Asbestos is a type of mineral that poses serious health risks to those who inhale or ingest it. Even a small amount of exposure to asbestos is considered risky. Health risks associated with asbestos were not common knowledge in decades past, and the material was used for thousands of applications, including mattresses.
Forms of Asbestos Used
In the construction of mattresses, both raw asbestos and asbestos-containing cloth were used.
Why Was Asbestos Used?
Asbestos was prized for creating mattresses because it is a natural insulator that is also flame-retardant, making it less likely that a stray cigarette butt would cause the mattress to catch fire.
Which Companies Made Asbestos Mattresses?
Many companies around the world made mattresses from asbestos-containing materials prior to the discovery that the material was carcinogenic. Among these were a company based in Leeds, England, known as JW Roberts. This company made asbestos-containing products like mattresses from the late 1800's through 1956.
Other bedding items like rubber sheets and mattress toppers used to be made with asbestos.
What Could Happen to Me If I Slept on an Asbestos Mattress?
If the asbestos fibers in the mattress became airborne and were inhaled, a person can develop pleural plaques, lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, COPD and many other types of illnesses.