prove the proponents statements wrong.
Neither the CPSC nor I have yet found a barrier system that does not require dangerous chemicals. See quotable truths on chemicals in mattresses, pages 138 to 162 of the CPSC draft of this new law. See quotes and links to this document: http://www.peopleforcleanbeds.org/Quotes-CPSC.htm
See full rebuttals of proponents statements in the San Francisco Chronicle Article by clicking here
Plus, coverage from a Connecticut newspaper article titled: “The Law of Unintended Consequences” http://www.towntimes.com/articles/2005/02/24/news/editorials/editorial02.txt
CBS 5-25-05, Wbhf
Quad Cities IL story
wbhf printer friendly: http://www.whbf.com/global/story.asp?s=3395842&ClientType=Printable
ran Cindy Skrzycki, Washington Post article in full
The Louisville Kentucky, Courier-Journal newspaper ran a shortened version of the Washington Post story on page A-19 on Sunday May 22. They omitted the parts about Serta, ISPA, and Davis. They don't post the story on their website.
Many other newspapers across the country ran the Washington Post article, but most don't post other newspapers articles on their website.
The Courier-Journal: Mattress maker targets 'clean' niche, August 21, 2006 •• 978 words •• ID: lou33451826 Strobel leaves out fire retardant chemicals By Bill Wolfe email@example.com For nearly two years, Jeffersonville, Ind., mattress maker Mark Strobel fought a federal proposal for tougher fire standards for his industry. The new rules, he argued, would lead companies to lace bedding with toxic fire-retardant chemicals such as boric acid and antimony.
The articles below tell the story. While the articles are copyrighted, News media are free to use and edit the articles to their liking. We only ask to be informed if you publish an article:
Please see the facts first hand:
Proof pages for
Here are some other links that may interest you:
Strobel's history of fighting the
regulation since 2003
Please see other news we have gotten in the past from the San Francisco to the Washington Post and more, at our link: Making News.
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Notice: The statements and questions contained in this
notice are not intended to convey allegations regarding any particular company,
person, or association. Readers should conduct their own investigation of a
company or association or person to ascertain the particular policies,
practices, and motivations of that entity. I have reported what I believe to be
true and correct to the best of my knowledge and opinion at the time of its
writing in a free speech effort to avert a public health disaster.