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IS FIBERGLASS IN MATTRESSES SAFE?

Fiberglass in mattresses is becoming a big topic, as it should! Fiberglass is often used in cheaper mattresses, to comply to fire retardant guidelines. It can however be a very dangerous material in a mattress, especially as it becomes airborne.

The mattress industry does not always benefit from a stellar reputation, but we are seeing more and more companies entering the market, wanting to make a difference. After generations of shortcuts and poor material use, those newer mattress manufacturers focus of healthy sleep, healthy lifestyle, and a healthy planet.

So let’s take a look at really how bad fiberglass in mattresses is, and which impact it may have on your health now, or in the future.

What Is Fiberglass Made Out Of

Fiberglass Around Us

Fiberglass is found everywhere from roof insulation to golf pins; it is in your pool, septic tank, bathtub, pipes, and roofing; you will find it in airplanes, cars, surfboards, and door skins. And every industry in between! It is everywhere and has many benefits – it is lightweight and easy to mold into complex shapes.

What Is Fiberglass Made Out Of

As its name indicates, it is made of glass fibers, to which a resin is added to create a fiber-reinforced plastic. Five different types of glass are used to make fiberglass, each with different properties (i.e., chemical resistance, alkali, mechanical properties, etc.).

What Does Fiberglass Look Like

Depending on the application, fiberglass is manufactured in the form of a tape, a rope, or cloth.

The mattress industry uses fiberglass cloth, which is smooth and often used in mattress covers. You may know fiberglass from rubbing your hand on a seemingly smooth surface and getting stung by several, nearly invisible, painful splinters.

Why Is There Fiberglass In Mattresses

Flammability Standards In Mattresses

The mattress industry follows strict federal flammability standards, which control the fire retardant properties in mattresses. If you are wondering whether your mattresses complies, check its tags for a 16 CFR 1633 label.

Chances are good that your mattress (and mattress pad) meets flammability standards if it was sold in the United States. Since 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates the requirements for all mattresses manufactured, imported, or renovated in the United States.

Per the Code of Federal Regulations, the Flammability Standards’ purpose is “to reduce deaths and injuries associated with mattress fires by limiting the size of the fire generated by a mattress set during a thirty minute test.” In other words, it is protecting the sleeper from his/her mattress being consumed by flames too quickly.

Most mattress companies use one or more fire barriers to comply to standards – they can be natural, chemical, or fiberglass. It is important to note that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does not require mattress manufacturers to use one over the other. As long as the mattress passes the 30-minute fire test, it receives the tag label and can be legally distributed in the United States.

Use Of Fiberglass In Mattresses

Since fiberglass is a mineral material, it holds natural incombustible properties. It does not propagate or support a flame, and does not emit smoke or toxic products when exposed to heat.

Fiberglass is one of the cheapest and most effective ways for mattress manufacturers to meet federal Flammability Standards without using harmful chemicals. You will often find it inside mattress covers, which is the closest layer to your body when sleeping.

In order to fit inside mattresses, the fiberglass is either flattened into a sheet or woven into fabric. There, it increase a mattress’ resistance to fire while avoiding chemical flame retardants.

Fiberglass In Memory Foam Mattress

Fiberglass is very often found in memory foam mattresses since the foams are highly flammable. The mattress cover with a thin layer of fiberglass ensures that the mattress passes the flammability standard test.

 

Is Fiberglass In Mattresses Dangerous

Lack Of Disclosure

Mattress manufacturers know the adverse risks of adding fiberglass to their mattresses. Since they do not legally have to disclose all materials on their website, it may not be until you receive your mattress and read its labels, that you notice the use of fiberglass in your mattress.

We recommend conducting detailed research ahead of purchasing your mattress, if you want to avoid exposure to fiberglass. You can almost confidently assume that a cheap mattress, or an imported mattress (not made in the U.S.), uses some fiberglass as fire retardant.

While non-exhaustive, you can also choose a mattress from our fiberglass-free mattress brand list below. We have vetted all of those mattresses and mattress companies, so you don’t have to do the ground work and can get sleeping safely with a serene mind. Take me there now.

Is Fiberglass In Mattresses Dangerous

In short, yes! Fiberglass can potentially be very dangerous to your health, and that of your children.

Fiberglass becomes a health threat once it makes its way out of your mattress and become airborne. As you may know, most mattresses today, as compressed and shipped in a box. That, in itself, has the potential to damage the mattress cover and/or its fiberglass component. Children jumping on beds, as well as regular use wear-and-tear, can also damage the mattress and loosen the fiberglass. Lastly, some mattresses have a removable cover, which can be washed. During the washing process, fiberglass can make its way out of your mattress.

