Fire retardants in mattresses

I haven't watched the episode of the thyroid secret yet about chemicals , but it struck me the other day that I bought a memory foam topper (a cheaper one) last year. I know enough that such mattresses are the worst offenders for fire restaurants, being soaked through probably, given how flammable foam is.

Two questions:

1/Has anyone benefited symptom-wise from changing to a natural version (wool for example)?

2/ could anyone recommend a type or brand of 100 percent natural toppers?



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73 Replies

  • Good reviews for this one though cannot personally recommend I am tempted to get one, thanks for the highlight!

  • the woolroom. My niece got a memory foam bed and to her dismay it affected her quite adversely. She then learned that they actually seep out chemicals for up to a year. The woolroom cover took care of it all.

  • Unless that cover is air-tight, then I don't see how it could negate the effects of the mattress off-gassing. It appears to be sold as a mattress protector rather than having any claims for health.

  • dunno, she feels that it is helping. she tried plastic between but couldn't take the noise

  • It seems to be the place to go. Will check them out, thanks for replying xxx

  • I am about to start investigating as we need a new mattress and have heard that there are companies who make them without toxic chemicals.

    I was not happy recently after having a new carpet as you cannot opt for chemical free.

    I have switched to natural make-up, skin-care, body products, cleaning products, no hair colour or nail polish and laundry products which will have made a huge difference. The microwave went a while ago too.

    This all helps and am about to have a water softener and filter fitted too!

    Wifi is the next thing to tackle and research on a chemical free mattress.


  • Have you read the book "what's in that stuff?" You'd love it. Also look up #ditchthejunk ..Loads of ideas to rid from your life.

  • Thanks I will check it out. I became aware after watching the documentary series The Truth About Cancer by Ty Bollinger which is just amazing. I also have thermography breast scans rather than mammograms. There are so many lies out there!

  • Aren't there just! You might want to consider becoming a volunteer ambassador for #BCUK (Breast Cancer UK). They suggest having parties with friends where you learn to make your own body condition products etc. I am an ambassador, just started. Have a look.

  • That sounds really interesting..... :o)

  • Sounds great, how did you get involved. ?

  • I was approached by them. They are actively recruiting at the moment. If you contact you can discuss with Nikki. Full training given. X

  • Wow, I've not even heard of thermography scans. Do mind me asking what that involves and where you, presumably, buy these? Xxx

  • Hi, thermography scans involve no contact and are totally safe. They show heat spots so for example when a lump is detected by physical examination or mammogram it has taken around 8 years to get there.

    More info on the website - Rosa comes to my house and I invite people to have a breast or body scan. The DVD is excellent. They are based in Liverpool but have clinics all over the country.

  • Excellent to know this, thanks for the info! Xxx

  • Thank you for this. Soooo useful. I did not know their clinic is so close home!

  • That's ok, do say that Sue Chippendale recommended

  • Hello. I too am reading the info from Ty Bollinger. It is very informative. I refused this year's breast mammogram because it was terribly painful the last time and she had to repeat on one side. I have looked into thermography, with different conclusions from different sources. I am very interested in it tho. I live near London. Had my thyroid gland removed 16 years ago.

  • Thanks, I haven't read that book. Will get a hold of it. Thanks again xxx

  • Sounds good, Sue .... soon you'll have totally healthy house! Xxx

  • cleaning products that are natural have made a huge difference for my asthma. are you going to find something other than wifi?

  • I haven't thought of WiFi.... what are the alternatives? Does it help just to switch off at night? Xxx

  • I think it does, as well as unplugging any chargers from the outlets. More or less just my own thoughts. lol

  • I actually started to unplug or Wi-Fi booster, which is outside the bedroom door, then feel out of the habit. Will start again. Such a simple thing to do. Thanks :o)

  • u r welcome! Good to save energy as well

  • Totally ;o)

  • Is there anything one can do about the radio waves from wifi other than not have it?

  • You can easily avoid using 2.4 GHz wifi in your own house (a bit more difficult to exclude any coming from neighbours)...

    Switch to 5 GHz wifi! 😏📡📡

  • I didn't know there was a difference..?

  • My response was two-pronged.

