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Dateline NBC Brings Light to Hazards of Illegal Renovated Mattresses

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ILLEGAL RENOVATED MATTRESES MUST BE ELIMINATED Dateline NBC Brings Light to Hazards of Deceptive Practice The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), the trade association for the mattress industry, applauds a recent Dateline NBC report that exposed the consumer hazards posed by renovated mattresses that do not meet federal and state laws. Renovators are businesses that sew a new outer fabric cover on top of a used and often soiled mattress. Too often, the renovator makes no effort to clean or sanitize the underlying used materials, and offers the renovated product to unsuspecting consumers as a new mattress. As the Dateline NBC report makes clear, renovated mattresses can pose persistent health and safety risks to consumers. ISPA reiterates its commitment to eliminating these problems, and calls on regulators to protect consumers from these potentially hazardous products. States that already regulate renovated mattresses should actively enforce their existing mattress labeling and sanitization laws, and those states that do not should set rigorous rules to attack this problem. “It is a consumer’s right to know whether the mattress he or she buys is made from materials that other consumers have used. Consumers should have confidence that the product they are buying is clean and sanitary,” states Dick Doyle, ISPA President and CEO. “ISPA urges all states to require that mattress renovators sanitize and properly tag their products so that consumers can clearly distinguish them from new mattresses.” For nearly 100 years, state bedding laws have helped protect consumers from companies that use dirty materials in their mattresses. While about 30 states have these laws, their active enforcement has unfortunately languished in some states. All too often, unscrupulous parties are reselling unsanitary and unsafe mattresses that can harm the consumer in a variety of ways, including: Consumer deception: This occurs when dishonest retailers fraudulently tell consumers they are buying a new product or conceal from the consumer that the mattress is made from previously used and soiled materials. Exposure to unhygienic conditions: Too often, renovated mattresses contain bedbugs, potent allergens such as dust mite feces, mold spores, bodily fluids and even traces of human waste. Fire risks: Renovated mattresses seldom meet the mattress flammability requirements set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumers that buy a renovated mattress that does not meet these standards can be exposing themselves and their families to the kinds of bedroom fires that kill and severely injure hundreds of people each year. ISPA commends those states that are vigilant in policing mattress renovators. But that is not the case everywhere. For example, the Dateline NBC report focused on a renovator operating in New York, a state that enacted a bedding law several years ago but has yet to issue regulations to implement its own requirements. Had those rules been in place, perhaps the Dateline NBC reporter would have found no problems with renovated beds sold in that state. The state of Maryland, which recently repealed its bedding law, is another example where local regulators are not protecting the public from unscrupulous mattress renovators. “ISPA finds this development in Maryland to be deeply troubling given the significant and persistent problems posed by renovated mattresses,” says Doyle. “Stronger state enforcement will alert consumers when they are buying a product that has been used by other consumers. This will allow consumers to better protect themselves and their families.” When shopping for a mattress, consumers should: Buy from a reputable mattress retailer. Ask family and friends for their recommendations. Ask the retailer if the mattress contains any used materials. Make sure that the mattress contains a label certifying that it meets fire standards set by the federal government. Typically, a mattress that has this label is not refurbished. To read the full transcript and watch video clips from the Dateline NBC segment, “Bed Bugs Can Live in Your New Mattress,” visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24226788/ . Established in 1915, the International Sleep Products Association, is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the growth, profitability and stature of the mattress manufacturing industry. ISPA represents over 700 mattress manufacturers and their suppliers throughout the world.

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