Ugh. Please avoid memory foam. Endocrine disruptor-city.
If you can't afford natural latex, then get some old heavy wool blankets, wash then thoroughly & layer them.
Or contact these folk & see what fire retardants they use in their afforbdable Japanese futons: http://www.jlifeinternational.com/houseitems/futon/shikifuton/shikifuton_e.html
Toxic Chemicals in Your Mattress
All U.S. manufacturers must meet a requirement that mattresses withstand a large open flame for 70 seconds. They spray mattresses with flame-retardant chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), and boric acid (pesticide), antimony, (toxic metal similar to arsenic), formaldehyde (known carcinogen) and decabromodiphenyl oxide (causes hair and memory loss; heart, lung and kidney damage and cancer) to meet this requirement.
PBDEs, which have been banned in Canada, Europe and several states, build up in your body over time, and what you absorb or inhale does not go away. PBDE is linked to brain and reproductive damage, decreased sperm quality, thyroid problems and cancer. PBDE is sprayed not only on beds but on furniture and carpet pads as well. It is also part of the housing in wiring and electronic appliances, such as TVs and stereos. Concentrations of PBDEs in human milk have been found to be much higher in the U.S. than in Europe.
The PBDE levels in breast milk from Texas were similar to levels found in U.S. blood and adipose tissue lipid from California and Indiana and are 10-100 times greater than human tissue levels in Europe. Their detection in breast milk raises concern for potential toxicity to nursing infants, given the persistence and bioaccumulative nature of some of the PBDE congeners. These results indicate a need for more detailed investigation of the levels of PBDE in people and food, as well as determining if animal fat in food is the major route of exposure of the general U.S. population. Other routes of intake may also be significant.
Environ Health Perspect 111:1723-1729 (2003)
In 2005, Walter Bader, owner of the “green mattress” company Lifekind and author of the book Toxic Bedrooms, sent several mattresses to an Atlanta-based lab. A memory-foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.
Technically a mattress manufacturer is supposed to honor a prescription from your doctor for a chemical-free mattress, but evidently this is inconvenient, because most companies refuse to make such a special order. There are several companies that sell “organic” mattresses, which means the cotton used was grown without pesticides; and “chemical-free” mattresses, which use wool – not chemicals – to make mattresses flame retardant. Savvy Rest, Nirvana Safe Haven, Soaring Heart Natural Bed Co. and CozyPure are companies that offer organic and chemical-free beds.
Organic, chemical-free mattresses are rather pricy though, starting at about two to three thousand dollars. Thefutonshop.com sells organic mattresses for around $800 and they will make them chemical-free if you provide a doctor’s note. Healthychild.com and greenmattresses.com are comparable suppliers of organic and chemical-free mattresses.
The state legislated requirement of fire retardants in our beds and furniture is legislation that we should press our congress men and women to abandon.