    First being a bit silly.

    Second quite seriously pointing out that whilst 2.4 GHz (same as microwaves) are "tuned" more or less to water molecules, 5 GHz will be more likely to affect other molecules (though I have no idea which).

    So the impact of older 2.4 GHz wifi (or microwave ovens) is likely different to the impact of 5 GHz wifi. If there is any such impact.

  • Yes it's good to cut down on chemicals etc. However can't afford to have all my amalgam fillings replaced.

  • No , me neither! Especially as I've had two teeth needing to be removed.... Yeah, right next door to each other.... So I'm proper gappy now! Prob vit D deficiency. Have had white fillings put in in recent years, but still have old amalgam fillings. :(

  • Hi

    My friend has a wool mattress and bought it abroad. She said it was expensive but her best ever purchase. Keeps you warm in winter but absorbs sweat in the summer. Great for menopause conditions.

    Same applies to duvets. I have been looking at a wool one - cost circa £200 expensive but natural.

  • I have a silk duvet that cost about £100. So might be a cheaper option, surprisingly.

  • Yeah, it's an expensive do isn't it. I I'm thinking I spend so long in bed at the moment, it might as well be as healthy as it can be. It's just the expense. Will have to wait till next month!.... wool duvet sounds great.... now on my wish list!

  • Mattresses containing wool are readily available in the UK. For example, Millbrook use British wool and make their mattresses in Southampton.

    There might well be other examples.

    Just don't expect them to be inexpensive!

  • If chemicals were the cause of thyroid disease, then everyone would have thyroid problems because chemicals are everywhere. I personally think that my thyroid problem is a result of an inborn weakness that i probably had from birth.

  • Yeah, I agree..... I don't feel either that chemicals are necessarily the cause of thyroid conditions. I jus feel that some people are more sensitive to chemicals than others? I looked into all this 30 years ago when I was first diagnosed with health problems, and I know it's easy to get embroiled in all the many factors which can affect our health. The fear itself causes symptoms, so I'm with you on that.... I guess it's about selecting the things which really ring true, and trying them.... in the hope that it can treat some of the effects, whilst not necessarily treating the cause.... which is where your functional medicine would come in. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Hope all is well with you :o)

  • I actually do believe that chemicals cause Thyroid disease. Out of all the Rhroiid Secret that episode hit home to me. I truly believe that mankinds diet is going to really have to change beyond all recognition and the space programmes we see where aliens drink and eat ready made concoctions, that's what we will have to do. Just think about pesticides alone. You can't just wash your veg in water to rid the chemicals, if you could do that then the rain would wash them off. It's dreadful out there.

  • That's interesting, great to see different opinions on this. Yours has helped me decide to do something about my cheap memory foam mattress! Thanks. Yes, it is utter madness out there! Xxx

  • Thank you 💜

  • For all things healthy (though not necessarily cheap) you can also have a look at the Healthy House website

    You can also research mattresses

    For me off gassing has certainly been a problem due to my hypersensitivity to smells especially chemical ones and I can vouch that retardants stink! Last year I bought a new mattress from a 'normal' shop and for the first two months I could not sleep on it so yes it can affect you. In hindsight my back might have benefited but my overall hormonal health probably did not. I am dreading the day we will need to change the carpets...

  • Thanks for those links..... I shall do some more research into this again.... It's been a while since I felt in touch, and there are so many more choices now..... Thanks xxx

  • Was reading of amateeess last night that sounded really good but apparently full of soy oil so I presume that is a no no

  • I can highly recommend for affordable all-natural mattresses. I did lots of research when I was looking to buy (I was desperate to avoid flame retardants) - they were cheaper than many suppliers and the mattress we bought is incredibly comfortable and very well made. It's natural latex wrapped in organic wool. Worth a visit to their facility to check what sort of firmness suits you best. They have lots of organic bedding options too x

  • Thanks for the link. They look fantastic and reasonably priced too. I have been wanting a new mattress for a while now...these look perfect. I might just have to buy one!

