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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

House Committee Examines Senate Chemical Bill

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From the ISPA (International Sleep Products Association), regarding our government acknowledging the use of chemicals in products:

“The Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the Environment and the Economy held a hearing today on the bipartisan Chemical Safety Improvement Act, a bill currently pending in the Senate. This is a significant action as the House rarely holds hearings on Senate legislation. The legislation would update the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), which governs the use of chemicals in consumer products in the U.S. ISPA is a member of the American Alliance for Innovation (AAI), which was formed to make sure that any legislation to reform TSCA did not burden the industry. ISPA joined members of the AAI in supporting the compromise legislation.

Despite broad support, there has been an effort by some Senators, states and environmental groups to make changes to the legislation because they are concerned with the bill’s preemptive effect on state chemical laws. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is leading this charge and spoke at a recent hearing about making changes to the bill because she fears the compromise bill will limit California’s Proposition 65 and other state chemical laws. The AAI and ISPA support the bill, in part, because of its preemptive effect. The hearing and further action by the house could put pressure on the senate to not make significant changes to the current bill.

Any action on the legislation is not expected until next year at the earliest.

Efforts to reform TSCA in the past have failed but those were partisan efforts. ISPA will continue to follow the progress on this legislation.”

Get a Better Night’s Sleep!

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 poll on exercise and sleep, getting more exercise will not only benefit you by gaining a better quality of sleep, but will also help you fall asleep faster and have fewer sleep problems.

Here are the National Sleep Foundation’s definitions of the types of exercise found in the chart below.

“In this self-report measure, vigorous was defined as activities, which require hard physical effort such as: running, cycling, swimming or competitive sports. The next level, moderate, was defined as activities, which require more effort than normal such as: yoga, thai chi and weight lifting. Light activity was defined as walking, while those who do not do any activity classified themselves into the no activity level.”

National Sleep Foundation Results

To view the full summary of the Sleep in America Poll®, click HERE.

Where do you fall on the chart?

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.

FTC Cracks Down on Manufacturer Greenwashing

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An important announcement yesterday from the Federal Trade Commission marked a major accomplishment in the fight against greenwashing. At OMI, it is our goal always to offer the purest products available, and it is great to see that fraudulent greenwashing claims are being prosecuted by our governmental agencies charged with protecting consumers. This will help consumers determine what is truly organic and healthy and what is just marketing hype.

The FTC has brought actions against manufactures and/or retailers for the following false assurances:

  • Claiming products do not contain formaldehyde, toluene, or phenols in their latex mattresses
  • Claiming their rubber is “chemical free”
  • Claiming that their mattresses contain no toxic substances
  • Claiming that their mattresses contain fewer contaminants and chemicals than other companies’ memory foam or latex mattresses
  • Inadequate tests that show their mattresses do not contain any VOCs or chemicals
  • Ficticous and misleading logos
  • False certifications

Here is an excerpt from the July 25th, 2013 FTC announcement:

“Under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission, three mattress manufacturers have agreed to stop making unsupported claims that the mattresses they sell are free of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
 
In addition to challenging the companies’ VOC-free claims, the FTC charged that two of the companies made unsupported claims that their mattresses were chemical-free and lacked odor.  The FTC also challenged one company’s claim that its mattresses are made from 100 percent natural materials, and another company’s claim that its mattresses were certified by an organic mattress organization.

In settling the FTC’s charges, the companies have agreed not to make similar claims in the future, unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to prove they are true.  In addition, one company is barred from making misrepresentations about certifications.”

For the full article and links for more information on the FTC announcement, click HERE.

To see a full list of OMI’s certifications, see our Purity Guarantee HERE.

Doctors Prescribe Sleep

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In today’s world of go-go-go attitudes, many people don’t find time to get a full night of sleep.   After a short night of sleep we all feel the effects: drowsiness, a lack of energy and just not feeling up to our full potential.  But what other effects are caused by not enough sleep?

Recently the New York Times published the article “Cheating Ourselves of Sleep,” in which they discuss the many harmful effects of the lack of a full night of sleep:

“Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.”

To see the full article click HERE.

Remember to take time for yourself.  Get the sleep your body needs!

DCA Considers New California Fire Retardant Regulations

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SACRAMENTO – California Department of Consumer Affairs Advisory Board Member Walt Bader, President of Organic Mattresses Inc. (OMI), reviews public comments on proposed new upholstered furniture flammability standard.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs held hearings on their proposed California Technical Bulletin 117- 2013 on March 26, 2013, and the DCA Advisory Board reviewed all public comments in late April.

Among the comments made by Board Member Bader was a suggestion that there be an exclusion written into the new legislation allowing a consumer to opt out of having to purchase any products incorporating flammability treatments by providing a medical exception.

Bureau Chief Tonya Blood advised the board that they had decided to include this language in the new regulations. Bader provided significant input regarding the 54 individual public comments that were suggested, and the legislation will go forward with the recommendations and comments of the board.

Bader stated that he felt it was a good standard and one that was created with excellent input from industry stakeholders.

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