Fiberglass in a Mattress is Not Safe, it’s a Danger to Health.

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

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The dangers of fiberglass in mattresses have been an ongoing subject for the past few years. Things really heated up in late 2019 and early 2020 when numerous news outlets reported on homes contaminated fiberglass from mattresses, and people affected by adverse health concerns due to fiberglass mattresses. After that, a few big mattress brands had lawsuits filed against them centered around fiberglass not listed in their materials.

While some mattress-selling websites will assure you fiberglass is safe when it’s deep inside the mattress, it’s really not that simple. Fiberglass is often just beneath the outer cover of a mattress, separated by only a thin layer of fabric and batting, and only a few brands actually place the fiberglass deep within the mattress. Even when the fiberglass is deep inside the mattress, it can still break down over time and escape the mattress to affect your health while contaminating your home.

The safest mattresses on a budget are fiberglass free memory foam mattresses, and if price is not an issue organic latex mattresses are the most non-toxic option.

About Fiberglass in Mattresses

Why Fiberglass is Used in Mattresses

Memory Foam is made from petroleum, while Latex is made of sap harvested from rubber trees. Both are highly flammable, especially when compared to traditional innerspring/coil mattresses. Because of this fact, mattresses sold in the US, UK, and many other parts of the world must meet flammability test regulations in order to be marked safe for sale.

While foam mattresses were first gaining popularity, many mattress brands used to meet flammability standards by using Antimony and other chemicals. Then it became frowned upon, and eventually illegal, to use fabrics laced with harmful flame-retardant chemicals in mattress manufacturing.

The next cheapest and easiest method of meeting flammability test standards for mattress makers was fiberglass. Yes, the same potentially dangerous fiberglass used in boat hulls, cotton candy attic insulation, and those lawn chairs that get dry-rotted from the sun and make you itchy after taking a seat.

How Fiberglass is Used in Mattresses

Fiberglass is basically thin glass fibers covered in a resin coating. It is then mixed with other fabrics and made into woven fabrics, but it can also be pressed into non-woven sheets similar to the dust cover on the underside of sofas.

Fiberglass works as a fire retardant in mattresses by melting when exposed to fire and smothering the flames.

Chopped Fiberglass Strands Image
Chopped Fiberglass Strands

Most latex and memory foam mattresses that utilize fiberglass will have an inner cover around the foam that’s made of rayon, polyester, or cotton mixed with “core-spun fiberglass”. It’s known in the mattress industry as a “firesock” and it’s usually beneath the non-removable outer mattress cover. However, Zinus uses a layer of loose fiberglass strands encased under the top layer of its mattress cover and SweetNight puts fiberglass directly into the foam of its mattresses.

The Dangers of Fiberglass Mattresses

The problem with all three ways mattress makers use fiberglass is that the glass fibers never stay where they’re intended. It always seems to find a way to make it outside the mattress.

Some poor souls innocently assumed the cover on their mattress was removable because it had a zipper. They removed the cover for cleaning and unfortunately didn’t notice the glass particles before washing the mattress cover. Once the mattress cover had been washed and dried, their washing machines and dryers were coated in thin glass particles. Obviously, this complicated their issues even further, especially for those that didn’t notice the blunder and washed their clothes in the same machine. Yikes.

Symptoms of Fiberglass in your Mattress

Skin Irritation

People have shared stories online about waking up itchy and covered in rashes after sleeping on their fiberglass mattresses. These people never unzipped the non-removable covers on their beds. However, using a flashlight in a dark room they could see shimmering fiberglass sticking out of the top of the mattresses

Eye and Nose Irritation

Other people shared experiences of their eyes being irritated by fiberglass that was being shed from their mattresses after it was packed up and moved to a new home. Others had similar experiences after their kids had jumped on the bed. Some people even reported nose bleeds from fiberglass in their mattresses.

Throat and Lung Irritation

Some owners of fiberglass mattresses had ripped mattress covers caused by children or pets, which slowly released glass fibers to get spread around the home. Eventually, the fiberglass made its way to the heating and air systems to be further deposited into every room of the home while being nearly impossible to get rid of completely. Glass particles all over your living area, and airborne fiberglass floating around, can lead to serious lung and throat irritation.

Although long-term inhalation of fiberglass particles has no proof of being carcinogenic, it can still be a serious problem for people with Asthma and Bronchitis.

Fiberglass Mattress Safety Closing

Always use due diligence and ask the mattress manufacturer for yourself before buying if you are uncertain. If you are still skeptical after asking, request a photo of the tag before ordering – if they can’t or won’t provide it, then perhaps they have something to hide.

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