VOCs, PBDEs and PVCs. Even if you aren’t quite sure what they are, chances are pretty good you’d rather not be sleeping with them. If you have a conventional mattress, made from polyurethane foam and non-organic fibers, you’re spending half your life in bed that emits a chemical cloud.
In fact, thanks to a 1973 U.S. law requiring mattresses to resist cigarette ignition, fire-retardant PBDEs, a brother of PCBs, which cause immune suppression and cancer, among other things, are sprayed on conventional mattresses. According to The Complete Organic Pregnancy, women in the United States, where PBDEs are still used, have 66 times the amount of the harmful chemical in their breast milk than women in Sweden, where the use of the substances are banned.Read more
We spend about one third of our lives in bed. It’s a time when our body regenerates itself. We release about 3 liters of water while we sleep, and our bodies go through cycles of cooling down and heating up. We also absorb substances through our skin and through our lungs. So keeping one’s bed toxin-free is optimal.
To create a non-toxic bed we must ensure that the mattress, pillows and sheets are free of toxins. Unfortunately, in the U.S. it is quite difficult to acquire a non-toxic bed without a lot of searching and expense (a recent article in the New York Times explains the tangled situation). So here’s a guide to finding a inexpensive, chemical-free bed:
Folding beds have been around at least since the 1920s. The original Murphy Bed Company still exists and is selling beds today. Other companies making contemporary folding beds are: Modern Wall Beds, whose birch bed is pictured here (prices start at $1795). Bonbon in the U.K. makes elegant folding beds, but they are pricey. Others companies offering folding beds are: Regin Sleep System and Rocker Woodworking and Hardware. A long discussion of folding beds can be found on Apartment Therapy. One reader posted a good overview of designer folding beds. She says:
The designer of this bed wants you to turn the “wasted” space under your bed into a convenient, dust-proof storage with this organizing system. This 12-drawer bed features four drawers on each side, as well as four drawers at the foot of the bed that extend the full length of the bed’s frame. The frame comes in double, queen, and king sizes, and you can use the mattress you already have.