Back in October, 2011, we received quite a lengthy and detailed response from Dr L A Stiglich to our ‘How do I Trust that my Mattress is Organic’ posting noting that:
“While wool would pass the old cigarette test for mattresses, it will not pass the new open flame test. These mattresses either use chemically treaded wool, another chemical system, or rely on chemically treated cotton batting (Boric Acid and Antimony) to pass the open flame test. According to a sizeable amount of research data collected during a pre-bedding purchase, there are no natural, chemical free, or nontoxic systems that pass the severe open flame test. Even what they call “inherently fire resistant” fibers contain chemicals in the fiber itself. There are no labeling requirements for the FR chemicals in mattresses. Thus, most mattress manufacturers deny using chemicals. It is unfortunate that even “Organic” mattress makers often claim to use no chemicals .” You can read the entire comment on the ‘How do I trust…’ post
In the recent Lifekind (Holiday, 2011) catalog, we see the F A Qs answer to the question:
‘Do Lifekind mattresses meet federal flammability standards?’ with the response:
Yes, primarily because organic wool is a natural fire retardant. In 2008, we proved to the U.S. Product Safety Commission that a mattress could be made without fire-retardant chemicals and still pass all federal and state standards.
Not much detail but perhaps they feel that the use of borates and phosphates (if that’s what they use, since no details are given) is far superior to the previously used PBDE fire retardants. We’ll continue to explore the question of the ‘chemical free’ aspect to organic mattresses and we invite further response. In the meantime we’ll be getting our chemistry degrees so we can sort out some of the current information on the internet.