Health Symptoms Due To Fiberglass Exposure

According to the CDC, fiberglass “is a known respiratory, skin and eye irritant and an asthmagen.”

According to this study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, exposure to fiberglass “correlate[s] with recurrent chest infections and pulmonary fibrosis. Once airborne, the fibers of different sizes will be small enough to enter mouth, nose, and lungs, potentially irritating or damaging the lungs, and cause other harms such as vomiting, ashtma-like symptoms, or irritation of the skin and eyes.

Unfortunately, the group most at risk is the babies and young children group, as they are known to jump on their bed

What To Watch Out For Before Purchasing

As mentioned earlier, mattress companies are not required to disclose the content of their mattresses when advertising them online.

Most modern mattress manufacturers, however, market the use of CertiPUR-US certified foams. Those foams are certified free of harmful chemicals, which does NOT mean that the mattress cover is free of fiberglass – in fact, mattress covers are not even tested during the certification process. Note that the CertiPUR-US certification only controls the content of foams (not mattress covers). Prior to the Flammability Standards code, mattress makers used carcinogen and hormone-disruptive chemicals. When purchasing a CertiPUR-US certified mattress, you can rest assured that none of those chemicals are used in your mattress. Fiberglass may unfortunately still be present.

We recommend trying to purchase mattresses from companies who are open about the true content for their mattresses. If you find a mattress with the MADE SAFE certification, you know you are purchasing a mattress having gone through a rigorous scientific screening process that ensures it doesn’t include ingredients that are not known or suspected to harm human health, animals, aquatic life, or ecosystems. 

If you have any doubt, better be safe than sorry. Reach out to the brand’s customer service and ask them whether fiberglass is used in the mattress.

What To Watch For At Home

When you receive your mattress, check all labels to find the actual materials used in your new purchase. If you are unhappy with the mattress company’s transparency and find that your mattress still contains fiberglass, reach out to them immediately and feel free to use their sleep trial policy to initiate return. Note that some companies charge a return and/or restocking fee. Do your research ahead of time!

Always watch for open mattress cover zippers. This study has found that 50% of mattress tested had 1% of their fiberglass migrate to adjacent fabric layers. Those fibers would immediately become airborne and a health threat as soon as the mattress zipper would slide open.

We recommend only washing your mattress cover when absolutely necessary. The washing process can be harsh on your cover and add unnecessary wear and tear, which can easily lead to fiberglass particles becoming loose and airborne.

Try to minimize children jumping on their (or your) bed. The damage cause may loosen fiberglass fibers, creating a health threat in your home.

 

Safe Alternatives To Fiberglass In Mattresses

There are good news, I promise!!

Some natural alternatives to chemicals and fiberglass exist. Many U.S. mattresses have moved on to using wool or polylactic acid batting in their cover. We have even found vegan mattresses which uses natural graphite powder to meet flammability requirements.

Our favorite materials for mattress covers are certified organic wool and certified organic cotton. They are healthy materials, safer on the planet and your body. Of course, such mattresses tend to be more expensive as they are typically made in the U.S. and the manufacturers control their entire supply chain to ensure safety and cleanliness. You can be nearly certain that a $490 king-size mattress is imported and contains fiberglass.

Please make sure to purchase a safe mattress for your newborn and children – their bodies are in full growth, and exposure to fiberglass can be detrimental to their long-term health.

Best Fiberglass-Free Mattresses

We are doing the leg work so you don’t have to! It is so important for our family to allow each body to lay on a safe, fiberglass-free mattress, and we want to help as many parents feel confident about their purchases as possible.

Below are some mattress manufacturers who truly care for the product they put into your home. They handpick materials that are safe for the planet, respectful to the animals, and healthy for your minds and bodies to lay on – all of them are made in the USA. Remember that you spend about 1/3 of your life on your mattress (children can spend up to 17 hours laying on their mattress each day).

Jump straight to your mattress of interest to find out more about the brand and how they produce fiberglass-free mattresses:
AvocadoNolahNaturepedicNaturalFormSaatvaPlushBedsHelixBig FigBearBrentwood HomeHappsyLullaby Earth

Without further ado:

Avocado Green Mattresses

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Every single Avocado mattress is fiberglass-free (from crib to adult).

All of their mattresses and bedding are certified organic, non-toxic, eco-friendly, and sustainable. Avocado is carbon-negative, solar & wind powered, and holds the following certifications: FSC, Greenguard Gold, Formaldehyde-free, eco-INSTITUTE, OEKO-Tex, and MADE SAFE.

