There are some who believe that the modern tightly sealed house and it's indoor air environment is worse than the known outdoor air pollutants. These beliefs are based on the toxic nature of our new fire proof furniture, flooring and bedding.

In the Journal Indoor Air, Dr. Boor looked at the particulate matter found in your bedroom during the 8 hours that you sleep every day. He measured the dust that is kicked up when a person sleeps at night on their mattress. He used the artificial dust as a surrogate for dust mites, skin cells, microbes and chemical dust.

Rolling 360 degrees kicked up large plumes of dust while sleeping on one's back had little effect on the dust. Knowing your sleep pattern will determine the toxic effect of your movement. Sleeping with the blanket over one's head increased the inhalation of dust particles. Historically, we used to only worry about allergens like dust mites for allergic patients. The evolving field of environmental medicine has changed this belief in a negative way. It is likely that the chemicals being used in our products are vastly more troublesome to us than mild allergens.

Vacuuming your mattress and washing your sheets will help control the particulate matter. For allergic patients, this information is keenly appropriate to help reduce reactions while spending a third of one's life horizontal. For the rest of us, I see the microbes as useful to challenge our immune system while I dislike the notion of being exposed to fire retardant chemicals.

Multiple studies have noted that modern mattresses, especially the newer crib mattresses, emit volatile organic compounds and other fire proof chemicals that are known to be toxic in volume. See EWG's website for more information on safe bedding for your children.

Mitigating these risks by doing a few simple things seems only prudent:

1) Look for products without these chemicals in them

2) Have a few indoor house plants in your bedroom

3) Air out your bedroom frequently by opening your windows and venting

4) Vacuum your bed and wash sheets weekly

5) Eat lots of vegetables and fruits that contain natural chemicals that help our system detoxify

Dr. M