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Michelle Cantrell, of Austin, Texas, unzipped the cover on her daughter’s 7-year-old memory foam mattress to wash it and noticed a tear in the cover. She didn’t think anything of it until several days later when she started itching after putting on a shirt that had been washed with the cover.
She turned the shirt inside out and shined a light on the fabric, “just to see if I could see anything,” she told Texoma’s Homepage. “You could see all the shards of fiberglass just sticking up like knives.” She realized it came from the mattress pad.
The Cantrells bought their mattress from Canada-based DHP Furniture through Amazon. “In order for us to meet U.S. federal mattress flammability standards, many memory foam mattresses are constructed with a fire retardant knit fabric barrier that includes glass fiber threads,” a company spokesperson said. The fibers are concealed under the quilting of the mattress cover on memory foam mattresses and serve as a fire barrier.
The Cantrells hired a decontamination team to clean up the prickly fibers that had settled throughout their house. After six visits, the family still spots a fiber sparkling in the light, causing them to itch or cough. Cantrell also had to throw out all the pillows and blankets and nearly half of her clothes because she just couldn’t get the fibers out of the fabric.
What Cantrell cannot understand is why there was no warning label on the mattress.
Oddly, Cantrell isn’t the only person who has been pricked by glass fibers after removing the covering of a memory foam mattress. Brittney Rodriguez of San Antonio said she followed the care instructions on her 7-year-old mattress, which said, “To Clean Mattress Outer Cover: Machine wash cold in mild detergent. Gentle spin cycle. Dry on gentle air cycle. DO NOT BLEACH, DO NOT DRY CLEAN.” But after following the instructions, glass fibers suddenly coated her entire apartment.
“This stuff gets up your nose, your eyes, and everywhere and it’s hard,” said Brittney’s mother, Maria Astolfo. She called for an estimate to clean up the near-invisible mess and was told it would cost more than $4,000. Like Cantrell, many of Astolfo and Rodriguez’s possessions were unsalvageable.
“I’m frustrated at this point, I’m exhausted,” Rodriguez told KUTV. Astolfo purchased her daughter’s mattress from Walmart and got the name of the mattress manufacturer. The company agreed to refund the full $309 purchase price and are awaiting a separate estimate for cleaning the family’s apartment.
According to Texoma’s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is not aware of any health risks associated with fiberglass in memory foam mattresses or mattress covers. But Amazon reviews show that the problem is not an isolated incident.