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15 Things NOT In Our Mattresses

Why chemical free and all natural are so important

Shepherd’s Dream was founded over 25 years ago in service to one mission—a safe, chemical-free, all-natural bedroom. At the time, mattress manufacturers were tasked with adding flame retardant chemicals to their mattresses in order to reduce the risk of fires, namely from people falling asleep while smoking. 

When this happens, the mattresses made with synthetic materials begin to melt and drip, as well as release toxic fumes, making an incredibly dangerous situation. The legislation was well meaning, but after decades of this practice, we now have a better understanding of the consequences, and they’re not awesome. 

These chemicals present many problems for the health of humans and our planet, including all the other beings here. Mattress fabrics and components are often made with these chemicals, and those take a verrrrrry long time to break down in a landfill. The sad reality is that all those synthetic mattresses (and furniture and clothing and home items and…) will be releasing these chemicals into the ecosystem long after we’re gone. 

We don’t love being a downer about this, which is why we often choose to focus on the positive aspects of all-natural mattresses, bedding, and home items. But sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves why we do what we do, and to fortify our values-based consumer habits so we remember to continue making the choices that make a difference. 

So let’s take a look at 15 things you won’t find in any Shepherd’s Dream mattress or product—ever!

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But First…Why is This Such an Issue?

We’re glad you asked! The main issue with these chemicals is off-gassing, meaning that these chemicals make their way into the air we breathe. Anyone who has ordered a new standard synthetic mattress and experienced that “new mattress smell” knows exactly what we’re talking about. Some of these chemicals are more potent in the days after it arrives, while others begin to emit over time as they age. 

Considering that our head is on a pillow and our body is directly on a mattress, standard synthetic bedding will create an atmosphere of these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that we inhale. All night long. Every night. For the rest of our lives. 

In the short term, this can manifest as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory issues such as asthma or complication of medical issues like COPD

In the long term, the news is a bit more dire:

  • Cancer
  • Neurological effects
  • Hormonal and fertility issues
  • Organ system troubles involving the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, and thyroid

Yikes! When we consider the health troubles plaguing so many of us these days, those symptoms are pretty hard to ignore. While the causes are complex and multifactorial, clearly our sleep environment can go a long way toward either creating illness or inviting wellness. We vote for wellness. 

So let’s avoid these 15 dastardly chemicals.

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The Dirty 15

First up…the flame retardants!

  1. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  2. Halogenic flame retardants (HFRs)

Then we’ve got our petroleum-based polyurethane foams and synthetic latex. 

  1. Styrene
  2. Butadiene
  3. Polyols
  4. Dimethylformamide (DMF)
  5. Propylene oxide
  6. Benzene
  7. Toluene diisocyanate (TDI)

Moisture barriers for cribs and mattresses often made with vinyl which contains:

  1. Phthalates
  2. Heavy metals

And last but not least, this list may make cameo appearances:

  1. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  2. Formaldehyde
  3. Perfluorocarbons
  4. Trichloroethane
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So What’s In Our Mattresses?

In comparison, Shepherd’s Dream’s mattresses and bedding contain three, occasionally four, pronounceable ingredients:

  • Wool
  • Organic Cotton
  • Natural Latex
  • Recycled Metal Coils (in our coiled mattresses)

That’s it! Just add you for years of healthy, worry-free sleep. We thank you for your trust in our products and business practices.

If you’d like to learn more about the health effects of sleeping with all-natural comfort, be sure to check out these other Counting Sheep posts:

Thanks for tuning in! Give us a follow on Instagram for more healthy sleep tips, and if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our Ewe’s Letter. We don’t spam or share your email (promise!), only sending out periodic emails with insider deals and interesting tidbits. Plus, you automatically receive $50 off your next purchase of $250 or more by earning Dream Points.

Until we see you next time, sweet dreams!


The information in this article, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other materials, are for informational and educational purposes only. No material here is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions or concerns you may have for your care.

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