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Purifying the Bedroom
Q Are natural mattresses and pillows a better choice?
A Yes. Conventional bedding can be a source of potentially troublesome chemicals.
These include polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, which have long been used as fire retardants in polyurethane foam mattresses and pillows. Like PCBs, they can accumulate in human tissue, says Tom McDonald, a toxicologist at the California Environmental Protection Agency; animal studies suggest they could harm children’s developing brains and reproductive organs. The good news is that PBDE production will be phased out nationwide by the end of this year.
There are also other chemicals in conventional bedding—including bleach, dyes, and formaldehyde—that can trigger chemical sensitivity in some people.
You can keep such bothersome substances out of your bedroom is by investing in a mattress made from a material like organic cotton, which is grown without pesticides and is also more likely to be free of other chemicals. One place to find such natural bedding products is at Ecobedroom ( www.ecobedroom.com ). If you prefer a foam mattress, you might try Ikea, the Swedish furniture company, which has developed a fire-safe foam that contains no PBDEs.
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