Plenty of nonsense

Plenty Magazine’s Jessica A. Knoblauch is on a mission to rid the world of vinyl, and she won’t let facts get in her way, or science. Yesterday it was vinyl window shades, today it’s vinyl mattresses:

Most students don’t get many zzzzz’s during the school year, so when the head does finally hit the bed it’s nice to know you’re not sleeping on a bunch of chemicals. …And since dorm beds aren’t exactly 5-star quality, pad up your rock hard bed with natural wool mattress pads that are fluffy, absorbent and fire-retardant. Unlike the regulation vinyl dorm mattress, these pads won’t force you to “go to the mattresses” with hormone-disrupting phthalates.

Not only is there no evidence that one can absorb any phthalates from a vinyl mattress from sleeping on one, but even if you did spend hours licking your mattress (treating it as a giant pacifier) there’s still no evidence you’d absorb any specific phthalate in sufficient quantities to experience any negative health effects.

The evidence that some phthalates might be associated with endocrine disruption comes from a study of Chinese vinyl workers, who were exposed to massive quantities of the chemicals in the workplace, and who had reduced sperm counts. Even then, the research did not find that they had impaired fertility.

One Response to Plenty of nonsense

  1. Though there may not be a specific study that examines the absorption of phthalates from a vinyl mattress, several body burden studies over the past few years have found that phthalates are found in pretty much every American ever tested for them, a finding that indicates phthalates are capable of getting into our bodies, though we may not yet know exactly how. Consider a clip from the Environmental Working Group Web site, a highly respected organization:
    “In 2003, EWG published its seminal Body Burden study, finding 210 industrial and consumer product chemical, among them, a half-dozen phthalates, in nine adult Americans who had agreed to submit their blood and urine to laboratory analysis.”
    Partly as a result of this study, in July 2008 the U.S. Congress passed legislation banning six phthalates from children’s toys and cosmetics.
    Clearly, this new legislation indicates that there is a consensus about the health and environmental concern with phthalates use, and I was simply trying to inform readers concerned about this issue on how to avoid as much phthalate exposure as possible. After all, why expose yourself to something when there are other, more environmentally-friendly (and less toxic) options?

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