Published on April 12th, 2013 | by Andrea Bertoli
From the Archives: How Healthy is Your Bedroom?
A few years ago, Eco Karen created this great post about easy ways to ensure that your bedroom, where we spend about a third of our lives, is as healthy as possible. As your spring cleaning gets underway, it seems like a good time to revisit this important topic!
Though we often think of our bedroom as a sanctuary, it is important to know that there are some potential dangers in your bedroom. Mattress, paints, woods, bedding and other items can contain dangerous compounds that your and your family face every night. These simple tips below will help you clean out some of the worst offenders and learn about other steps you can take to improve the health of your sleepy haven.
Pillows and Bedding
If you are looking to buy new pillows, choose natural latex pillows instead of petroleum based synthetic foam or polyester filled pillows. Synthetic pillows will emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can cause headaches, nausea, eye and throat irritation– not something we need our faces in every night. Some people might even experience asthma attacks due to these toxic chemical emission. Natural latex are allergy proof and will emit no toxic gases.If you suffer from allergies, you can allergy-proof your pillows by using pillow casing to prevent dust mites. It’s also recommended to toss out those throw pillows because they can be another host for the little mites.
As for your sheets, try to find organic cotton, silk, or hemp sheets which are healthier and often more sustainable. Conventionally grown cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop, and it’s often genetically modified too. Cotton production uses 16% of the world’s insecticides that are dangerous to human and animal health. By choosing organic cotton or hemp sheets you will save gallons of water, pesticides and bring healthier products into your home. To be sure, the organic sheets can be expensive, but I found my beautiful organic cotton sheets at Target, and they’ve lasted for years and are much more comfortable than the others I’ve owned! This is just as important if you are purchasing for your home or for your college dorm room. If you are searching for college bedding, we have a post in our archives about greening your dorm room too!
Most conventionally made mattresses contain fire retardants (polybrominated biphenyl ethers, or PBDEs.), stain and moisture resistant chemicals that are toxic to humans. In fact, over 71 chemicals are used in making a mattress. It’s also treated with a recently classified carcinogen Formaldehyde. Although PVC was banned from being used in crib mattresses in 2009, those that are made prior to 2009 still may contain it. The next time you buy a new mattress, buy natural latex rubber or mattress made with organic cotton. They will have no VOC and no PVC or Pthalates. If you can’t afford a new organic mattress, Care2 recommends buying an organic wool and organic cotton mattress topper too keep the healthiest stuff closest to your skin.
Keep the room clean
There are many things you can do to keep the bedroom clean from unwanted dirt, chemicals and energy:
Shoes from the outside shouldn’t be worn in the house as then can track toxins from the outside world into your bedroom, and onto your bed.
Unplug electronic devices (especially those near your head) which create electromagnetic fields (EMFs), in addition to stressing your out and interfering with sleep. Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese interior decorating rule for life balance, bans any electronic devices in the bedroom, including T.V.
Clean up the ‘stuff.’ If you want to use candles for some relaxing or sexy time, choose soy candles instead of paraffin wax, which emits VOC’s. Choose rugs and flooring made from natural materials too. If you can, choose real wood for furniture instead of particle board or composite woods to further decrease exposure to chemicals.
Sweet dreams, from your friends at Green Living Ideas!