The following is an article that my dad and I co-authored in 2009 before he passed away in 2012. My deepest gratitude will always be to my father who helped me at every step of my life. -Willow
By Willow Whitton & Michael Whitton
Should we be concerned when we lay our babies into their cribs and/or beds? They’re just there to rest and sleep, right? We understand this quality time is for their restoration, health, and growth. The last thing we want to find out is the air they will be breathing and the bedding and mattress they are sleeping on might be harmful for them.
An adult breathes in and out 15-20 times/min. An infant breathes 30-60 times/min. A toddler breathes 24-40 times/min. A pre-schooler breathes 22-34 times/min. The simple math is that a toddler, while resting or sleeping in their bed will breathe in and out 15,360 times a day, just during the time they are in bed. This figure would be even higher for an infant. As parents, what our children breathe is of great importance to us.
In 2006, the Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC issued and updated their rules for mattress manufacturing regarding “fire regulations” and “fire retardants”. This was the first update since the creation of the Rules in the 70s. The CPSC Rules (16 CFR Part 1633) states that mattresses must be fire retardant. Mind you, this is a good thing, in and of itself, problem is, that in the manufacturing process, chemicals are commonly used to accomplish this purpose. In doing so, a potential health hazard for our children is created. This article deals with the problems chemicals pose and offers a better and more natural bedding solution.
Although these flame retardants pose great risks to human health, there are no current REGULATIONS IN PLACE THAT REQUIRE manufacturers TO inform people regarding, the flame retardants they use. Due to patents and such, the majority of bed manufacturers will not disclose chemicals used in their “fire retardant” process, for fear of divulging their proprietary secrets and rights. As consumers, we have the right TO NOT BUY a mattress IF full disclosure of its contents HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN. As a parent, it is your right, to know about everything your baby/child is breathing while either resting or sleeping.
While it is generally accepted that fire retardant rules and regulations are good intentioned, it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for the cumulative effects from “any & all” chemicals that might reach our children. Everywhere you turn, as a consumer of children’s goods, at nearly every turn, you get “the buck passed to you”. Usually stating or claiming “insufficient data to evaluate this product”, or “at this level and at this exposure, this poses no immediate health threat to human life”. As parents, the buck stops here. As parents, we are responsible for the cumulative effect of everything in our children’s lives. We are told, over and over again, that exposure to, contact with, or breathing small amounts of chemicals poses no imminent health risk(s). But, as parents, we are keenly aware that it is the cumulative effect we are concerned about, not the single or exposure or contact with questionable chemicals or agents.
In the Federal Registry publication of the Final Rules (16 CFR Part 1633), reads the following: “The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) & the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will continue to evaluate the potential effects of fire retardant treatments to ensure they do not present a hazard to consumers, workers, or the environment.” What we have here is a situation where the long term effects of the chemical fire retardants are not fully known. At best, the rules/regulations concerning bedding are a work in progress. Only time will tell what the eventual outcome will be. As a consumers, we need to be aware of all that is in our children’s environment and world.
The Natural Solution: Wool Bedding
The very best thing a parent or consumer can do would be to completely bypass the entire issue of fire retardant chemicals by purchasing a natural bedding mattress with thick outer layers of wool. By its very nature, wool is fire retardant. A mattress wrapped in wool satisfactorily passes every fire test available and no chemicals have to be used. By meeting the Federal CPSC rules (16 CFR Part 1633) and then producing a natural bedding mattress without chemicals, the better of 2 worlds is accomplished (fire retardant and natural bedding). Additionally, it IS A SUSTAINABLE RAW MATERIAL THAT NOT ONLY IS NOT HARMFUL BUT IS ACTUALLY HEALTHY FOR YOUR BODY.
Furthermore, wool is naturally dust mite free, resists molds, and is naturally hypo-allergenic. Many commercially made mattresses achieve these same attributes, but unfortunately, do so by using harmful chemicals. Unintentionally, the chemicals contribute to the cumulative effect of one’s exposure to harmful diseases. As consumers and parents, avoiding exposure to chemicals that are not listed, due the guarding of a manufacturer’s proprietary rights, is a better choice. You also have the right to choose a chemical free ORGANIC bedding for your child.
If your child has allergies, asthma, and/or chemical sensitivities, you might want to consider the choice of AN ORGANIC MATTRESS, wool pillow, or a wool comforter. When is comes to natural bedding, wool has many forms. Consider all of your options.