Minimize chemical exposure

Childhood disorders have been rising dramatically. These disorders include autism, ADD/ADHD, asthma, allergies, cancer and more. They were extremely rare only thirty to forty years ago. While the sources for this dramatic increase in childhood disorders is not fully known, there is mounting evidence and good reason to suspect environmental factors, particularly toxic chemicals, as playing a significant role.

Children are far more vulnerable to toxic chemicals than adults, especially within their first few years of life. Naturepedic recognizes this increased sensitivity and is on a mission to curb this epidemic by avoiding questionable chemicals in the first place. Naturepedic follows third-party standards like GOTS, MADE SAFE, and GREENGUARD when determining  what materials/quantities are appropriate for use and are considered "non-harmful."

“Today, children are exposed to thousands of substances in the environment, most of which have never been tested for toxicity to children... The implications of this massive experiment in exposure are unknown. Environmental toxicants are suspected to be correlated with many disorders that, until recently, have been assumed to be genetic in origin... attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder, and autism are among the disorders that may be linked to environmental toxicants.”

Center for Children’s Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

“... EPA has determined that infants up to age two are, on average, ten times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and for some cancer causing agents are up to 65 times more vulnerable... children accumulate up to 50 percent of their lifetime cancer risk by their second birthday... many chemicals linked to mutagenic activity are commonly used in consumer products and can contribute to children’s exposure to carcinogens.”

Environmental Working Group, Children’s Health Policy Review, EPA Cancer Policy Revisions Highlight Risks to Children

Made Safe Logo Certification - made with safe ingredientsMade Safe Logo Certification - made with safe ingredients

protecting human health and the ecosystem

MADE SAFE certifies products made with ingredients not known or suspected to cause human health harm. The materials used by Naturepedic have been scrutinized by scientists and experts to help eliminate harmful ingredients, vapor releases, gases, or by-products that could impact human health.

See Certification     View Bedding Report

tested for chemical emissions

UL/GREENGUARD is a third-party certification program that tests for chemical emissions from consumer products and materials. All Naturepedic products are certified to the UL/GREENGUARD Gold Certification as well as the UL formaldehyde-free standard.

See Certification

Greenguard Gold and Formaldehyde Free Certification LogosGreenguard Gold and Formaldehyde Free Certification Logos

advocates for chemical safety

When it comes to chemical safety, we're proud of the relationships we've built

Ecology Center LogoEcology Center Logo
EWG LogoEWG Logo
Zero Toxics LogoZero Toxics Logo
Healthy Child Healthy World LogoHealthy Child Healthy World Logo
Clean Production Action LogoClean Production Action Logo
Blue Cure LogoBlue Cure Logo

WebMD - Is your mattress releasing toxins while you sleep?

“Mattresses are known to release minute amounts of gaseous chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs)... Health effects associated with VOCs range from eye, nose and throat irritation to headaches and organ damage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some VOCs, including benzene, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, have been associated with increased cancer risk.”   read more

Stack of three conventional twin mattressesStack of three conventional twin mattresses


There are some pretty nasty chemicals out there. The more educated you are, the more you can protect yourself and your family. Here are two specific areas of chemical concern worth highlighting regarding kids mattresses.

Worker in factory operating fabric processing equipmentWorker in factory operating fabric processing equipment

chemically treated fabrics

The outer fabric of most mattresses is typically vinyl, polyurethane or a woven fabric made from polyester, nylon or cotton. Vinyl has obvious chemical issues, while the others, even if organic, are often treated for water-resistance using perfluorinated compounds (PFAS), polyurethane coatings, plus various anti-bacterial biocidal treatments and even flame retardants. All of these approaches have toxicity concerns.

