Friday, January 21, 2011

Protect them from their beds!

At 7:30 this morning when I opened my eyes, to the sound of Gavin rustling around in his bed, it hit me.  He didn't sneeze?  Not once?!  For as long as I can remember, Gavin has been sneezing the minute he opens his eyes.  His consecutive sneezy salute was always my cue that he was awake for the day, so when I heard him talking and rolling around, I was surprised that he was actually awake for the day without his usual routine.  Then something else hit me, last night was his first night on a new allergen-free pillow!  IT WAS THE PILLOW!!

I knew we needed new pillows, and I had waited too long after buying all the necessary things to protect them from their chemical-laden mattresses, but I couldn't find anything suitable.  A child's pillow needs to be washable and finding a natural, allergen-free alternative that could be washed wasn't easy.  Then one day recently, I received a daily deal newsletter from Mamapedia and it highlighted a company called CleanRest that was created by the father of a child with severe allergies, I was relieved to not only finally find pillows for our kids, but to get them at half price!!  And heck, I didn't even have to step foot outside for this purchase, it was ushered right to my computer and eventually to my front door!  For $22 (their full price) these pillows are washable, water resistant, breathable, allergen and chemical free and they carry a lifetime warranty!  How can you beat that?

So last night was our first night using them and clearly Gavin was effected by his old pillow, which I am embarrassed to say, I hadn't even thought of! 

Antimony in our mattresses
When both kids had elevated antimony on their hair tests (Gavin also had very high phosphorus) I immediately knew it was their mattresses, because I already knew not to put pajamas on them that had been treated with fire retardant (AKA - antimony)....well, for all of Gavin's life anyway.  We learned from Grayson's experiences.  When Grayson's first hair test came back with elevated antimony, I stopped using those pajamas immediately, but didn't know much about the toxins in his bed.  And of all places to not address toxins, we spend nearly one third of our lives there, and infants over 50% of their lives!! 

How exactly DO we protect ourselves from our beds?
If you don't have enough money to go out and buy yourself a nice cushy all natural latex mattress, and I would assume that most of us can't afford to go out and replace all the beds in our homes, then there are much less expensive ways to protect yourself from the multitude of chemicals in your mattresses.  Antimony isn't the only danger lurking in your peaceful place.  Included in the list of chemicals you are encountering nightly are: adhesives, petroleum based foams, plastics, vinyls, fungicides and pesticides.

Here is a link sharing multiple stories of people who came down with sudden ailments after buying new mattresses. Just click on "health problems from mattresses" on the left to see the stories.

In other countries like New Zealand, they have even gone as far as to prove that SIDS is the result of a baby inhaling all of these chemicals.  You can read about it and buy crib mattress wraps here.  We use this mattress cover on Gavin's crib mattress.

This is taken directly from their website
Crib death (often referred to as SIDS) is caused by gaseous poisoning, the gases being phosphine, arsine, and stibine (and/or derivative gases).  These toxic gases can be generated from the mattress where a baby sleeps.  They are formed by the action of common household fungi (e.g. Scopulariopsis brevicaulis) on  compounds of the elements phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony (respectively) within the mattress which are activated by a baby's body heat.  The crib death risk increases as a mattress is re-used from one baby to the next since mold grows exponentially.  New mattresses have been shown to begin off-gasing (releasing the toxic gases into the air) after 1 month of a baby sleeping on it.  See our Analysis page for more info about mold in bedding.

  Household fungi become established in nearly every mattress which is slept on, and in underbedding (sheets/blankets slept on) which is washed infrequently.
The risk of crib death can be virtually eliminated by ensuring that babies sleep on mattresses (and other bedding) known to be free from the above elements.  The BabeSafe range of bassinet and crib mattresses complies with this specification.  All other types of crib mattress should be enclosed in a BabeSafe slip-on mattress cover.  BabeSafe is made from a thick polythene material that is 125 microns thick, it is a type of plastic but does not cause sweating.  Not just any plastic will do, only polythene (125 microns +) will prevent gases from escaping into a baby's bed.  Any other plastic is permeable to these gases and is therefore useless in preventing crib death.
Interestingly, three of the elevated heavy metals in our kids' hair tests were antimony, phosphorus and arsenic!  Not all of them were over the safe range, but they were on the high side of safe and for both, antimony was over safe!  I am not one to wait for things to get really bad to react.  I prefer to choose prevention.  This was a warning sign that my children were being poisoned by their beds.

For $28 you can encapsulate a twin mattress with food grade polyethylene just like the crib mattress covers above.  They also carry larger sizes.

Once we covered their mattresses, we needed something to put over the plastic so they wouldn't feel the crunching below them and of course, those water resistant mattress covers you buy in the stores are also treated with chemicals as well as containing many harmful materials such as PVC, pthalates and and more.  I found an organic 100% cotton mattress cover for each other their beds and topped that with 100% organic cotton sheets.  Remember that each child needs at least two of the mattress pads and sheets, in case of the inevitable midnight accident.  When one is in the wash, the other is on the bed.

In closing, just imagine this, the average child is surrounded in a chemical-laden haven every night with their mattresses, mattress pads, sheets, pillows and pajamas....for much of their life.  I see no better way to spend my money than to eliminate these toxins from my child's life!

And just for the record, since replacing Grayson's bedding and chelating with DMSA (which removes antimony in addition to mercury and lead), his Antimony levels have not only come down to the normal range, but they have come down even below that! 


Hannah said...

Hi Jessica,
Is there any way I can email you? I have so many questions....

Jessica said...

Hannah, My e-mail address is Please feel free to e-mail me directly.

Kara said...

May I ask where you got your organic mattress pads? All I keep finding is ones with organic cotton tops with unorganic fill.


Jessica said...

I actually bought our organic mattress pads from an E-bay seller. They are an online vendor too, but the E-bay prices are better! Here is a link to their E-bay store.