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Mattress News What's Behind the Latest Mattress Recalls?

Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Mattress Journal


What’s Behind the Latest Mattress Recalls?

Consumer protection is what’s behind the latest mattress recalls, but many people fear that they may still receive a less than safe product. Understanding the reasons and knowing what to do to protect yourself from buying an inferior product will help ensure you receive a safe bed. Regardless of type or whether you’re buying a mattress online or in stores, practicing the following suggestions will be beneficial and help you avoid buying a bed that is included in the mattress recalls.

Brands & Retailers Affected by Mattress Recalls

The list of companies who have sold recalled mattresses is quite lengthy and encompasses both well-known and lesser known names.  Many of the mattresses which were recalled were produced or imported from China by these retailers. In most instances consumers have been told to contact the manufacturers for replacement.  Here is an overview of some of the recent recalls.

  • Mattress Cloud recalled all mattresses made from August 2011-January 2012. The recall was from failing to meet flammability guidelines and announced in 2013.
  • Easy-Rest recalled about 3800 mattresses in 2013 for failing to meet flammability standards. The mattresses were manufactured in China. The recall is being remedied with a zippered cover.
  • 1500 rebuilt mattresses from American Mattress Mfg. were recalled in 2013 also for failing to meet flame standards.
  • Multiple brands of baby mattresses were recalled for inclusion of chlorinated tris in 2012. Listed as Babies R Us, Foundations, and Angeles brands, these were manufactured in China and sold at Babies R Us, Walmart, Amazon and Wayfair.
  • Mattress renovator Mattress World recalled 750 mattress sets for failing to meet flame standards in 2010.
  • IKEA recalled 1900 mattresses manufactured in Mexico for failing to meet flame standards in 2010.
  • PBTeen recalled 3000 ottoman beds manufactured in Taiwan for failing to meet flame standards in 2010.

Reasons for Recent Mattress Recalls

Most of the mattress recalls were related to banned fire retardants and/or products not performing to Federal flammability standards.

Chemicals. Many of the affected mattresses were manufactured in China, although some originated in the U.S. and Mexico. One of the scariest of recalls involves baby mattresses treated with flame retardants called chlorinated tris which are no longer used in the production of children’s pajamas. These chemicals were associated with increases in cancer and their usage was ended decades ago. Tests confirming their presence in baby mattresses manufactured or imported from China led to deepening concerns. Babies spend considerably more time sleeping than any other segment of the population and thus would be more prone to dangers from breathing toxic chemicals. Mattresses before 2007 may also contain now-banned PBDEs, which lead to a host of health problems.

Flammability. Most of the other mattress recalls were due to ineffective fire prevention which led to the consumer being placed at higher risk of danger when the mattresses were exposed to flame sources. Recent federal and state guidelines require mattresses to withstand an open flame for 70 seconds.

One of these instances was associated with a mattress refurbisher which is a concept many consumers may not be aware of. Cheap mattresses are not always a good deal, as shown by this recall. In this instance, mattresses are refurbished, but were not adequately treated with flame retardants or flame-proof covers and did not meet open-flame requirements. In addition to this, there have been other concerns regarding whether refurbished mattresses are thoroughly sanitized or properly tagged.

How to Avoid Dangerous Products

Concerns over safety have resurfaced for many consumers after these latest mattress recalls. People want to feel safe sleeping in their own beds, and especially know that their children are, too. Federal guidelines for toxic chemical exposure have been set to protect people, just as those set for open-flame flammability standards. However, the two can conflict when manufacturers try to achieve the flame standards with dangerous chemicals.

Know the Type of Fire Barrier

The legislation for fire safety aimed to improve safety in cases where beds come in contact with flame, like a cigarette or candle. Mattress fires don’t only start from people smoking in bed, but may spread from adjoining apartments, an electrical problem or other unforeseen circumstance. Proper application of flame retardants on bedding allow a few extra and precious moments to escape.

However, not all methods used to achieve this standard are safe and manufacturers are not technically required to disclose them. Some may used known carcinogens and dangerous, even banned, chemicals.  The flammability standards can be met using natural and nontoxic substances like wool, rayon, and silica, and in fact the standards were designed to be met without the use of toxic chemicals. Make sure you know what is in your bed before you buy.

Know the Brand/Manufacturer

Knowing the model and manufacturing information when addressing the problem of a mattress recall is very important. This is one product that should have the manufacturer’s label left attached after purchase. Date stamps, manufacturer information, model numbers and article numbers can be found here.  Look and see of the brand has past recalls and what for, and check reviews online.

Know the Manufacturing Origin

How do you protect yourself and family from future mattress recalls? As shown by the problems of the past few years, nearly all of these were of imported products which are not adequately tested to conform to U.S. standards. Buying a mattress online from U.S. manufacturers and asking plenty of questions is your best defense. Make sure the manufacturer can answer the basics about what’s their beds and about safety of materials used.

Protect yourself from future mattress recalls and rest easily by being an informed consumer. People on average spend nearly one-third of their life in bed, making it an important piece of furniture. Most of the mattresses that were recalled were sold in local stores, and many by well-known companies. Ensure the brand you are considering offers transparency. Research where the mattress you are interested in comes from, and be careful when buying imports, which were mostly what were behind the latest mattress recalls.

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