Are you snuggling up to toxins?

An introduction into the unregulated textile industry.

Its long been known that most mattresses are drenched in harmful chemicals that are problematic on both the environmental and personal health front. Most of your clothes, bedding and blankets are also doused in harmful chemicals, mostly formaldehyde. The textile industry which is under-regulated both domestically and internationally, utilises a number of chemicals to turn rough fibres into soft colourful textiles.

All bedding made of polyester, cotton blend or advertised as ‘wrinkle free’ almost certainly contains formaldehyde, a highly toxic poison that is absorbed by inhalation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s annual Time Use Survey, Americans aged 15 and over sleep about  8 hours and 45 minutes each night. Being exposed to “wrinkle-free” bedding treated with formaldehyde for almost 9 hours a night is a worrying phenomenon, as such long periods of exposure to a known carcinogen can increase your risk of cancer.


  1. Polyester and Cotton Blend Bedding

    Polyester, a synthetic fabric that begins its life as a crude oil is mostly blended with natural fibres such as cotton to give that breathable feel used in clothing, bedding, diapers, sanitary pads and mattresses among many products. Without labouring the issue further, the point about polyester is that because it is essentially a form of plastic, it is highly flammable and needs to be treated with flame retardant. Flame retardants are highly toxic chemicals that can be both inhaled and absorbed through skin contact.


  2. Wrinkle Free Bedding

    Most wrinkle free bedding is achieved with a chemical treatment that includes the use of formaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical that has been linked to cancer and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

  3. Organic Cotton Bedding

    Making apple juice from organic apples, does not make the apple juice organic. The same applies to textiles. While organic cotton implies the fibres to have been grown free of chemicals, this does not necessarily mean that the fabric has not been bleached, dyed, treated with brighteners, wetting agents, lubricants, stabilisers, complexing agents… etc.

    In fact, a fabric that is advertised as being made from 100% cotton is likely to be made of 80% cotton and 20% formaldehyde, polyacryl, softening agents and brighteners.

—> Unless the bedding you’re buying is OEKO-TEX certified (or certified by another third party), there is no guarantee that you are not snuggled up safely.

Here’s what you need to do to sleep easy: 

  • Avoid wrinkle free bedding

  • Always wash your bedding before use

  • Always purchase Oeko Tex certified bedding

  • Work towards the disclosure of the use of formaldehyde in our bedding.

Mariam ElshafieComment