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The Dangers of the Foam Crib Mattresses

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Baby-sleep-comfort

During the in first years, infants and toddlers spend at least 50% of their time sleeping, so it is essential that the time is spent on a healthy and comfortable mattress. Here is a great article, “Keep Your Baby off that Foam Crib Mattress,” by Katherine Martinko from Green Home, that discusses the dangers of the foam used in many baby products such as crib mattresses, car seats and more.

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What do crib mattresses, cushioned car seats, and change tables all have in common? Yes, babies use them, but all of these items contain foam. This is problematic, since foam releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment. VOCs come from the variety of resins, catalysts, solvents, and adhesives that are used in the manufacturing process, and they continue to volatilize long after production.

Chronic exposures to low levels of VOCs have been linked in the past to infant allergies, asthma, and lung infections, but researchers have now done something different. They have measured the actual quantity of VOCs being emitted in a sleeping baby’s bedroom, and what they found is quite scary.

Researchers from the University of Texas, led by environmental engineer Brandon Boor, analyzed 20 new and used crib mattresses made from either polyurethane foam or polyester foam. In a bedroom-sized chamber with a heated steel cylinder to imitate the heat released by a sleeping infant’s body (which would speed up the release of VOCs), they compared measurements of VOCs within the room (10 feet away from the crib) and within the infant’s breathing zone (2.5 cm/1 in above the mattress).

According to Chemical & Engineering News, they found 30 different VOCs, including some that are classified as environmental pollutants and developmental disruptors. New mattresses released four times as many VOCs as old ones on average.

But most importantly, they found that VOCs were significantly higher in the infant’s breathing zone than in the middle of the room, which is serious when you consider that many infants sleep 12-14 hours a day in close proximity to foam.

The good news is that consumers don’t have to wait around for the industry to fix itself. There are alternative solutions that use latex, natural rubber, organic cotton, eucalyptus fibre, and/or coconut coir fillings, and are coated in organic cotton or wool, which are natural flame retardants. If you’re looking for a crib mattress, start by checking out this helpful list at Inhabitots. If you can’t afford a natural mattress, one of the study’s coauthors recommends setting aside a new mattress for six months before bringing it into the house, giving it time to off-gas sufficiently.

Check out our previous blog about OMI’s certified-organic crib mattresses, Providing a Safe Sleeping Environment.

For more OMI product information, click HERE

In Step With Our Carbon Footprint

blogphoto_earth_day_kids_earth_globe_hands-504x334 Bedroom Magazine recently posed the question, “What does your company do to reduce your carbon footprint?Below is the response to that question from OMI’s President, Walt Bader:

 “A carbon footprint is actually two footprints. The primary footprint is the total of all direct carbon dioxide emissions you personally produce or are responsible for. During our manufacturing process we produce zero. Even our forklift trucks are electric. Certainly, we contribute when we fly. We do not operate our own delivery services and we own no trucks. Secondarily, we source raw materials as close to our point of manufacturing as possible: wool from California, cotton from Texas, fabrics from the southern United States and all our packaging and materials are manufactured locally.

We completely recycled our scrap, and you would be hard pressed to find a garbage can on the floor. From the outset, OMI has been wholly dedicated to supporting America’s organic farmers, and thoroughly supports both the spirit and goals of reducing carbon footprints throughout the world.”

To learn more about the steps OMI takes to ensure our factory is as efficient as possible, check out our previous blog, Our Dedicated Organic Factory

A Look Inside the OMI Duo

Here is an informative video featuring Whitney, OMI’s National Sales Manager, discussing the key features of the OrganicPedic® Duo.

For more information on the Duo mattress, click HERE, or check out our previous blog about the benefits of the Duo Mattress, How Opposites Attract…the Duo.

Top 10 Sleep Myths Debunked

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After reading this article from the Huffington Post, I was fascinated to learn that I believed at least 5 of them!

Sleep Myth: Eight hours of sleep is a luxury; six hours is realistic.
Truth: Sleeping should not be treated as a luxury, but as a necessary part of total health. People who get the proper amount of sleep feel better, look better and are overall in better health. This is a major step to enjoying life more. I always tell people that it is hard to enjoy life when you are too fatigued to do what you like.

