ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — It was right before the holidays. The Cantrells were getting ready for an out-of-town trip. They were cleaning up around the house, washing clothes and packing up.
Michelle Cantrell says they decided to also wash their daughter’s mattress cover. It’s the one that has a zipper and comes with the mattress. When they unzipped it, that’s when they noticed a tear.
“When we took the cover off and saw the sock was torn we didn’t think anything of it. And handled that mattress you know all over the place and not knowing that we were depositing thousands and thousands of shards of fiberglass all over the room and into the air.”
They family was out of town when Cantrell says she started feeling itchy after putting on a shirt that has been washed with the mattress cover.
“I turned mine inside out and showed a light on it just to see if I could see anything. I didn’t know what was going on with it at that point,” says Cantrell. “And you could see all the shards of fiberglass just sticking up like knives.”
Cantrell says after some research they knew it was fiberglass from the mattress and it was not only in the room, but the washer and dryer and all along the path to the laundry room.
“It was literally like dust settles everywhere. It was exactly like that only it was glass shards,” explains Cantrell.
You can see the shards in Cantrell’s phone video on her daughters bed frame. It looks like glitter, but she says it was shards about a half an inch long.
“You would never know it’s there until you feel it. Until you start coughing,” says Cantrell. “We don’t know how long she’s been sleeping in loose fiberglass which is very concerning.”
The family bought the mattress years ago on Amazon from DHP Furniture out of Canada. They have filed a claim.
“Our mattresses are tested and certified by third-party laboratories and meet or exceed all regulatory and safety regulations. In order to meet U.S. federal mattress flammability standards, many memory foam mattresses are constructed with a fire retardant knit fabric barrier that includes glass fiber threads,” says Rick Leckner, who handles Corporate Communications for DHP Furniture.
Leckner’s email statement went on to say: “Glass fiber threads in the fire barrier is commonly used across the mattresses industry, and our fire barrier is concealed under the quilting of the mattress cover.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission tells our sister station, KXAN News, that staff is not aware of any health risks from the type of fiberglass used in textiles.
“This is a larger diameter continuous fiber,” explains Nychelle Fleming with CPSC. “The type of fiberglass used in household insulation, which has shorter narrower fibers, may cause skin irritation on contact, or throat irritation if inhaled.”
The Cantrells checked with their family doctor and were told as long as the coughing and itching stops they should be okay.
Cantrell is now warning others.
“There was no warning label on the actual mattress. There was no warning label anywhere near the zipper.”
The mom did find the owners manual for the mattress online and it says not to remove the cover and spot clean only.
Leckner also said that the company has offered to replace the mattress at no cost, but it has now cost the Cantrells thousands of dollars to clean-up the fiberglass.
After days of cleaning themselves they were told by their insurance company to call in professionals. Spaulding Decon, which specializes in cleaning-up crime scenes and drug labs, says it was a first for them.
The owner tells KXAN News he had to contact other branches around the country just to understand what needed to be done.
The team had to wear hazmat gear and take all the furniture to their warehouse. They ended up coming back six times to remove the fiberglass.
“We ended up having to throw out all the pillows and blankets,” says Cantrell. “Almost half of her clothes just because we couldn’t get the fiberglass out.”
They also had to replace their washer, dryer and two vacuums.
Consumers can report similar concerns and provide product details to CPSC. The agency evaluates the complaints and is able to share it all with consumers dealing with similar situations.