  • Yes we're so chuffed with ours - I would definitely recommend visiting the company if you are going to go for one though. We were going to buy a medium firm mattress from the website - but we decided to pay a visit to test them and ended up going for a firm mattress which is perfect for us. As it's an investment - it's really worth making sure you've got the right one for you. They're really lovely people too! x

  • It's a bit far to go for me in North Yorkshire. I have recently helped my son buy a new mattress and we tried many. I do prefer a softer one, and was looking at a medium. Maybe I will give them a call... they seem to know their stuff!

  • Thanks tiptoes! They sound really . Good if I Could find a cheaper version too! ;o)

  • I know - it's an expensive buy... I really had to persuade my partner it was worth while - for my health (and also his own). All I can say is - in my research - these were the cheapest I found out of all the completely natural, organic options with zero chemicals. (I was also looking to avoid metal bedsprings which can be detrimental to health - but that's a whole other story!) Apparently the mattresses have a lifespan of around 15 years though - so economical over time.

  • it's totally worth it, I know. Had a good look at the site last night - I think I'll have to go with a mattress topper (the horrible memory foam one is like a second mattress on top of another one underneath) - which is ok - still treated, but won't be as bad as the foam one. So, I might get a topper from them. Glad to know you've found your perfect mattress!!! :O)

  • Here are their mattress toppers...

  • Bedding choices -

  • Do you have in the UK ? Again expensive but ....

  • Producing mattresses (and sofas) that are free of flame retardant chemicals in the UK and are also legal is very difficult. Because of this many organic/natural producers cheat - either by including FRs anyway (and lying that they don't and/or being wilfully ignorant of what their suppliers put in the materials they use) or by using the wrong flammability test.

    For example, it is impossible to get 100% latex fillings through the UK's furniture flammability regulations. It is also all but impossible to get cotton through the required test for cover fabrics. One organic company cheats here by artificially stretching their cotton fabrics during testing - thereby squeezing out flammable oxygen - but in the finished product these fabrics will be ignitable.

    Many manufacturers cheat by testing their fillings only to BS7177 - this is the British Standard recommended for mattress cover fabrics under the EU's General Product Safety Regulations. It is a composite test, which means flame is applied to the surface of the finished complete product and it must extinguish in the required time. By law, however, the fillings must also be tested separately under the Furniture Regulations. But manufacturers don't do this, claiming that BS7177 is sufficient.

    Now, you may personally not care if the product is legal, as long as it doesn't contain flame retardants. However, the problem I've found is that if companies are willing to cheat on the testing, they are probably going to cheat elsewhere too. Which means they may well be using FRs anyway. Also, of course, they should at least be warning you that the fillings in your mattress are highly flammable.

    I've advised organic companies that they should get together and lobby the government to get the flammability laws changed but without much success so far, unfortunately.

  • wow, thanks so much for this reply. Reehhheaally helpful. I still haven't bought anything yet, so I'm glad I got to read this first. A lot of members suggest The Wool Room. Do you know of them/know what their approach is? You're so right, customers aught to have the right to buy chemical-free toppers/mattresses. I mean, wool is meant to have a natural fire-retardant element to it? The lanolin?

    I will keep on looking into it. Thanks, once again, for taking the trouble to inform me! :0)

  • I have just contacted the Wool Room; let's see what they come back with. In the meantime, I've sent you a PM with some info you may find useful.

  • thank you! I've read through the PM, and that's helpful too, thanks. I did email the wool room in March, and they said:


    "I will clarify that we do not use any flame retardant chemicals on our toppers or enhancers.

    In order for wool to be made washable it needs to go through a superwash treatment (the same happens with machine washable wool jumpers etc) that removes the scales on the wool fibres that then prevents shrinking and when agitated or washed . This process uses a small amount of chlorine to do this but we then double wash our wool to ensure there is no residual chlorine left.

    So our deluxe wool topper uses this washable wool and our Luxury enhancer uses a small amount of washable wool and non washable British Alpaca. It is this reason that prevents it from being a washable product.

    We have only ever had on allergic reaction and we believe this was due to an allergy to lanolin so I would be fairly confident that you will not suffer with adverse reaction.

