Flame Retardant Chemicals in Baby Mattresses

By law, all baby mattresses in the USA & Europe have to be flame retardant. What this means is that if the mattress is exposed to a naked flame it won't instantly go up in flames increasing the danger to those around it. Thankfully the USA & Europe have safety standards in relation to this and in theory all baby mattress manufacturers are supposed to subject their mattress models for smoldering & flammability testing to recognized Test & Certification laboratories. 

In Europe, the test houses use cigarettes like their US counterparts for the smoldering test, whereas for the flammability test Europe uses a Bunsen burner type flame as opposed to the USA who use what I can only describe as being close to a flame thrower. You gotta admire the Americans.  

Cancer Risk

In order to slow the burning and any spontaneous combustion of a mattress, flame retardant (FR) chemicals are normally added to the mattress. The bad news here is that these FR chemicals are quite nasty. They are not good for our health. 

In 2018 the European Chemicals Agency identified a risk for children from exposure to the flame retardants TCEP, TCPP and TDCP1 in flexible polyurethane (PUR) foams in childcare articles. Based on the screening assessment, a risk for carcinogenicity from exposure of infants to TCEP, TCPP and TDCP was identified.

  • The highest risk was identified for baby mattresses.
  • The high risk level for baby mattresses is explained by a large contact surface area and a long duration of contact (approx 14 hours a day).
  • A risk for reproductive effects from TCEP and TCPP in mattresses was furthermore identified.
  • Almost all mattresses contain FR chemicals.

This is the Good News Part

Pure Zees baby mattresses are inherently flame retardant and require no addition of obnoxious FR chemicals. We have undergone FR tests in the UK, the EU, and the USA and passed them all using our modern components which allow us to achieve this amazing and satisfying result. We know other manufacturers will eventually follow our example but for now they are being slow about it and persist with foams that require the chemicals. But we predict that soon enough more and more concerned consumers will drive these companies to rethink their manufacturing process. 

See here an image of our US 16 CFR 1633 flammability open flame test after 16 seconds. And the one below that after 30 minutes - it did not go up in flames.

 baby mattress flammability test

baby mattress flammability test after 30 minutes

And done successfully without the FR chemicals - Happy Days!

The Tests