Effective January 1, 2005, California law requires all mattresses contain chemical based fire retardancy for "public safety". This law may become national within a year, and is under consideration by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. California residents can buy chemical-free organic mattresses with a letter or prescription from a doctor, which can be mailed or faxed to at time of purchase. Unfortunately, this legislation may eventually extend to organic bedding and organic clothing.
The primary chemicals required to meet state and federal flammability guidelines include Boric Acid (which effectively kills roaches), PBDE's, Formaldehyde, Decabromodiphenyl Oxide, Melamine, Zinc Borate, Vinylidiene Chloride, and Antimony Trioxide.
Up to 1 1/2 pounds of these deadly chemicals saturate just the surface of a larger size mattress!
It's not that legislators aren't aware of the toxicity and health risks of these chemicals. The law grudgingly nods to purchasing organic mattresses by prescription only. Imagine having to pay a doctors visit just to purchase organic bedding and clothing as well. For those with health insurance, an inconvenience. For those without health insurance, a potentially devastating and insurmountable health menace.
Your family spends 8 hours every day lying prone on mattresses, and will steadily inhale these toxins for years. This is being mandated by law regardless of scientific proof that these chemicals are highly carcinogenic, cause high prenatal mortality, birth defects, reduced fertility, plus liver, kidney, brain and heart damage. Americans with allergies, asthma and multiple chemical sensitivities, are keenly at risk. Infants are notoriously vulnerable to Boric Acid poisoning.
The authors of the legislation have good intentions, and expect to save 300 lives every year from mattress-ignited fires. Over 40 years, this law could harm more than 100 million people as a direct result of chemical saturation.
Organic bedding with wool fill and organic mattresses, naturally meet and exceed fire retardant standards in all cases, but will never contain a dram of toxic chemical inputs.
If this law becomes national, doctors will hopefully suffer an epidemic of writers cramp, and judging from their strenuous opposition to this legislation, will be more than happy to continue writing prescriptions for safe, healthy organic mattresses, and if necessary, organic bedding and clothing as well.