Saturday, November 26, 2005

Green Parenting Starts in Bed

Beds in the United States are soaked in flame retardant chemicals called PBDE's, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Studies have shown that these chemicals build up in people’s bodies and are found in breastmilk. Baby mice that are exposed to PBDE’s suffer from disrupted brain activity, memory, hearing, and learning ability. Even low doses cause higher rates of hyperactivity in the mice. The European Union has banned some PBDE’s, but the United States has not. Here are a couple of articles on the subject: and LA Times repost.

After MaGreen found out how toxic regular beds in the US are, she started looking for alternatives. Our mattress was already old – I bought it when I was in college – and giving us back aches so it needed to be replaced anyway. You can find all kinds of alternatives if you do an internet search under “natural beds” or “eco beds”. However, we didn’t have a huge budget. Some of these natural beds go for over $2000. Initially, we decided to go with the nicest foam bed from IKEA, which at least meets the European standards on chemicals, but when we got to the store we found out Hurricane Katrina destroyed their bed warehouse.

Then MaGreen found a deal on eBay for a natural latex foam North Star mattress that was used for a few months as a display by The Savvy Sleeper. It was made by Amish people in Ohio. Here are the links about the process: and Basically, someone who lives near the equator collects sap from rubber trees. The Amish people froth it up and pour it over a mould. We bought a frame with wooden slats from IKEA to support the mattress.

Sorry this information isn’t as sexy as the title and picture suggest, but I think it’s a good example of complementarity. The bed is not toxic, less devastating to the environment than a regular bed, not made by anonymous workers in sweatshop conditions, and…hopefully a place where we will enjoy love and passion.

No comments: