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

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.





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