    Kind regards


    Chris Tattersall, Managing Director

    t: 01780 460 215 m: 07551 029 029



    Thanks again, Cuileann x

  • Thanks. I'm slightly bothered that they only mention toppers and enhancers. Toppers/protectors/enhancers is a grey area in the Regulations. They're not specifically mentioned, because they weren't around when the Regs were put together. Then, some years back Trading Standards wanted to prosecute someone for selling a slab of foam that TS saw to be a mattress and which didn't comply with the Regs, but the company claimed it was a protector not a mattress. Working with British Standards, we came up with a definition: that if the product has a cover fabric and filling, and can't be washed in a washing machine, then it's a mattress; otherwise it's a protector. This was incorporated into a British Standard and widely circulated. However, it's possible that some manufacturers conveniently did not notice it/ignored it. It would be good to find out if Woolroom does same the same thing for their mattresses proper, and if they see toppers as not being mattresses.

  • Okay, apologies - the Chris I was thinking of does not work for Woolroom.

    A friend of mine has just sent me an email he received from Woolroom in response to him asking them if their mattresses comply with the relevant flammability laws. This is what they said:

    "I confirm that all of our beds and mattress comply with the BS7177 Furniture and Fire Regulations.

    "As regards our mattress toppers we take a slightly different approach as the product is removeable from the mattress and not fixed to the mattress and as such our toppers are not tested to the same standard. Trading standards take a view that due to the removability of this item it does not need to comply."

    This deceptive and wrong. First, he's trying to say that BS7177 is the same as the Furniture Regs. It isn't. My friend specifically asked him if his fillings comply with the Furniture Regs. Clearly they don't.

    Regarding toppers - as I suspected, they have decided these do not need to comply. The bit about Trading Standards is a lie. Trading Standards are well aware of the decision about what is a topper and what is a mattress.

    To summarise, this company is selling illegal products, both their mattresses and their toppers.

  • Omg, that's shocking! Can they be reported? It's very misleading indeed! So sorry it's taken me a while to reply... I've only just seen the email alert now. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to get back to me. I shall go with free company you suggested in this case. It really is awful that people are hoodwinked in this way. :(

  • I have reported this and other similar companies to a friend at Trading Standards. Unfortunately, TS have had their funding cut by 46% which means, believe it or not, they're not in a position always to even buy a mattress for testing unless they're absolutely convinced they'll get a prosecution. And that isn't certain when you're dealing with higher-end products (because the court tends to think TS is wasting their time; also, the company will say they test to BS7177 and the court might just decide that's enough, even if it isn't legal).

  • Health & Safety etc deliberately and systematically cut back -

    The closing of fire stations and cutting of funds across London -

  • I'm hoping someone will join up the dots (might have to be me!) re Grenfell Tower, for example:

    Enforcement authorities' - Trading Standards and fire services - funding cut.

    Gradual adoption of laws that place responsibility in the hands of business/landlords, e.g. the Fire Safety Order in 2005: before it, building owners by law had to pay for a fire risk assessment from a recognised fire safety officer; since 2005 they can do it themselves. Also, the law itself is now advisory, not prescriptive. Hence DCLG using the word 'guidance' the other day when they were trying to imply that that cladding should have been fire-resistant (i.e. it's not law that it should be; just the guidance recommends it - a crucial difference when you're trying to prosecute).

    The way industry is blocking changes to the Furniture Regs with the result that a lot more hydrogen cyanide was in those fumes coming out of the tower than had to be - and the same blocking process no doubt goes on with other proposed changes to fire safety (well, I know that it does).

    A respected doctor telling absolute lies about hydrogen cyanide after the fire, e.g. said that you only get it from old furniture, not new because it's been treated with flame retardants - the exact opposite is true. The FR industry has a history of bribing people with respectable reputations (as they did in the US before getting caught out).

  • ToxicSofa, agreed.

    I said on radio last week that a yellow tape should be placed all around Grenfell (i.e. Crime Scene Do Not Cross) and that ALL computers, emails, documents, paperwork, etc should be immediately seized in order to prevent the possible destruction/deletion/shredding of potential evidence. I got the impression last week that they failed to promptly take possession of all of the material. So God only knows what may have already disappeared.

    Unless people are vocal, health and safety regulations and fire safety regulations will not improve for ourselves, our friends, families, neighbours, communities, etc.