Sleep Myth: If I don’t get enough sleep at night, I can make up for it with a nap during the day.
Truth: While naps can rejuvenate you enough to get through the day, they are not a permanent solution to sleep deprivation. If you must nap, avoid them after 3 p.m. or you’ll affect your ability to sleep at night, creating a vicious cycle.

Sleep Myth: The weekends are a great time to rest for a long week ahead.
Truth: You can’t “bank” sleep and store it up for the future. Although being well-rested will help you cope a bit better with lost sleep, sluggishness will set in.

Sleep Myth: Hitting the snooze button will give me a few extra minutes of rest I need to feel energized.
Truth: If you’re snoozing, you’re sleep-deprived. Sleep does not come in nine-minute intervals, so be realistic about the time you need to get up. I like hitting the snooze alarm one time and doing light stretching with the light on. This gives you a gentle way to wake up.

Sleep Myth: I’ll learn more if I pull an all-nighter and cram for a test.
Truth: If you pull an all-nighter, your memory may fail you during that big test. It’s during the REM stage of sleep that we consolidate memories from the day before. If we are trying to learn new information and skimp on sleep we won’t remember as much information.

Sleep Myth: If I wake in the middle of the night, I should read a book or watch TV until I become sleepy.
Truth: The bright light from your TV or lamp will only wake you up further.  If you get up at night, go into another room and keep the room dark. I suggest meditating or doing light stretching until you feel ready for sleep again.

Sleep Myth: Exercising near bed time will keep me up at night because I’m too “energized.”
Truth: Exercising near bed time may keep you up at night, but that’s most likely because your body is too hot.  Your core body temperature must cool down before you can have a restful sleep. The optimal time for exercise is four hours before you plan to go to bed.

Sleep Myth: As I get older, my body requires less sleep.
Truth: Research has shown that as we get older we still need the same amount of sleep as when we were younger. In fact, older adults need to spend more time in bed to get the same amount of sleep, thanks to the aches, pains and medications that wake them up at night.

Sleep Myth: Snoring may be annoying, but it’s harmless.
Truth: Habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including sleep apnea, which can result in high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Not to mention the impact that snoring can have on your quality of sleep and that of your sleep partner!

Sleep Myth: Lack of sleep may make me feel tired, but it doesn’t have a severe impact on my health.
Truth: The consequences of even one hour of sleep loss for one night can be an increase in heart attacks. The masses of the sleep-deprived have a higher risk of illness – from heart disease, to Type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression. 

For the full article click, HERE

To ensure you get a great night of sleep, be sure that you get enough sleep at night, don’t hit that snooze button, avoid watching TV and reading in the middle of the night, be sure to exercise early and remember that all-night study sessions really don’t work.

So here’s to a good night’s sleep and debunking some sleep myths!

The Science and Value of Organic

There are (literally) tons of benefits of choosing organic products. Check out this report from The Organic Center recently released by the USDA about the impact you can have by making an organic purchasing choice.   

The Organic Center Organic Report

For the full report click HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Should Americans Fear Their Furniture?

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James Redford and Kirby Walker, directors of “Toxic Hot Seat” at Napa Valley Film Festival in California

Airing tonight on HBO is a documentary that explores the chemical-laden flame retardants contained in much of today’s furniture.

Here is an excerpt from the article, Should Americans Fear Their Furniture? by New York Times author Jane Margolies:

The pet hairs and red wine stains on sofas across America, it turns out, should be the least of our concerns. The real issue is what is in the foam cushions we curl up on every day: up to two pounds of flame retardants.

In their HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” scheduled to be aired on Monday, the directors James Redford and Kirby Walker disclose that these chemicals, as used in home furnishings, do not stop fires. They do, however, whoosh out of seat cushions when we plop down, hitching a ride on airborne dust and ending up in our bodies. They have been linked to cancer and other health disorders.

The film explores how a 1975 California law requiring retardants (Technical Bulletin 117) became widely adopted. And it follows the firefighters, scientists, health advocates, state legislators and investigative journalists who brought attention to the chemicals, leading to a recent reform of the California mandate — which the directors, who spoke from their homes in the San Francisco area, applaud.”

