Discovering Toxic Materials in Your Bedroom

Debra Lynn Dadd shares what you need to know when looking for toxic materials in your bedroom, includes tips on safe materials for sheets, pillows, pillowcases and mattresses.

| November/December 2003

  • Where you sleep should be the most comfortable place in your home, void of toxic materials in your bedroom.
    Where you sleep should be the most comfortable place in your home, void of toxic materials in your bedroom.
    Photo By Shutterstock
  • Keep your bedroom healthy and serene.
    Keep your bedroom healthy and serene.
    Photo By Shutterstock

  • Where you sleep should be the most comfortable place in your home, void of toxic materials in your bedroom.
  • Keep your bedroom healthy and serene.

Learn what you need to know about toxic materials in your bedroom.

How to Find Toxic Materials in Your Bedroom

Change the sheets.

The Problem: Polyester-cotton bed linens and “no-iron” cotton bed linens are treated with a formaldehyde-based permanent-press finish to keep them wrinkle free. The formaldehyde resin becomes a permanent and irremovable part of the fiber, and it continues to release formaldehyde fumes for the life of the fabric. (Wash and wear diminishes formaldehyde levels, but residues remain as long as the fabric stays wrinkle free.) Formaldehyde exposure can cause headaches, skin rashes, respiratory problems, fatigue, and insomnia.

The Solution: Choose sheets made from cotton flannel (it doesn’t wrinkle), untreated 100-percent cotton, or knit cotton jersey. Pure linen sheets are a luxury, but they feel wonderful, especially after many washings.



Get rid of foam pillows.

The Problem: Pillows labeled “hypoallergenic” may relieve sneezing, but they’re stuffed with polyester and foam, which are made from crude oil. While these rate relatively low on the toxicity scale, they’re very soft thermoplastics that continuously emit minute plastic vapors as the fiber warms against your body.

sliynu
9/8/2020 7:16:16 PM

Wanting to decrease exposure to formaldehyde isn't "overdoing it." People have been ironing clothes (and, I suppose, household linens—not that this is really necessary) for a long time. The introduction of new lines of UNSAFE formaldehyde-based consumer products, in order to solve a problem for which a SAFE solution already exists, is a regression. Out-of-control commercialist consumerism is not a beneficent market miracle. For short-term growth, it sacrifices people's well-being, intellectual ability, and ultimately the social fabric itself. No one's asking for perfection—they're just asking not to be needlessly poisoned. Formaldehyde doesn't belong in furniture, much less bedsheets.


sliynu
9/8/2020 6:52:44 PM

Wanting to decrease exposure to formaldehyde isn't "overdoing it." People have been ironing clothes (and, I suppose, household linens—not that this is really necessary) for a long time. The introduction of new lines of UNSAFE formaldehyde-based consumer products, in order to solve a problem for which a SAFE solution already exists, is a regression. Out-of-control commercialist consumerism is not a beneficent market miracle. For short-term growth, it sacrifices people's well-being, intellectual ability, and ultimately the social fabric itself. No one's asking for perfection—they're just asking not to be needlessly poisoned. Formaldehyde doesn't belong in furniture, much less bedsheets.


Overdoingit
9/6/2019 6:19:31 PM

That's over doing it, people. Come to face it! Everything has chemicals in it!! We can't spend the rest of lives trying to separate our selves from the inseparable. That'll be like being a perfectionist, perfection cannot be achieved.




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