In contrast, Naturepedic uses a purer GOTS certified organic cotton fabric. For waterproof models, a waterproof coating made from non-GMO sugarcane is added. In fact, our patented waterproof surface is so pure, it actually meets food contact standards.  learn more


All plastics are not created equal, and polyvinyl chloride (a.k.a. PVC) is one of the most worrisome. In addition to the inherent toxicity of PVC, phthalate plasticizers, stabilizers, fire retardants, biocides, and an assortment of other chemicals are typically added. This particular plastic is far more toxic than the plastic bag you might use to pack your lunch. 

“Phthalates are animal carcinogens and can cause fetal death, malformations, and reproductive toxicity in laboratory animals... children may be at higher risk of adverse effects of phthalates because of anticipated higher exposures during a time of developmental and physiologic immaturity.”  Read more at


PFOA, PFOS (a.k.a. PFAS)

A chemical treatment applied to knit or woven fabrics to make them stain- and water-resistant. These chemicals can be found on mattresses that have a fabric finish (even if the fabric is organic cotton!).

According to the U.S. E.P.A., "There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans... Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals."  Read more at

biocides & flame retardants

Biocides are often added to fabrics as a way to make them "anti-microbial." While this may sound good, these chemicals are actually poison (designed to kill living organisms). At least 30% of biocides are endocrine disruptive, persistent, toxic to water organisms and/or carcinogenic. /

Flame retardant chemicals are also sometimes added to help pass flammability requirements. A common flame retardant chemical used to treat fabrics is antimony (i.e. antimony trioxide/pentoxide, sodium antimonate, and various halogen combinations). Antimony also typically contains arsenic, a known poison and carcinogen.

polyurethane foam

Nearly all mattresses today are made with polyurethane foam (a.k.a. "memory foam", "soybean foam", "plant-based foam", etc.) as internal filling,  often in combination with springs. Polyurethane foam is a predominantly petroleum product made with ingredients associated with numerous health hazards. It also deteriorates over time, breaking up into small dust-like particles that can easily become airborne (releasing VOC’s associated with upper respiratory conditions and skin irritation). Some of the health hazards listed on manufacturer material safety data sheets (MSDS) include: possible cardiac arrhythmias, breathlessness, chest discomfort, irritation of mucous membranes, headache, coughing, asthma-like allergic reaction, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, and reduced pulmonary function.

Block of green colored polyurethane foamBlock of green colored polyurethane foam

how it's made

Polyurethane foam is typically produced by combining a polyol (petroleum based) with an isocyanate (usually toluene diisocyanate or TDI), which is a highly toxic substance.

“Occupational exposure to TDI and other diisocyanates can cause... bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, rhinitis, conjunctivitis... irritation of the eyes, upper and lower respiratory tract and skin.”

The EPA has identified several chemicals used in the fabrication of polyurethane foam as hazardous air pollutants (hydrochloric acid, 2,4-toluene diisocyanate, and hydrogen cyanide).

“Exposure to these substances has been demonstrated to cause adverse health effects such as irritation of the lung, eye, and mucous membranes, effects on the central nervous system, and cancer.”

In addition, polyurethane foam typically contains chemical catalysts, surfactants, emulsifiers, pigments, and other chemical additives. These frequently include halogen compounds, chlorofluoro-alkanes, dichlorodifluoromethanes, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and other well established toxic chemicals including organotin compounds.


Polyurethane foam is a petroleum product, and as such, is extremely flammable. Untreated polyurethane burns hot and fast, posing serious fire concerns (which is why it's generally treated). It also decomposes into deadly and hazardous gases when ignited. In particular, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride, and other toxic gases are released.

Due to its high flammability, industrial strength toxic chemical fire retardants are often added to meet the minimum flammability standards set by government agencies. These additives can have a wide range of adverse health effects, especially as the foam breaks down over time and becomes airborne. Flame barriers are also commonly employed in an effort to shield the foam. These flame barriers are typically modacrylic, polyacrylonitrile or rayon. 

Through the intelligent use of natural materials, Naturepedic mattresses pass all flammability requirements without ANY flame retardant chemicals or flame barriers of any kind!