  • I agree. It's either incredible incompetence or something more sinister that no warnings appear to have been given to the local population to get away from those toxic fumes and dust. I know how government works and suspect you're right, that as we speak files/documents are being 'lost'. It doesn't help that Tory Ministers have developed the policy of never having written briefing or meeting notes - so nothing on file if the sh*t hits the fan.

  • If this conversation continues, I'll be out of internet range now till later tonight!

  • I had a long talk yesterday with the country's leading expert on smoke toxicity. He said he'd like to get hold of a sample of the cladding, to analyse it. The kind around Grenfell comes in two basic forms: with or without flame retardants. And that's where it gets complicated, and why it needs a proper investigation. If it didn't contain flame retardants (one panel without is about £23 per metre; with is about £25 per metre) then clearly it would not be fire resistant and flames would spread quickly. However, there are issues with cladding that does contain flame retardants: first, they may well be 'undertreated' - a practice that is common with sofas, and is essentially a scam; second, even if applied properly, they would not make much difference once the fire gets going; third, they give off hydrogen cyanide which means people in the tower suffered a toxic sandwich effect.

    As he rightly said, the key prevention method is design. A building should be designed to contain fire; just as fire resistant materials should resist fire naturally. But people, for various reasons, interfere with design. With sofas and cladding, it's industry wanting to use cheaper materials, which means using huge amounts of chemicals to make them fire resistant. Which opens the door wide for cheating (for profit).

    He also agreed with me that that doctor had suspiciously got it wrong when he said that old furniture gives of hydrogen cyanide but new doesn't because it contains flame retardants (it's actually the other way around).

    There are problems with sprinklers, e.g. water which stands in the system (which is common) can develop Legionnaire's Disease.

    Matt Wrack (General Secretary of the FBU) just wrote to the PM, urging a consultation and a properly run inquiry. He also gave a very detailed list of everything that should be looked at but, oddly, made no mention of flame retardants. (More on this if anyone's interested.)

    Finally, there are associated issues which the government and local authorities will need to look at, not least the fact that any sofas they've supplied to their tenants is ignitable and toxic.

  • What has been mentioned in the papers was the idea that they should have used Reynobond FR - it doesn't just have fire retardants added, it has a mineral core. (I assume that means the entire interior is mineral.)

    Reynobond FR adds an extra layer of protection.

    Reynobond FR is manufactured just like Reynobond PE, but with a fire-retardant mineral core that guarantees higher resistance to fire. These panels meet or exceed national model building code requirements without exception.

  • From the European Parliament, two years ago:

    “Fire smoke contains a lethal cocktail of toxicants, yet there are no European regulations or testing protocols covering the smoke toxicity of construction materials,” reported Prof. Richard Hull, fire toxicity expert from the University of Central Lancashire, at a high-level meeting of fire safety experts organised by Fire Safe Europe, the European Fire Fighters Union Alliance and MEPs Pavel Poc and Christel Schaldemose.

    “Lives are being unnecessarily put at risk by failing to address this issue,” said Mr Poc. “The inhalation of fire smoke causes chronic long-term health problems and is the tragic cause of far too many deaths in building fires.”

  • I believe the non-FR Reynobond contains a polyethylene core, which is flammable. The other, as you say, apparently contains a 'mineral' 'non-combustible core'. I don't know exactly what that means, e.g. what kind of mineral, if it constitutes the whole of the core, and whether or not it has FRs added to it.

    Apparently, US regulations require the use of FR Reynobond but UK regs do not. The Dubai Hotel fire spread via non-FR Reynobond. My expert friend told me that no sales at all of FR Reynobond have ever been made in the Middle East. I think we can assume that the same probably applies to most of the UK.

    Also, I understand that the Reynobond fitted to Grenfell Tower left a 4" gap between the panel and the building which would of course have acted as a powerful 'chimney effect', greatly increasing flame spread.

  • i have read your posts with great interest... and horror! it shows a sinister lack of care for human life doesn't it. The current government are already responsible for a conservative estimate of 90 deaths per months due to benefit withdrawal/being declared fit for work. I read that there is an estimate by an independent organisation of 60,000 deaths so far. Mad, mad world :o(

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