Fire retardants in mattresses - Milam Mattress UK
28 December 2021
5 min

Fire retardants in mattresses

What you are sleeping on is extremely important.

Most of us spend the third of our lifetime in bed. So it’s important to make sure that we spend it in a healthy and comfortable environment.

Unfortunately, some may not even be aware that there are a lot of chemicals in their foams. That’s why fire retardants in mattresses can be dangerous. These are substances that are used to prevent or slow down the spread of fire. Obviously, they are necessary. However, these are often used as a group of chemicals – only a few manufacturers use natural materials.

If you don’t pay enough attention to your future mattress when you choose it, or you don’t do enough research, you may easily end up with a mattress with harmful chemicals that have adverse effects on your health. Yes - if you buy a mattress, it could be harmful to your health in the long run without knowing it.

Fortunately, we have many options today to reduce the amount of chemicals surrounding us, including fire retardants. Some mattress manufacturers are more and more conscious of the environment and the overall composition of their mattresses. So in this article, we would like to show you what fire retardants are used in mattresses, and whether chemicals can be substituted with natural materials.

What are flame retardants?

Flame retardants are different kinds of chemicals that have to be used in many products. They are necessary to prevent fire or slow down the spread of fire if the unthinkable happens.

When manufacturers started to use synthetic materials in an extensive way, it became mandatory to use fire retardants in mattresses and many other products in order to make the environment safer.

As a result, the UK and other countries as well introduced many requirements regarding compliance with fire safety regulations.

The main goal here was to create mattresses that can withstand open fire for a relatively long period of time. So if due to candles, cigarettes, or any other items incidents occur, regulations want to make sure that you can leave your home safely.

There have been many concerns regarding flame retardants in mattresses. Since they are chemicals, they can have adverse effects on our health.

Why are people exposed to the harmful effects of flame retardants?

The UK has very strict regulations regarding fire safety. Every single mattress is required to have protection against catching fire. As a result, many products contain high amounts of flame retardants. 

Unfortunately, some flame retardants pose a risk to our health and create a damaging environment.

How does that usually happen? Flame retardants that have been added to our mattresses are released into the environment by off-gassing. Off-gassing means the airborne release of chemicals in vapor form.

Of course, flame retardants have clear benefits when it comes to our safety. But it is also important to take into account what harmful effects they can bring about.

Flame retardants may have many adverse health effects, including:

  • Damage to the immune system
  • Cancer
  • Adverse effects on child development
  • Impacts on the neurologic function

Unfortunately, traditional flame retardants are toxic and harmful to your health and your environment as well. The good news is there are natural flame retardants that keep your mattress safe and healthy.



Natural fire retardants in mattresses

Safety is a very important aspect when selecting your mattress, there is no doubt about it. Certainly, fire safety has vital importance to make sure that our family is always safe in our homes.

There are many types of fire retardants. Flame retardants usually contain bromine, nitrogen, chlorine, phosphate, and boron.

These are toxic materials that pose a risk not only to humans but also to our beloved pets. These materials are released into the air.

Each mattress is required to have a layer of flame retardants; however, these materials don’t necessarily need to be toxic or harmful. Natural flame retardants include materials such as wool or graphite that are safe and healthy materials.

When the family is asleep, you want to make sure that you and your partner or kids sleep on a mattress that has effective fire retarding qualities.

The number one rule is to always find a mattress that is safe for your and your family.

As you can see, flame retardants in mattresses cannot only be chemicals. It may also be a layer of natural material.

More about wool

Due to its great properties, wool is naturally fire retardant. It needs a significantly higher temperature to ignite, and at the same time, it burns slowly.

Wool has a really high water and nitrogen content. As a result, it cannot support flames for a long time. If it smoulders, only very little heat is released. Apart from this, wool doesn’t melt or stick at high temperatures, so it’s really safe.

One of its best properties is that wool will probably self-extinguish before they cause too much damage.

It is not just fire-resistant, but completely natural as well.

Due to its flame-resistant quality, mattresses containing wool are excellent choices for the safety of your home.

More about graphite

Natural graphite powder is often added to natural latex mattresses to create high-quality, healthy, and safe mattresses.

Similarly to wool, graphite is a natural fire retardant material. If it comes into contact with fire, it expands quickly absorbing the oxygen. Since flames need oxygen, graphite prevents burning. Apart from that, graphite doesn’t release harmful toxins.

Buying non-toxic mattresses in the UK


If you would like to buy natural mattresses, Milam mattress is an excellent choice, since all our mattresses are natural.

It’s just normal that we want to get rid of everything chemical as we don’t want to be exposed to toxins in our home.

If you choose our mattresses, you can sleep calmly knowing that you sleep on a fire-resistant mattress, and at the same time, in a healthy and safe environment.

Our mattresses are made of natural latex with organic cotton and wool covers. As we have mentioned above, wool is a naturally flame-retardant material. Apart from that, we add a minimal amount of graphite to our latex so that the mattress has more fire protection.

Not only are Milam mattresses made with premium, natural materials, but the latex is also 100% natural. The mattresses are wrapped into a GOTS certified organic wool and cotton cover. You can sleep comfortably without being exposed to any harmful chemicals.

The Original Milam Mattress is made of the following materials: GOLS certified organic Dunlop latex, natural coir, GOTS certified organic cotton, GOTS certified organic merino wool, and a small amount of graphite latex to comply with the fire regulations in the United Kingdom.

Our mattresses are an appealing choice for hot sleepers. Latex’s open cell structure allows for better airflow between the particles. The mattress cover is composed of breathable organic cotton and organic wool. They have excellent moisture-wicking abilities and are outstandingly breathable. These great qualities help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature.

In addition to superior quality mattresses, Milam offers free white glove delivery.

Closing thoughts

So now we know that most mattresses contain fire retardants. They are used to ensure that the mattress meets all the necessary flammability standards. Their goal is to prevent the start or slow down the spread of fire.

We need to be careful, as these substances are often toxic, so as a result sleeping on mattresses containing these materials is not considered healthy.

However, fire retardants in mattresses can be natural as well, including materials like wool and graphite. So choosing an all-natural mattress is always a good idea for your comfort and health.

If you have any questions about our mattresses, please contact us here.


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