Last Updated on August 24, 2023
Way back in 2019 while shopping for my daughter’s first “big girl bed”, Zinus was one of the mattress brands I was considering. That’s how I was first introduced to fiberglass being used as a flame retardant in mattresses. Although it was largely overlooked in 2019, I knew right away that fiberglass in mattresses was a huge problem.
About Fiberglass in Zinus Mattresses
I learned about fiberglass in Zinus mattresses from reviews on Amazon. People had left reviews on the Zinus Green Tea mattress, saying fiberglass had leaked from the mattresses and spread all over their bedrooms. I worked doing construction when I was fresh out of high school, so I immediately had a terrible image in my head of sleeping on the itchy pink insulation from inside the walls of my house.
Confirming Fiberglass Directly From Zinus
To be honest, I really didn’t believe the Zinus reviews that mentioned fiberglass. I thought to myself, there’s no freaking way that manufacturers would put fiberglass into something that people lay down on for approximately eight hours each day. That shimmery fiber people were seeing must be polyester since the fibers can be quite shiny, right?
So, I decided to contact Zinus directly and as for myself. The Zinus website had a chat function and I decided to use that to get in touch. I plainly asked the Zinus representative this question through the chat – “Do any of your mattresses contain fiberglass?”
This is the reply I got from Zinus about fiberglass back in 2019:
“All our mattresses contain glass fiber.” -Zinus
I knew immediately that a mattress with zero fiberglass was the only sane option after that reply from Zinus.
Searching Google For Fiberglass in Zinus Mattresses
I did some searching on Google regarding fiberglass in Amazon mattresses, and not just Zinus but also other big names like Casper, Molblly, Sweetnight, and Nectar. There were quite a few reports of fiberglass for all the brands I was looking at, some going back up to three years. There were a few posts about Zinus and Fiberglass on Reddit, and a few news articles. The one that caught my eye the most was a 2017 AZFamily News report on YouTube of a lady that had to move out of her home because of fiberglass from a Zinus mattress. The mattress in the video is a Spa Sensations brand mattress from Walmart, and it’s made by Zinus.
Although these people made the mistake of removing the cover for washing while the website said to only spot clean, it was an innocent mistake. Who could fathom that removing a zippered mattress cover would contaminate their entire home with fiberglass threads? Also, what if the non-removable mattress cover was ripped by pets or accidentally torn while being moved? It’s insane to think that anyone ever thought fiberglass was a good flame retardant to use in mattresses.
Why Zinus Uses Fiberglass in Mattresses
Since 2007, and the regulations laid out in Federal Regulations 16 CFR Part 1632 and 16 CFR Part 1633, mattresses sold in The United States have been required to pass certain flammability tests. Initially these tests were passed easily with chemicals like Antimony Trioxide, Boric Acid, Melamine, and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), but then manufacturers started catching heat over their use of toxic chemicals in mattresses.
Mattress makers then figured out the easiest and cheapest way to pass those flammability tests without using chemicals or losing too much profit. Fiberglass became the new favorite profit-saving flame retardant in cheap mattresses sold by companies like Zinus through Amazon and Walmart.
The Dangers of Fiberglass in Zinus Mattresses
Fiberglass is essentially a very thin glass thread that’s encased in a coating of resin to help protect the brittle glass from breaking too easily. While it’s great as an insulator in the walls of buildings, and in the construction of boat hulls, it’s not very safe.
Flame-retardant inner covers of Zinus mattresses break down, and the glass threads become dislodged from the cover. The glass threads are so thin that they can escape the mattress by poking through the fabric of the outer cover, even if the cover isn’t removed. Damaging the outer cover, or removing it, just speeds up the release of fiberglass – but it gets released either way.
While fiberglass isn’t proven to be carcinogenic, inhalation of fiberglass can aggravate allergies, asthma, and bronchitis. The small glass shards in fiberglass can cause tiny skin abrasions, cut the skin, and get stuck in the skin like splinters. It’s for these reasons that professionals working with fiberglass generally wear respirators and other protective gear like gloves and even full hazmat suits.
The Zinus Fiberglass Mattress Class Action Lawsuits
The problem of fiberglass in Zinus mattresses flew under the radar for many years, mostly just resulting in complaints to the CPSC and few bad reviews on the Better Business Bureau, Walmart, and Amazon websites. When I published my first article on this website regarding fiberglass in mattresses, the problem had already been going on for over 2 years without any repercussions for Zinus.
But then, on February 13, 2020, a KMOV St. Louis released a news article titled News 4 Investigates: The Danger Lurking in your Mattress accompanied by a YouTube video which gained a lot of attention.
Less than a month later on March 12, 2020, a class action lawsuit was filed against Zinus and its retailers Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart, and Wayfair. The class action lawsuit stated, among other things, that Zinus and its retailers were selling mattresses with catastrophic design defects coupled with inadequate labels which resulted in large amounts of fiberglass leaking into and contaminating the surrounding areas of the mattresses.
On August 7th, 2022, another class action lawsuit was filed against Zinus by the Environmental Litigation Group (ELG) on behalf of a woman in California. The lawsuit basically stated that if the fiberglass inner covers on Zinus mattresses were breaking down enough for fibers to escape the mattress, that meant the flame-retardant capabilities were diminished and the mattresses therefore defective. The lawsuit also stated that putting a zipper on a mattress with potentially dangerous fiberglass inside was irresponsible without prominent labels that warned against removing the outer cover. Interestingly, ELG also stated that some older Spa Sensations mattresses by Zinus had tags that allegedly recommended removing the outer cover for cleaning, which would inevitably release the fiberglass threads.
After Effects of the Zinus Mattress Lawsuits
The lawsuits against Zinus kept fiberglass mattresses in the national spotlight. Many news outlets released articles and reports highlighting the lawsuit and fiberglass dangers, like this WTAE video.
Reddit exploded with people sharing their own fiberglass mattress horror stories, so much that a moderator on the r/mattress subreddit had to make a post addressing fiberglass mattresses.
YouTube has dozens of videos of people showing how Zinus and other mattress brands have contaminated their living areas with fiberlass shards.
The Good News – Zinus is Finally Removing Fiberglass
I recently got in touch with Zinus to confirm their mattresses still have fiberglass. The lawsuits never stopped Zinus from using fiberglass, they just forced Zinus to adequately label their products with warning about fiberglass and to not remove the outer cover. Because of this, Zinus never stopped using fiberglass, Zinus even made a Fiberglass FAQ post on its website about the fiberglass used in its mattress.
As expected, Zinus told me that its mattresses still consist of a fiberglass flame barrier.
However, Zinus also told me that it is transitioning to a Rayon-based flame barrier soon and that all fiberglass will be eliminated from the construction of its mattresses.
Finally, it’s about time! The more mattresses makers that stop using fiberglass, the better it will be for everyone.
John started JSnowCreations as a place to post random tech guides and product reviews. However, while shopping for his daughter’s first “big girl” bed in 2019 he learned about the hidden dangers of fiberglass in mattresses. Since then, John has made it his mission to expose as much hidden fiberglass in mattresses as possible. His ultimate goal is federal regulations that ban fiberglass from being used in mattresses, or at least a law that require it to be listed in the material tags.