By Gail Marsh
Many RVers switch out the original bed mattress that comes from the RV factory and purchase a memory foam mattress or “bed-in-a-box” as a replacement. A foam mattress might be more comfortable. But it might be dangerous, as well!
A hazmat team wearing full-body protective gear recently entered a home near St. Louis, Missouri. The team was called in to clean up a fiberglass hazard caused by a mattress. Yes, a mattress. The entire home was filled with tiny shards of glass released from the mattress when a young mother removed the mattress cover. She wanted to wash the cover and since it featured a handy zipper, she had no reason to suspect any danger.
Once disturbed by the removal of its cover, fiberglass dispersed immediately into the air. Helped along by the HVAC blower, the glass bits were soon everywhere. Fiberglass was found throughout the home: in the toys, on the furniture, in clothing, pillows, curtains, everything! The glass fibers irritated family members’ eyes and throats. The glass shards caused tiny cuts to their skin, too, causing itching and irritation. The entire family of five had to leave their home until the mess was professionally cleaned.
Glass fibers in bedding?
It turns out that many manufacturers routinely put fiberglass into their mattresses. Why? Fiberglass makes the mattresses more fire-resistant. The Consumer Products Safety Council has received numerous complaints about fiberglass inside foam mattresses and recommends that consumers check the mattress contents tag before ever removing the cover.
Not every foam mattress has fiberglass inside. However, I recently checked the foam mattress that we bought to replace the RV factory original. Turns out our replacement mattress contains 64% glass fiber! I immediately bought a new mattress cover. I used the new one to “envelope” the foam mattress, along with its cover. When needed, I can safely remove this mattress cover and not risk the fiberglass nightmare.
Don’t make the costly (and hazardous) mistake others have made. Do not remove the mattress cover! Even if the cover has a zipper. First, make sure you know what’s inside your mattress and take precautions to stay safe.