Boy sleeping on mattressBoy sleeping on mattress

Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

“Experts are generally more concerned about children's exposure to VOCs... By virtue of their age and size, they have heightened vulnerability to potential toxic effects...Consumers are in a very difficult position. It's very hard to get good information about what a mattress contains, and even if you know that, unless you have a good understanding of the different materials it's hard to know what chemicals might be emitted from those materials.”  read more

While some newer specialty crib mattresses don't use polyurethane foam, they generally still contain flame retardant chemicals or added flame barriers. When in doubt, it's always best to ask. No matter how "safe" they tell you the flame retardants are, it's always chemically safer to not need them in the first place!

how are all these chemicals allowed?

Are mattresses labeled "eco" or "green" just as good?

Many specific consumer products are fairly well regulated with respect to their ingredients. These include food, drugs, and other specific items such as lead in paint. There are also various types of regulations for many other consumer products such as pesticides, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, medical devices, and motor vehicles. However, the use of chemicals in most other consumer products is largely unregulated. These include many of the chemicals typically found in mattresses.

The only law that actually applies to chemicals in consumer products is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA, 1976). When TSCA was enacted by Congress, all chemicals then in use (approximately 63,000) were largely exempted from further health and safety testing and thus “grandfathered.” There are so many exclusions and exemptions in TSCA that most new chemicals created since are essentially unregulated. The EPA is also severely limited in regulating the use of toxic chemicals under TSCA. In fact, only 6 chemicals of the approximate 63,000 that were “grandfathered” in 1976 under TSCA have had their uses restricted.

Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Consumer Products

"Most people assume the government polices commercial chemicals in the same way the FDA polices drugs, but it’s not true... there’s no sheriff in town."

(Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Consumer Products, Andy Igrejas, Director of the Environmental Health Campaign, Tony Iallonardo, National Environmental Trust)

"Bamboo" fabric

“... the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) exempts virtually all of the chemicals examined in the report from government oversight and does not provide the Environmental Protection Agency enough power to assess the safety of chemicals in consumer products.”

(Toxic Chemicals Widespread in Consumer Products, Andy Igrejas, Director of the Environmental Health Campaign, Tony Iallonardo, National Environmental Trust)

Not only is it legal to use virtually any chemical in the manufacturing of most consumer products, many chemicals used in mattresses have either been “grandfathered” or, in any event, are largely unregulated.

protecting our children

Many doctors and scientists have become concerned with the toxicity issues of various products, including children's mattresses, particularly regarding the possible effects of these chemicals on our children given their increased vulnerability. The National Academy of Sciences describes four factors that may contribute to children's unique vulnerability to the harmful effects of chemicals.


1) Children’s exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of adults

2) Children are less able than adults to detoxify and excrete chemicals

3) Children’s developing organ systems are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure

4) Children have more years of future life in which to develop disease triggered by early exposure


It is becoming increasingly clear that toxic chemicals are affecting our children. A primary source of toxic chemicals in the environment of a child while developing is the mattress and sleeping environment. Removing potentially harmful chemicals from these prominent objects represents a prudent and wise approach for concerned parents.

Father laying in bed holding up daughter in flying positionFather laying in bed holding up daughter in flying position

Pete Myers, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientist Environmental Health Sciences, co-author of “Our Stolen Future"

“In 1991, at a scientific workshop with Theo Colborn, I coined the phrase ‘endocrine disrupting chemicals.’ There was a lot we didn’t know back then, but we knew enough to be concerned. Since then thousands of scientific papers have been published on the issue, confirming the very real health concerns that these chemicals raise. That’s why it’s so gratifying to me to see that Naturepedic takes these issues seriously, and has designed and brought to market a truly safe mattress, without flame retardants, phthalates, vinyl and other toxic materials and chemicals.... BRAVO, Naturepedic! My granddaughter is sleeping safely today.”