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The science of toxicology uses high dose short-term exposure on various animals to predict the affect of low dose long-term exposure on humans. Chemical exposure risk greatly increases with, close contact, and length of exposure. For an infant born today this exposure on a mattress will be eight or more hours per day, every day, for the next seventy years or more.

Boric Acid, a chemical made from the reaction of Sulfuric Acid and Borax, should not be confused with Boron salts that occur in nature. Boric acid is the raw stuff. It occurs in nature in only one place in the world -- A steam vent in Italy where Sulfuric Acid mixes with Borax. (Microsoft Encarta)

Cutaway Photo of Boric Acid Innerspring Mattress

 

This mattress cutaway shows how Boric Acid is used in mattresses. The layer at the surface is fluffy cotton batting treated with Boric Acid. The layer next to the springs is compressed cotton batting treated with Boric Acid. The law label tells us the mattress contains: 47% Urethane Foam, 39% Treated Cotton, 13% Polyester Fiber. By weighing the cotton batting in the mattress and assuming 10% Boric Acid by weight, Boric Acid treated mattresses would contain the following amount of Boric Acid in each mattress:

Amount of Boric Acid in Mattresses by Size

Size Pounds Ounces Grams Miligrams
King 1.8 29 824        824,000
Queen 1.5 23 659        659,000
Full 1.2 20 553        553,000
Twin 0.9 14 386        386,000

Here is how Boric Acid is applied to cotton batting: Generally applied in the mixing machine prior to garneting, boric acid is introduced to the cotton fibers along with a small amount of oil and chemical surfactant. To further achieve even distribution and adherence to the fibers, the boric acid is ground to a very fine consistency prior to application. Applied as a white powder, boric acid is inorganic and is odorless. (NCBI) Thus you can see Boric Acid is not chemically bound and exists as loose dust in the surface of our mattresses. As the mattress gets older and oils dry out even more Boric Acid will kick up into our faces with every body movement for us to breathe and absorb.

Human fatal single dose of Boric Acid reported at 2 g. Children, 5 g. Adults. There are already 6,453 US cases of Boric Acid Poisoning every year. Our calculations show young children could be poisoned by sucking on boric acid mattresses.

These mattresses also contain Antimony. The CPSC extraction studies show cotton batting flame proofing systems contain 2.4% Antimony. Based on cotton batting weights measured above mattresses would contain the following amounts of Antimony:

Amount of Antimony in Mattresses by Size

Size Pounds Ounces Grams Miligrams
King 0.43 7 198       197,760
Queen 0.36 6 158       158,160
Full 0.29 5 133       132,720
Twin 0.22 3 93        92,640

Most government agencies say there is no safe level of Antimony absorption.

By assuming, without data, that we will absorb only 2/1,000's of Antimony and 9/100,000's of Boric Acid, that has leached through our mattress and is in contact with our bodies, the CPSC says we will absorb a daily dose of .802 mg Antimony and .083 mg Boric Acid, every day for the rest of our lives. Of course, the real number could be much higher. Many people don't want to absorb any poison from their mattress and would rather take the one in one million mattress fire risk.