Breast Toxins in the Bedroom
This section is adapted from my upcoming book, Home Detox (Storey, 2023).
Chronic exposure to items in our bedrooms can impact our health due to the amount of time we spend in them.
Sheets, blankets, duvets, and duvet covers are often made from a combination of cotton and synthetic materials. Read labels carefully before purchasing and look for organic and 100 percent cotton or linen.
Avoid synthetic materials like microfiber, which is plastic, and keep an eye out for names that secretly tell you that an item is made of plastic; they often include the word “fil,” like Pluma-fil.
Organic cotton, linen, and bamboo sheets and bedding are our best options.
Many off-the-rack clothing items are now treated with brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and also test high for heavy metals, formaldehyde, bisphenols, and phthalates. On top of that, many clothes are made of synthetic materials such as plastic, acrylic, elastane, imitation leather (plastic), polyester, and petroleum-based viscose.
Nontoxic fabric options include organic cotton as well as bamboo, flax/linen, hemp, lyocell, silk, and wool.
Dust is made up of natural detritus from humans and pets, including skin cells, fur, and hair, as well as tiny particles from fabrics and all the various materials of our homes. It’s filled with the same chemicals that contaminate our personal care products, clothing, and cookware, like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and BFRs.
Remove house dust with a HEPA filter vacuum and dust often to reduce exposure to toxins which happens when we breathe dust in through our noses and mouths.
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible waves of energy that have been proven to contribute to headaches, anxiety, and even tumor growth. They are emitted from all electronic devices in varying degrees.
The best way to reduce EMF exposure is to turn off your modem at night. Some modem boxes have an on/off switch, and some must be unplugged. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom to reduce ambient light and EMFs. This improves sleep while protecting cells from EMFs.
Mattresses are a primary source of toxins in the home. Synthetic mattresses are saturated with materials that have been linked to breast cancer, including polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and other flame-retardant chemicals that disrupt thyroid hormones. Flexible foam and memory foam mattresses off-gas high levels of VOCs that trigger airway inflammation and sleep apnea.
Natural latex rubber mattress with wool or cotton covers.
Memory foam is everywhere these days; it is one of the most significant toxins in our homes. Most commercial memory foam mattress toppers are made of synthetic polyurethane that contains an incredible number of chemicals, including acetone, adhesives, antimony trioxide, benzene, diisocyanates, flame retardants (including PBDE), chemicals, formaldehyde, heavy metals, isocyanates, lead, liquid carbon dioxide, mercury, methylene chloride, phthalates, polyester, roach killer, synthetic petroleum-based latex, toluene, and VOCs. This caustic cocktail can be especially health-damaging for those who are immune-compromised.
A wool or cotton mattress topper.
Mothballs are an unnecessary toxic holdover from the past. Old anti-moth products, whether balls, cubes, spheres, cakes, powder, or flakes, are all the same combination of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene (PDCB). These chemicals are directly linked to breast cancer. Fortunately, there is no reason to bring this danger into the home. If you already have mothballs, wear gloves or use a disposable rag to pick them up, seal them in a leak-proof container, and toss them out. Then clean all the areas where you have seen moths. Clean hard surfaces where you store fabric, including closet floors, drawers, and shelves.
Wash clothing and fabrics to make them less attractive to moths, which mainly feed on natural materials that have some human sweat and microbe residue. Shake wool blankets and rugs outside, and vacuum them well. Hang untreated cedar rings over hangers and put cedar balls in drawers, and add a few drops of cedar, clove, vetiver, or sandalwood essential oil to the cedar every few months to prevent moths from returning.
We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and our beds and pillows collect enormous amounts of living organisms, like mold, mites, and fleas, that trigger inflammation, and infections. Given the time we spend sleeping and the proximity of the pillow to our airways, synthetic and feather pillows can be a primary trigger for ill health. Synthetic foam pillows are made of polyurethane which emits PBDE. All the chemicals in memory foam mattresses are in memory foam pillows, too, and sleeping on them means hours of deep breathing these toxins into your lungs every night.
Organic wool, kapok, natural latex, buckwheat, millet grain, and cotton pillows.
Detox Your Bedroom Summary Checklist
O Remove items that contain breast toxins from your bedroom
O Deep clean your bedroom to remove dust and chemical residue.