For the full article click HERE.

This issue was previous explored in the OMI blog “Makers of Flame Retardants Manipulate Research Findings.”

We at OMI continue to use a safer system that allows us to use organic wool as our only flame retardant. As a result, our mattresses are able to pass federal flame tests without the use of toxic chemicals or silica barriers. To use any form of chemical flame retardant in our products would violate our ethical standards and integrity. We stand by our purity so you and your family can have a safer place to rest your heads at night.

To learn more about OMI and the certified products we offer, click HERE

Are You Sleeping on an Oil Field?

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Here is an excerpt from the article “Are You Sleeping on an Oil Field?” by Channaly Philipp, about the health risks of traditional foam mattresses and the benefits of organic:

If you sleep on a conventional mattress (like most people do), you’re spending a third of your life lying on toxic chemicals. If this little-known fact has you tossing and turning, read on.

Since the 1960s, mattresses have been made of polyurethane foam, a material derived from petroleum that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The popular memory foam mattresses are made from this material.

But VOCs are only part of the cocktail of chemicals in foam mattresses. Required to be flame-resistant, foam mattresses are imbued with flame-retardant chemicals that can cause cancer and nervous-system disorders.

Walt Bader, a sufferer of a condition called multiple chemical sensitivity and the author of “The Toxic Bedroom,” had several mattresses analyzed by a lab in Atlanta in 2005. One memory foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals.

The next year, he published the first definitive list of chemicals outgassing from memory foam mattresses.

Nine of these chemicals are recognized as carcinogens by just about every significant health organization in the world,” Bader said on his website. “And do you know what has happened? Nothing.”

The outgassing is not only nefarious to people who suffer from respiratory issues, but some of the chemicals are also known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

As more people become educated about what they’re sleeping on, they are turning to organic mattresses and bedding in greater numbers.

.Organic mattresses, made of natural materials such as wool, cotton, and rubber latex, present an alternative to conventional mattresses and are becoming increasingly popular.

Wool is a natural fire retardant, and is excellent for regulating temperature and air circulation—a boon for anyone suffering from night sweats. The natural materials are also resistant to dust mites, which are a trigger for asthma and allergies.”

For the full article, click HERE.

You snooze, you….break the law?

SnoringOuthouse Who would have thought that there are laws about sleeping? Where are these ridiculous laws, and why did lawmakers feel that they were necessary?

Check out these strange sleep laws:

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma has a law that prohibits people from sleeping while wearing boots. However, wearing shoes to bed is perfectly acceptable.
  • In Minneapolis, Minnesota it is illegal to sleep naked, even in your own bed, in a home that you own.
  • In different parts of Maryland, a woman may not go through her husband’s pockets while he is sleeping.
  • In Clawson, Michigan they have a law that makes it legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, or chickens.
  • In the state of Washington it is illegal to sleep in another person’s outhouse without having their permission first.
  • In Logan County, Colorado it is illegal to kiss a sleeping woman.
  • Although it is thought to be common knowledge that sleeping while driving is highly dangerous, Tennessee ensures that there is no confusion by having a law that makes driving a car while sleeping illegal.
  • Pilots in Tulsa, Oklahoma must sleep 10 hours before flying two planes in one day.
  • Pennsylvania law prohibits people from sleeping on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
  • In Delaware it is not only illegal to sleep on a public bench it is also illegal to pretend to be sleeping.
  • Sleep laws do not apply to just humans but to animals, too. In Santa Ana, California it is illegal to let a horse sleep in a bakery.

So when you go to sleep tonight, make sure you are not wearing your boots while sleeping on top of your outdoor refrigerator (but only if you are in Tulsa or Pennsylvania).

Add A Little Softness To Your Life

As you are transitioning your bedding from summer to winter, think about adding a layer of comfort to the surface of your mattress with a natural rubber topper.

The Allura

Allura

This 2″-deep natural rubber topper offers surface softness without taking away the support of your mattress.  It’s made with a single core of USDA certified organic natural rubber latex sap, and covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.

For more information about OMI pillow tops, click HERE.

 

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