We’ve had several enquiries about various new chemical-free bio-based flame retardant treatments and coatings for natural mattresses being sold by other companies (such as M-Pure), which claim to be made purely from natural sources.
As we have shown with our campaigning, we would be happy to welcome any chemical-free advances in mattress technology. Manmade products are not all good or all bad, nor are natural products especially when you consider most poisons and toxins are natural like arsenic and cyanide.
Unfortunately, it has been very difficult to obtain any detailed information directly from the treatment manufacturers to support the claims that the bio-based coating is chemical free.
We are simply told by mattress manufacturers that the treatment is a pure and biological solution to treat natural mattress fabrics to meet the UK flame-retardant standards. It is a treatment which is applied to fabric made from bio-based materials and, according to some mattress retailers, uses raw materials produced from the dairy industry – so certainly not Vegan friendly!
We checked with our friends at Chem-Sec who have researched into this area. Here is a quote from Dr Jonatan Kleimark, Senior Chemicals Advisor at Chem Sec*:
Bio-based materials are a bit more complicated than you might think. There are pitfalls and aspects worth considering that shouldn’t be forgotten:
The intrinsic properties won’t change
When it comes to chemicals, hazardous properties are hazardous properties – no matter where the building blocks come from. In other words, chemicals aren’t inherently safe just because they are produced from biobased building blocks. DEHP or BPA are, for example, just as hazardous to human health and the environment when produced from biomass as they are when produced from fossil sources.
There are several different types of bio-based flame-retardant treatments and coatings for mattresses coming onto the market. Naturally companies are guarding the ingredients and methods of production as they file for patents. Until the patents are granted and published, full details will not be available.
However, Trademarks can be a useful source of information. This details the product by classification. For example, the Trademark classifications for M-Pure are shown below. It is interesting that this treatment is classified as a ‘chemical preparation for use in providing fire retardant properties’ and ‘chemicals for use in the manufacture of flame-retardant coating.’ So, if this product is chemical free as they claim, why are they filing it as a chemical fire-retardant coating?
Cottonsafe® – Simply organic cotton and wool and not a chemical of any kind in sight.