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Amazon’s No. 1 Mattress Poses Hazardous ‘Nightmare’, Lawsuit Claims

One of Amazon’s top-selling home products is the target of several lawsuits alleging a health hazard.

Zinus, the South Korean-based maker of an inexpensive line of green tea mattresses sold by Amazon and other retailers, was named in multiple lawsuits for causing harm to users. The two most recent suits, filed in California and Illinois, allege flame-resistant fiberglass from inside the mattress has caused health issues for a number of people.

The California suit, a class action claim filed in Sacramento on behalf of Vanessa Gutierrez, Jeremy and Mariana Miller, and Leonard and Theresa Miller, alleges that fiberglass fibers from the Zinus mattress’ fire-resistant sleeve can break through the porous outer cover of the mattress.

The glass fibers can cause a number of health problems, the lawsuit claims. “Exposure to glass fibers may cause eye, skin, and upper respiratory tract irritation. Glass fibers that reach the lower part of a person’s lungs increases the chances of adverse health effects,” it said. “According to state agencies some possible health effects may include rashes from fibers becoming embedded in the skin, eye irritation, soreness in the nose and throat with respiratory ailments, and stomach irritation.”

Gutierrez and her children experienced “rashes, itchy skin, skin sores, coughing, breathing difficulties, eye problems, and loss of sleep,” with the medical issues “so severe that Ms. Gutierrez had to take her infant daughter to multiple medical appointments to obtain treatment,” according to the complaint.

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The damage wasn’t limited to health, however. “Personal property was discarded worth thousands of dollars as a result of the contamination,” the California complaint alleges in reference to Gutierrez. “Forced” to relocate away from the contaminated property, the plaintiff “incurred significant expense in temporary housing, meal costs, and lost deposits,” it added.

The class-action complaint filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of more than 2,000 people nationwide alleges that fiberglass contamination from a Zinus mattress forced a couple and their family to live in a hotel for months. Amanda Chandler and Robert Durham reported spending more than $20,000 for professional fiberglass remediation, on top of tens of thousands of dollars of property damage.

A mixture of plastic and glass, fiberglass can cause skin, respiratory and eye irritation. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn’t consider fiberglass flame-resistant layers in mattresses to be hazardous, a study by the California Department of Public Health found potential risk for injury if the outer cover of the mattress is removed. Zinus mattresses come with instructions to not remove the outer mattress cover. Gutierrez said she never removed the outer cover, according to the lawsuit.

Complaints about Zinus’ Spa Sensation mattress date back to June 17, 2015, when a consumer incident report filed with the CPSC first detailed the fiberglass leakage causing personal injury and property damage.

Zinus addressed the lawsuit head on, with a spokesperson saying the legal action and “related misinformation campaign” misleads “consumers about the type of mattress materials used to comply with fire regulations and protect our customers.”

“The type of chemical-free fire safety material that we use is standard in the mattress industry across all price points. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that this type of material is ‘not considered hazardous,’ and various regulatory agencies and authoritative scientific bodies have concluded that exposure to this type of material does not pose a risk of chronic health effects,” the company spokesperson said in a statement provided to Sourcing Journal. “To protect the internal fire barrier, customers should not remove the outer mattress cover. The label discloses the contents of the mattress and warns against removing the outer cover. Zinus mattresses currently being sold include locked zippers without pull tabs and an additional sewn-in label that warns against removing the outer cover.”

The rep went on to say that Zinus will defend the “composition and construction of our products in court, should that be necessary, and are confident we will prevail.”

This isn’t the first time Zinus has faced safety complaints. The company recalled three bunk bed models in 2020 after 13 reports said pieces of the furniture came apart, resulting in “bumps and bruises” in three cases, according to the CPSC. The voluntary recall applied to more than 26,000 items sold through the websites of Amazon, Walmart, Wayfair, Overstock, Home Depot and Zinus between December 2016 and January 2020.

Amazon, too, has had a private-label mattress recalled with complaints focused on fire-safety risks. The e-commerce giant recalled more than 15,000 of the made-in-Malaysia AmazonBasics products that didn’t meet federal flammability standards.

With many consumers looking for health- and eco-conscious products, brands such as Avocado seek to fill the void in the market for responsibly made home goods with vertically integrated production of mattresses and more. Brooklyn Bedding, meanwhile, just earned GOTS certification denoting organic materials and ethical supply chain practices.