A Sacramento, California woman is pursuing a class action lawsuit against Zinus Inc., the maker of the popular “Environmentally friendly Tea Mattress,” which she says caused her family five serious health issues and resulted in $20,000 in damages and interests. The proposed class action lawsuit represents 2,000 people across the United States who say the Zinus mattress injured them. It is pending class certification approval and is one of several lawsuits filed against the company.
Vanessa Gutierrez has alleged that the fiberglass fibers in her Zinus mattress leaked out and caused medical problems “so severe” that she had to “take her baby girl to several medical appointments to get treatment,” indicates a July file. She told the Los Angeles Moments she noticed her five-month-old had “sores and rashes,” while her nine-year-old “had flare-ups of asthma,” according to a posting by the media last week.
The lawsuit also alleges the fiberglass contaminated the family’s two-bedroom apartment, forcing them to temporarily move out and throw away thousands of dollars’ worth of clothing, bedding, and furniture. According to the Washington State Department of Health, “Getting in immediate touch with fiberglass or inhaling airborne dust containing fiberglass can irritate skin, eyes, nose, and throat,” and continued exposure may aggravate existing asthma or bronchitis-type conditions.
The “mattress-in-a-box” mattress featured in the suit is currently listed as the #1 greatest vendor in Amazon’s mattress category, with an average rating of four and a half stars. Many budget mattresses contain fiberglass, a mixture of plastic and glass, as a flame retardant, as it’s a less expensive way to ensure the bed meets the federal flammability tests required by the US Customer Item Security Fee.
Previously, most mattresses used benzene and antimony as flame retardants, two chemicals that are now considered hazardous for consumer products. In a statement to LA Situations, Zinus said the material used to make its fire-resistant mattresses is standard, and the CPSC does not consider it hazardous. The company also told LA Situations that its mattress labels tell consumers not to open or remove the mattress cover, which acts as a protective barrier.
The commission said mattresses with a fiberglass layer “have a protective outer cover that acts as a barrier to separate the fiberglass layer from consumers and to maintain the effectiveness of its flame-retardant properties.” The fee said that if the mattress cover is left intact, “exposure to fiberglass particles should be minimal.” Gutierrez said she never removed the cover from the mattress, according to July’s filing.