Allergies and asthma result from the loss of the body’s natural resistance to allergens, often starting from early exposure to secondary smoke, industrial chemicals and asbestos and incredibly intensive chemical agriculture and industrial treatment of food that we eat and the fabrics we wear and sleep.
Our ancestors did not suffer these diseases as pervasively as we do, because modern industry since the Second World War has chemically saturated everything: our homes, textiles, foods and air. For centuries, until the 19th and early 20th centuries, organic cotton and natural wool were taken for granted. What we now have to label organic bedding, organic cotton and organic wool, were simply called “blankets, sheets, cottons and wool”.
Petrochemical-based foams often contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which emit or “blow out gas” over time in the air. Formaldehyde, a probable carcinogenic VOC, identified by the US EPA as a dangerous indoor pollutant, is found in most furniture (foam, fabric), pressed wood products (plywood, chipboard), glues and carpet fabrics, including beds traditional, non-organic.
Therefore, conventional mattresses and sheets could be part of the problem. Replace them with a set of untreated organic cotton sheets (also called Green Cotton or Brown Cotton). Now your body will rest at least on something cleaner. In the end, you should consider virgin wool padded cushions, quilts and a mattress system that does not use petrochemicals. Replace foams and synthetics with organic wool, organic cotton or hemp. These natural fibers breathe better, as do their owners.
Dust Mite Wars:
Doctors and organizations such as the United States EPA and the American Lung Association have identified dust mite allergens as the cause of asthma, cough, congestion and other health problems, particularly among children.
“… environmental monitoring may be the single most important step to preventing the onset of acute asthma attacks.”, writes Michael LeNoir, MD, an adult allergy specialist from Oakland in California.
Many synthetic materials and chemically processed quilts, feathers, polyphenols and foams offer wonderful nesting opportunities for dust mites. Organic bedding with wool padding, on the other hand, actually repels dust mites, but may not be so cheap to produce.
The padding of pillows and quilts can house dust mites, in particular feathers and other alleged natural fillers. These materials tend to absorb moisture from the breath while you sleep, providing the perfect habitat for dust mites. Did you know that you exhale around a pint of warm water vapor every night while you sleep? The perfect environment for dust mites!
Dust mites are actually small spiders that live in bedrooms, mattresses, rugs, furniture and bedding. Invisible to the human eye, they often live on dry skin, which includes approx. 80% of common household dust. Dust mites need skin, moisture and heat to survive. Dust mites leave microscopic droppings which, if suspended in the air and inhaled, cause allergic reactions in many people.
Until you can sensitively replace bedding with virgin wool bedding and organic cotton fabrics, start by washing the bedding in warm or hot water once or twice a week. (And watch out for phosphates in detergents!) You can also take seriously and place “protective covers” on the mattress and pillows, which do not allow mites to enter these objects. Try to stay away from synthetics.
What happens with wool? Is it an allergen? Everyone thinks they are allergic to wool. Some are allergic to lanolin, but most are not, and instead react to aggressive chemicals normally applied to woolen clothing and beds.
Natural wool lanolin repels dust mites. Virgin wool is also naturally resistant to water and odors. Most people find organic wool totally hypoallergenic and softer than conventional wool, making it an ideal filler for bedding and pillows. Even the wool in organic sheets and pillows breathes extremely well, keeping you cool in summer, warm in winter but never too hot!
Also remember that biologically happy sheep are a sustainable natural resource as long as we take care of them.