August 6, 2010 (Newswire.com) - David King, the UK Government's chief scientific adviser has called climate change 'the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism'. But what part, if any, does a mattress contribute to the problem? It may come as a surprise that a mattress does, in fact, contribute to Global warming.
Regular spring mattresses are treated with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as fire retardants, which contribute to CFC emissions in our atmosphere. These compounds are extremely toxic to the environment. When PBDEs are manufactured, they are released into the air, water and dirt. Furthermore, they are not biodegradable, though do experience some degradation due to the sunlight, but eventually lay beneath lakes and rivers. Strikingly, it has been demonstrated that high levels of PBDEs can cause neurobehavioral issues and possibly cancer. Similarly, the presences of CFCs in treating regular spring mattresses are also responsible for having a negative effect on the environment, by depleting the ozone layer.
As we know understand, CFCs are a cause of global warming, so mattresses treated by means of CFCs and PBDEs are contributing to the damaging corollaries of global warming upon the environment. For instance, as global temperatures rise, oceans will warm up, and the water will consequently expand, resulting in global sea level rise. As Spencer and White have noted, by our actions to date we have already committed the world to steady sea-level rise for hundreds of year into the future. According to them, the best estimate of global sea level rise over the 20th century is 17 centimetres and a further increase in global seal level of 20 to 60 centimetres is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the 21st century. For low lying countries a rise of one meter in sea level would be devastating. 10 million people live within 1 metre of sea level in Bangladesh, and over 100 million people within 1 metre of sea level. Subsequently, homes may become uninhabitable, possibly resulting in up to 3 million new environmental refugees each year, which is estimated to be 150 to 200 million refugees by 2050 as a result of global warming.
However, in contrast to regular mattresses, many memory foam mattresses are treated without the use of CFCs or PBDEs, meaning the contribution to global warming in this regard can be avoided. Indeed, quality memory foam mattresses have made CFCs and PBDEs dated in production, opting for more environmentally friendly and non-chemical alternatives. Thus, because of the non-toxic treatment and manufacturing of memory foam mattresses, it has been demonstrated that they have little negative effect on the environment.
Moreover, not only may a double memory foam mattress therefore reduce harmful effects on the environment, they also provide a more prudent alternative when one considers their longevity in comparison to a regular mattress, and their ability to be easily cleaned. Thus, potentially less mattresses and beds would need to be thrown out, with a reduced number of landfills around the world strewn with dormant mattresses, no longer bed worthy.