Month: March 2015

Quality Sleep

On average, Americans spend one third of their lives in bed – sleeping, or at least trying to!

While much has been written about making the third of our day spent working more productive, interesting and rewarding; and much has been said about improving mealtimes with food that is more nutritious, more satisfying, and more interesting; little attention has been given to how we can make our sleep time more rejuvenating!

Now, get ready for sleep spas! Pay $1 a minute and you can enjoy “quality” rest. The creation of Nicholas Ronco, Yelo Spa on Fifth Avenue in New York City is the latest effort by the sleep assistance industry to help the 70 million Americans who suffer from sleep disorders (Source: CBS This Morning March 16, 2015 http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/how-companies-are-cashing-in-on-sleepless-americans )

But what about the rest of us who do no live in New York or do not want to pay for designer naps? What can we do?

Sleep experts recommend sticking to a regular sleep schedule and that a bedroom be well ventilated, outfitted with adjustable lighting and be free of television and/or monitors. However, they often ignore what a person sleeps on! Items such as the bed frame, mattress, pillow, sheets, nightstands, etc. all of which could potentially off-gas chemicals and inhibit a good nights sleep.

Thankfully, industry changes are being made. The next generation mattress has blossomed in the last 20 years. Naturepedic, Savvy Rest, Essencia and many other brands promote eco friendly, organic and healthy sleep products. Like all things, some are better than others but the ultimate goal is to provide safe soft-goods for all.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of bed frames and accessorial pieces sold today are made of composite materials which often contains formaldehyde, toxins, petrochemicals and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most furniture comes from Asian factories where the regulation of potentially hazardous materials is virtually non-existent. Not only do these components emit harmful vapors, but the consumer is exposed to these vapors over the life of the product – a situation that can contribute to long term health issues from allergies to extremely serious disorders such as Parkinson’s and autism.

A good place to start evaluating what you can do to improve your sleep is to determine what kind of bed frame you are sleeping on and what materials were used to make your nightstand and dresser. Are you spending 1/3 of your life breathing harmful vapors from these items? If so, think long and hard about how much your health is worth. It may be time for a change.

Dapwood Furniture has been hand crafting bed frames for 30 years with sustainable American hardwoods which are naturally free of toxins and VOCs. While we would love for everyone to become a Dapwood customer, our ultimate goal is for everyone to look at all potential chemical exposure sources and choose eco friendly products to allow everyone the opportunity to get a good nights sleep.

Buyer Beware

CBS 60 Minutes aired a segment this past Sunday evening (March 1, 2015) (www.cbs.com/all-access) alleging that much of the laminate flooring made in China for Lumber Liquidators, contains high levels of formaldehyde- a known human carcinogen. In some cases, formaldehyde levels tested at 20X the level approved by the California Air Resource Board, commonly known as CARB2.

The toxicity of laminated flooring is just the latest item sold en mass to US customers that may posse serious long-term health threats. In recent years, Americans have discovered similar problems with imported gypsum board (dry wall), dog food and even baby formula. Some may try and argue it was not intentional, but when people are focused on only one thing- money, strange and unfounded justifications are often conjured up.

American consumers must take heed and be ever vigilant when it comes to purchasing imported products. Corporations continue to rely on manufactures overseas because they can produce a lower cost product by using sweatshop labor (even child labor), ignorance of basic safety equipment and standards, disregard for environmental damage, substandard materials, inexpensive fillers, and extensive use of adhesives and glues. In their short-term quests for higher profits both unscrupulous buyers and factories are far too willing to take short cuts, look the other way or don’t ask the simple question.

The take away from these discoveries is that consumers must be wary of cheap products and question why is this product so cheap. It is vitally important to ask the seller:

  • Where was this product made?
  • What exactly is it made of and can they forward a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)?
  • What type of standards does it meet?
  • What type of pesticide was used in the shipping container while in transit?
  • What types of adhesives or fillers does it contain?
  • If you get answers of “I don’t know” or “it’s nothing to worry about”, think real hard before pulling out your wallet. These substandard and often toxic products will continue to flood the U.S. market until consumers demand a change. This change could happen with government regulation but will more likely become reality when educated consumers demand more of corporations.

    Keep this in mind especially when choosing bedroom furniture, mattresses and bed frames. All humans – child, teen and adult- spend at least 33% of their life in bed. While we are exposed to toxins throughout the day, for most humans the potential for harmful exposure is greatest when you are sleeping since you are confined to one area with your nose and mouth in extremely close proximity to materials. Many man-made materials often emit vapors that can be poisonous when breathed in by humans and unfortunately, their toxicity does not lessen in time. Every year more studies suggest that environmental threats can lead to long-term health conditions including asthma, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This is all the more potentially dangerous for children as their bodies and brains are rapidly growing and developing.

    At Dapwood, we hold dear that this slow poisoning of people and the planet must stop. We have committed ourselves to crafting bed frames and bedroom accessories that are free of toxins and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). We do not use laminates or composites hence no formaldehyde. We use only sustainably harvested American hardwoods– an all natural product. Furthermore, our finishes are simply natural plant oils– no petrol-chemicals ever touch our products. We craft our products to order are 100% American made. We even go as far to source 99% of all of our materials from American manufacturers.

    So before you purchase a “cheap” bed frame, mattress or other bedroom furniture, ask yourself why and do your homework- make sure the product you are purchasing is truly eco friendly and not simply greenwashing. If it is not, you may be needlessly putting you and your family at risk.

    Dapwood is New Mexico’s first certified B Corp in manufacturing. We put people and planet ahead of profit so we can all have a good nights sleep.