They say that adults spend roughly one-third of their lives asleep (as a parent of young children, I have yet to see these kind of numbers.) And even though it may not seem like it, for babies these numbers are even higher. Newborns sleep almost 20 hours a day while babies up to about 1 year sleep 14 to 16 hours a day. So it's important that the place where they spend the majority of their time is a happy and healthy place for them to be, making a new report about the healthy and safety of crib mattresses even more disturbing.


The report from the environmental health advocacy group, Clean and Healthy New York, found that nearly three-quarters of crib mattresses sold in the U.S. contained “suspect or dangerous” chemicals. According to the report, The Mattress Matters, the group surveyed 28 companies that make most of the standard-sized crib mattresses in this country and found that 72 percent of mattresses use one or more chemicals that raised alarm flags, including certain flame retardants, antibacterials and waterproofing additives. Here's what they found:


  • 72 percent of surveyed mattress models use one or more of the following chemicals of concern: antimony, vinyl, polyurethane, and other volatile organic compounds.
  • 40 percent use vinyl coverings.
  • 22 percent use proprietary formulas for waterproofers, flame retardants or antibacterials, making it impossible to determine the mattresses' safety. 

Disturbingly, 20 percent of the mattresses surveyed were marketed as "green" as manufacturers added thin layers of organic cotton to their production, but the report still found that even those mattresses contained "risky" chemicals in other components.  


The good news is that 20 percent of mattresses sold in the U.S. do avoid the use of potentially unhealthy chemicals. These  mattresses include those manufactured by Land and Sky, Natural Mat, Organic Mattresses Inc., Pure Rest, Savvy Rest, Shepherd's Dream, Sleeptek, Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company, Suite Sleep, Vivetique and White Lotus. And an additional 8 percent also avoid potential allergens. These included mattresses from Vivetique, White Lotus and Naturepedic.


So it's not hard to find a safe place for baby to sleep — you just need to know where to look.


Check out the full report here.

Study: Most crib mattresses contain toxic chemicals
Environmental health advocacy group finds heavy metals and volatile organic compounds on most American baby mattresses.