Their Vegan Mattresses are Vegan certified and PETA-approved.

As a company, Avocado is also 1% for the Planet award winner and a certified B Corp company, for its social and environmental performance and public transparency. They have another 7 certifications and council participation and you can find out more here.

Nolah Mattresses

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All of Nolah mattresses are fiberglass-free. On their FAQ page, Nolah states that “Nolah is committed to our customers’ comfort and safety, and all our mattresses are 100 percent fiberglass-free. Rigorous testing and strict certifications demonstrate the safety of all materials used in our mattresses.”

We are fans of all Nolah mattresses and they satisfy a wide range of budgets, thought the Nolah Natural is the most eco-friendly mattress of their line-up, in case that’s of interest to you. All Nolah mattresses are CertiPUR-US® certified and free from ozone depleters, heavy metals, and chemical fire retardants. Their 2 latex mattresses (the Nolah Natural and the kids mattress Nolah Nurture) are also GOTS-certified and use Oeko-Tex® 100 certified latex.

Naturepedic

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Naturepedic is a beautiful brand, born from the desire of a grandpa to get his newborn grandson a safe and healthy mattress to sleep on. They too, have a long list of certifications and cater the entire family from crib to toddler, kids, and adults.

Naturepedic is GOTS (organic textile) and GOLS (organic latex) certified, as well as FSC and RainForest Alliance certified. They are the second MADE SAFE mattress brand of our list, as well as GreenGuard and UL validated, and Organic Exchange OCS100 certified. They are a Green America certified business and their vegan mattresses are certified vegan and PETA approved. Find out more about the environmental commitment, certifications, memberships, and awards right here. 

NaturalForm

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All NaturalForm mattresses are fiberglass-free and you can’t go wrong with any of them. We absolutely adore NaturalForm, though they are a higher-budget mattress. Hitting the luxury mattress mark, NaturalForm started with a 20-year background in medical beds. Today, their mattresses come with a hand dial that allows each partner to adjust his/her side of the mattress for firmness! We highly recommend the NaturalForm mattresses to those suffering from back pain.

And of course, NaturalForm comes with all of the certifications as well: CertiPUR-US and OEKO-Tex certified, their factory in an FDA-registered facility and they are a BBB A+ rated company. All of their mattresses are made with 100% renewable solar energy, so a mattress you can feel good about. Instead of fiberglass, NaturalForm uses 100% natural Merino wool from herds in Australia.

Saatva

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Saatva is known for its luxury mattresses. With several models, you are geeting the white-golve treatment with at-home install and removable of your old mattress.

None of the Saatva mattress use fiberglass as fire retardant. Instead, Saatva states that their “mattresses are made from high-quality materials — and we only use safe, nontoxic ingredients for our flame retardant, like natural thistle (plant-based fiber made mainly from wood pulp) and organic New Zealand wool.”

PlushBeds

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PlushBeds’ organic latex mattresses are manufactured free of fiberglass. Instead, PlushBeds uses “patented fiberglass-free, plant-derived organic cotton to prevent fire hazards.” The natural latex mattresses from PlushBeds use a GOTS-certified, 100% organic, cotton cover with hypoallergenic properties. The cover is wool-free, vegan, animal-free, and has a fiberglass-free fire barrier derived from plant fibers to protect from fire hazards.

Helix

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We love seeing “regular” mattress brands going the extra mile and manufacturing fiberglass-free mattresses. Helix makes this statement: “Fiberglass had traditionally been used to provide fire retardancy in mattresses but can be dangerous if exposed. At Helix, we do not use fiberglass in any mattress model.”

And now you can lay your head on a safe mattress for as low as $1,000 for the Queen! Made in the U.S., no fiberglass, with mattresses designed for kids and adults (and even a model for RVs),

Big Fig

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The mattress designed for bigger figures. If you are a heavier sleeper, or couple, laying on a fiberglass mattress is of utmost important. Over the years, a solid mattress designed to sustain heavier weights, will be less subject to wear and tear. Should your mattress be build with fiberglass, the fibers may end up getting damaged quicker, leaving you with a serious health threat.

The Big Fig mattress is designed to hold up to 1,100 lbs of total body weight, and they state that instead of fiberglass, the company uses a blend of natural fibers to retard flames.

