VOLO, Ill. -- Could there be fiberglass in your mattress? In recent years, fiberglass has been added to many mattresses as a flame retardant, but what if it escapes? That's what happened to one Illinois family.
"I noticed that I had all these little fibers all over my clothes," Angela Romy. "It's like tufts of hair."
Romy, her husband Mauricio and their adolescent daughters say they have been fighting fiberglass all over their home.
These "tufts" have been coming from their mattresses.
"We were like, oh, my nose is itchy, it's kind of itchy on the hands," said Romy.
She was cleaning one of her Casper mattresses; the labels say you can remove the cover to clean it, so she did.
"I panicked, so I started vacuuming because that was my first thought, let me just vacuum and vacuum," she said.
The family said they then noticed fiberglass coming out of three other Casper mattresses, even with the covers on.
"We did notice some shards coming out of this cover right here," Romy said.
Over the last several months they say their home has been in shambles; furniture and the mattresses covered in plastic, carpet torn up.
Romy took to TikTok with her problem and reached out to Casper asking for compensation for the mattresses, carpet and furniture covered in fiberglass. Several weeks later, the family called the investigative team at our sister station WLS.
The family also filed a report with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. An investigator came to pick up that first mattress.
"The first couple of days we experienced sore throats, thank goodness we didn't have any, like, other than the immediate quick rashes from it, there was nothing else afterwards," she said.
Consumer Product Safety Commission data shows more than 50 recent complaints about fiberglass in several types and brands of mattresses.
"So if you're exposed to fiberglass, it can lead to problems such as skin irritation, skin rashes. It can affect your respiratory system, sore throats, coughing," said Doctor Tasha Stoiber with the Environmental Working Group.
Stoiber said fiberglass has been added to many mattresses in recent years as a new, more inexpensive way of fire-proofing a mattress.
"When people see a zipper, they assume that they can take the cover off and wash it, and that's one of the ways that the shards from the fiberglass and the mattress are leaking out of the mattress," she said.
Casper said all of its currently manufactured models have a label saying to not remove the cover. The Romy family also has two of those newer Casper mattresses. They never removed the covers and there was no fiberglass leaking. Still, a mattress with fiberglass can potentially lead to problems even with the cover on, according to a study by the California Department of Public Health, which says it "could cause rashes, and respiratory irritation".
"They are able to migrate between the layers in the mattress," said Stoiber.
In regards to the Romy family, Casper says, "...safety and satisfaction are a top priority." And that, "All products contain materials that meet federal anti-flammability requirements."
Casper said it takes complaints seriously and that they were in contact with the family. In fact, Casper had refunded them $4,000 for the six total mattresses.
But then the family saw even more results after Casper sent our sister station that statement.
Casper's insurance provider paid the family about $37,000 to help cover costs of replacement furniture, carpet and cleaning, and they were also given six all-new Casper mattresses, fiberglass free.
There are no laws requiring companies to list fiberglass. California recently banned the sale of it in mattresses and upholstered furniture. Experts say fiberglass tends to be found more in mattresses bought online. So you may want to ask the company if your mattress contains fiberglass.
You can also ask for wool or rayon to fireproof instead, although it may cost more.