Is your mattress leaking fiberglass? Here’s how to know

Would you ever voluntarily sleep on microscopic strands of glass for any reason? No, but did you know that tiny shards may be found on literally every surface, even your mattress? Many manufacturers use fiberglass as part of the fire barrier in their mattresses to comply with mandatory flammability standards while keeping costs low.

If you’ve ever shopped for a mattress, you know that there are many aspects to consider, including size and materials, as well as price, hardness, and degree of thickness. Oftentimes, we get so preoccupied with finding the perfect mattress that will last for decades that we totally overlook potentially hazardous ingredients that are not only terrible for the environment but also harmful for ourselves.

These mattresses are often accessible and affordable, which is excellent for individuals who lack the time or money to invest in an expensive mattress due to a pressing necessity or a limited budget.  However, they have no idea that such shopping endeavor may result in a variety of acute symptoms and is highly discouraged by health professionals.

The risks of owning a mattress containing glass fibers

There are many risks associated with having fiberglass in your home. They may easily cling to your clothes, body, and hair, making removal difficult, and, more importantly, they can cause serious health problems. For children and people with allergies, this can be extremely dangerous. There is some debate over studies that looked at the link between human exposure to fiberglass and cancer development. Additionally, glass fibers may irritate the eyes and upper respiratory system and can get lodged in the skin, necessitating surgical removal.

Worst of all, once it has escaped from your mattress, fiberglass is extremely difficult to remove; it can infiltrate your ventilation system, heater, or air conditioner, where it may cause further harm. In fact, it will contaminate everything within your house, including the air, carpet, furniture and clothing. It’s similar to dust that settles everywhere, but it’s composed of small glass shards.

Fiberglass takes a lot of effort to clean up, making it costly and burdensome. Depending on the severity of the problem, removing glass fibers from your house may cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000, or more according to one fiberglass-cleaning expert. Thus, although fiberglass is an excellent flame retardant for mattresses, the health and cost concerns are just not worth it, particularly when there are alternative, better flame-proof materials available.

The glass fiber content in Zinus mattresses has been named in a class-action lawsuit

Recent years have seen numerous reports of consumers being injured from mattresses leaking out fiberglass particles. In a class-action complaint, these customers claim that their Zinus mattresses have a flaw that allows fire-retardant glass fibers to leak into their homes.

The manufacturer rejects the accusations, stating that their mattresses are safe and comply with all relevant government standards and that the fiberglass used in its mattresses is industry standard and exceptional in fire protection. Some manufacturers, such as Zinus, who admits to using fiberglass in their mattresses, claim that the fiberglass is tucked away in the mattress’s inner cover, which is seen to be a safer option.

Avoid removing the inner cover

The cover is removable, but removing it can affect your health, and we strongly recommend that you should not do it. When they learn about the dangers of fiberglass, some customers decided to tear the liner of their mattress apart in order to get rid of it, which is a bad decision.

We strongly advise you to follow the following guidelines if you have a fiberglass-containing mattress, or you want to avoid the hazardous glass fibers in your new mattress:

  • Do not unzip the mattress cover – this will prevent an explosion of fiberglass particles from damaging your property and putting you and your family at risk of health problems.
  • If the mattress is damaged or otherwise torn, handle it very carefully; definitely do not unzip or remove the outer cover and consider getting rid of the mattress.
  • Before purchasing a mattress, carefully read the label or consider choosing an organic, fiberglass-free mattress.

How to identify a fiberglass-containing mattress

There are three main ways to tell if a mattress contains fiberglass:

  • Read the label to find out what material your mattress is composed of; search for terms like “fiberglass”, “glass wool” or “glass fiber”.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully; if it states “Do not remove the cover,” it’s most likely because the mattress contains glass fibers. Some mattresses have zips on the cover, despite a “do not remove cover” caution; this zip is not an invitation to remove the cover, but a part of the manufacturing process; thus, avoid touching the zip if you encounter a mattress with a zip or a “never to remove the cover” warning.
  • If none of the previous two are available, this is when you would presume a memory foam mattress includes fiberglass: it was inexpensive and manufactured in China.
  • To rule out the possibility that the mattress contains fiberglass, you may look for clues in the product descriptions, FAQ pages, and customer reviews that can be found on the manufacturer’s website and major retail websites.

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Jonathan Sharp

By Jonathan Sharp

Jonathan Sharp is the CFO at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., a Birmingham-based law firm dedicated to handling cases involving improperly designed or manufactured products, pharmaceutical drugs, as well as exposure to asbestos, cancer-linked chemicals on military bases and PFAS contamination from the use of firefighting foams.