Bear

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Bear manufactures mattresses with a commitment “to providing mattresses that allow for the best, healthiest sleep possible — which means ensuring our customers aren’t exposed to any health-hazardous materials while they sleep.” Instead of fiberglass, Bear is “proud to say that all of the mattresses in the Bear lineup — the Hybrid, the Pro, the Original Bear — are 100% fiberglass-free thanks to our exclusive partnership with EcoFlex™, an environmentally friendly, inherently flame-proof rayon.”

We love that Bear has the following certifications: GreenGuard Gold and CertiPUR-US.

Brentwood Home

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Brentwood Home is a MADE SAFE company, so you can sleep soundly at night, knowing that your purchase benefits your health and our planet! All Brentwood Home mattresses are non-toxic and fiberglass-free, including their crib, toddler, kid, and adult mattresses.

Brentwood Home is GreenGuard Gold, GOTS and GOLS certified, a member of the very small MADE SAFE club, carbon-neutral certified, fair trade certified, GreenGuard Gold certified, and member of the FSC. Brentwood Home is working on 100% Recycled Claim Standard throughout their supply chain and it is the first home and bedding brand achieving the UL Environment Landfill Waste Diversion Validation on their way to zero waste.

Happsy

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Happsy thinks of fire retardancy the right way! They start by building a mattress that uses only materials that are NOT highly flammable. You will find no memory foam in the Happsy mattresses. Instead, they are made of latex, cotton, and wool.

Happsy is one of only 6 mattress manufacturers on the MADE SAFE list. They are also GOTS and GOLS-certified, members of FSC and Rainforest Alliance, GreenGuard and UL validated, Green America certified, and featured on the Zero Toxics product registry.

Happsy is a company that gives back and is a member of several other associations you can check out here.

Lullaby Earth

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We will end our non-exhaustive list of fiberglass-free mattresses with Lullaby Earth. Lullaby Earth provides non-toxic sleep to our youngest family members exclusively.

Those Made In The USA crib mattresses have found a way to meet Flammability Standards without using any fire barrier! They state that “with the exception of organic mattresses, nearly all crib mattresses on the market contain some form of flame retardant chemicals, including phosphates, boric acid, brominated chemicals, chlorinated chemicals, fiberglass, silica-infused rayon, and others. Some of these flame retardants are marketed as “natural” and most manufacturers rarely disclose what chemicals are actually used. We believe the safest flame retardants are none at all.”

Lullaby Earth is a MADE SAFE company, GreenGuard Gold, UL Validated, and registered on the Zero Toxics Product Registry.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Fiberglass in mattresses, comes in the form of a cloth and is usually stitched into the mattress cover. It is a dangerous material when airborne and inhaled and is used as a cheap fire retardant in mattresses.

Yes. Unfortunately, airbone fiberglass is small enough to enter nose, mouth, and lungs. It can irritate skin, eyes, and lungs, as well as induce vomiting, and asthma-like symptoms.

Since most companies are not forthcoming with the information, you should either email mattress manufacturers before ordering, or can check the labels attached to your mattress.

Some natural alternatives to fiberglass exist, such as wool or polylactic acid batting. Some natural graphite powder can also be used in vegan mattresses.

You cannot. And unfortunately, once it becomes airbone, you will it everywhere in your home, pillows, clothes, etc. It is nearly impossible to get rid off and most items will need to be trashed.

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What is fiberglass, and why is it used in mattresses?

Fiberglass in mattresses, comes in the form of a cloth and is usually stitched into the mattress cover. It is a dangerous material when airborne and inhaled and is used as a cheap fire retardant in mattresses.

Is fiberglass harmful to human health?

Yes. Unfortunately, airbone fiberglass is small enough to enter nose, mouth, and lungs. It can irritate skin, eyes, and lungs, as well as induce vomiting, and asthma-like symptoms.

How can you tell if a mattress contains fiberglass?

Since most companies are not forthcoming with the information, you should either email mattress manufacturers before ordering, or can check the labels attached to your mattress.

Are there any alternatives to fiberglass in mattresses?

Some natural alternatives to fiberglass exist, such as wool or polylactic acid batting. Some natural graphite powder can also be used in vegan mattresses.

Can you clean fiberglass out of a mattress?

You cannot. And unfortunately, once it becomes airbone, you will it everywhere in your home, pillows, clothes, etc. It is nearly impossible to get rid off and most items will need to be trashed.

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Laura Georgieff

Laura is a mother of three who did not sleep through the night for the first 5.5 years of her kids' lives. She is passionate about sleep quality and loves sharing her experience and knowledge of all thing bedding! It is her mission to help you make the best decisions when it comes to sleep and help you get the best deal on the market!

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