Zinus Mattress Lawsuit: Can Fiberglass Make You Sleepless?

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Product Liability | 0 comments

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A good night’s sleep is what a tired body needs at the end of the day. Undisturbed sleep in a comfy mattress satisfies everyone. What if your mattress becomes a health hazard and rob you of sleep? – A distressing situation it will be.

This blog analyzes the growing concern of people who bought bed-in-box mattresses with fiberglass in it, as in the case of Zinus mattresses. Affected individuals have filed Zinus mattress lawsuits over the fiberglass hazard and the ensued injuries.

Let’s fall into the comfy foam mattress controversy and uncover what is under the cover. Before delving into the core, let’s have a peek at the Zinus mattresses.

What is Zinus mattress known for?

Zinus, “a leading manufacturer of affordable mattresses,” is famous for its green tea with charcoal-infused memory foam beds. They claim that these ingredients keep the mattresses fresh from odors and brand new forever. Their special mattresses in this category are Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress, Green Tea Luxe Memory Foam Mattress, and Cooling Green Tea Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

They claim that “memory foam is known to relieve pressure points, making it a dream particularly for joint and back pain sufferers” and these mattresses “innate qualities that enhance sleep.” Apart from these, they have a variety of other bed-in-box mattresses too.

In their website, Zinus has recently added a warning regarding the fiberglass usage in their mattresses.

“Today, newly manufactured Zinus mattresses use a carbon-rayon sleeve to protect our customers in the unlikely event of a fire. Previously, Zinus used fiberglass as a fire retardant (fire safety material). Fiberglass has been used regularly by mattress manufacturers since 2007. None of our mattress covers should be removed, and they are not washable. The tags on our covers include a label with the instruction “Do not remove,” and we disclose whether a mattress contains fiberglass.”

Is Zinus green tea mattress safe? Let’s see if the Zinus mattresses are safe in this article.

How does the fiberglass controversy come to light?

The fiberglass controversy surrounding Zinus mattresses came to light primarily through customer complaints and social media discussions. Most of them chose Zinus mattresses for their affordability. However, after use, many customers started finding fiberglass fibers leaking from their mattresses after removing the outer cover, which is not recommended by the manufacturer. These complaints often highlighted health concerns, such as skin irritation and respiratory issues, as well as damage to personal property, since the fiberglass fibers can spread throughout the home.

The issue gained further attention as affected customers began sharing their experiences online, through reviews, social media platforms, and forums. The widespread sharing of these stories raised public awareness and concern about the use of fiberglass as a fire retardant in mattresses and other products. In some cases, legal action was taken against Zinus by consumers seeking compensation for damages and health issues they attributed to the fiberglass in the mattresses.

A purchaser review added as the exhibit in one of the Zinus mattress lawsuits quotes that the consumer

…decided To take the cover off to possibly wash it.. BAD IDEA!!!!! The layer underneath the cover (which can’t be washed and should NOT be taken off) is FIBERGLASS!!! Says right on the tag!!??? In a bed??? Sorry but I do not think that can be healthy to be breathing in every night! I will not sleep on the bed, amazon was great with my refund. (Amazon customer review dated December 22, 2017)

Another consumer noted in the review that he “called Zinus and they told me ‘yes we are aware and that’s why it says not to remove the cover.’ Then why did you put a zipper on it!?!?!?” he added that he had to get help from Servpro to clear the fiberglass particles from the air. (Amazon customer review dated December 25, 2018)

The consumers ask a valid question- adding a zipper to a product gives the impression that it can be unzipped, and if it is not meant to be opened, then, why Zinus adds a zipper to the mattress cover.

Many stated that had they known the presence of fiberglass in the mattress, they would not have purchased the mattresses. Some others expressed the concerns that even those who had not removed the mattress covers experienced fiberglass escaping from the mattress and spreading all over their household items and the atmosphere and exposing them to the harmful fiberglass shards.

Zinus Mattress Lawsuits- A Deep Analysis

Amanda Chandler

A Zinus mattress lawsuit was filed earlier in 2020 by Amanda Chandler and Robert Durham. It included the sellers of Zinus mattresses, Amazon, Ebay, Target, Walmart and Wayfair along with Zinus Inc. as defendants. They bought the mattress for their kid in 2019.

The Zinus green tea mattress lawsuit alleged that

The Purchased Mattress contained a removable outer cover equipped with a zipper. A mattress tag which read in part “62% Glass Fibers” was attached to the outer cover (“Outer Mattress Tag”).

The mattress tag failed to warn the consumers not to remove the outer cover or removing it would expose the consumers to fiberglass.

Amanda removed the cover once in 2020 to wash it and later placed it back. While it was washed, the kids were playing on the mattress. The following day her husband, Robert and both of their kids started having itching and skin irritation. Soon they noticed that all of their bodies were “covered with little, hard-to-see shards of glass.”

They soon realized that,

…their home was blanketed with the same little shards of glass. Tiny shards of glass were embedded in all parts of their home, both inside and out, including their clothes, bedding, towels, appliances, carpet, tile, walls, tools, electronics, and inside their cars.

Identifying it as fiberglass, they moved the mattress outdoors. However, in the mean time they had inhaled the tiny fiberglass a lot.

The tiny shards of glass on Robert’s body necessitated surgical removal. The whole family was forced to stay at a hotel due to severe fiberglass contamination at their house.

Their allegations were made based on the following factors:

  • Violation of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
  • Fraudulent Concealment/Fraudulent Omission
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Design Defect
  • Marketing Defect/Failure to Warn
  • Strict Liability
  • Negligence
  • Gross Negligence

This Zinus mattress topper lawsuit by Amanda was later amended in 2021 to add Vanessa Gutirrez. However, when a district judge dismissed the claims of non-Illinois residents, Vanessa’s claim was dismissed.

Vanessa Gutirrez

Vanessa Gutirrez filed a Zinus Green Tea Mattress class action lawsuit on behalf of her minor children against the makers of number one mattresses sold in the Amazon, Zinus mattresses. The Zinus mattress lawsuit filed on July 7, 2022 included all the people who purchased or used the mattresses with fiberglass manufactured by Zinus Inc. The law firm which represented her also advocated around 2,000 individuals across the states including more than a hundred people in California alone.

The Zinus mattress lawsuit of Ms. Gutirezz allege that

All the Affected Mattresses contain a removable outer cover (“Outer Cover”) equipped with a zipper and inadequate warning labels. Once the Outer Cover is unzipped and removed, the defective FR Sleeve is exposed which allows the glass fibers to then release into the surrounding environment potentially causing serious injuries and/or property damage.

The Amazon Zinus mattress lawsuit also allege that the inner cover  FR sleeve containing fiberglass filaments might break over time to lead the sleeve to leak the fiberglass shards. When it occurs, even if the outer cover was not removed, the fiberglass will slowly start seeping through the outer covers, into the sheets, household items and then to the occupants’ body injuring them.

The “DO NOT REMOVE COVER,” warning in some mattresses does not mention clearly, if the cover meant the outer cover or the inner one. The use of zipper in the outer cover naturally gives a feeling that it can be removed.

The fiberglass coming out of the mattresses can easily attach to “human skin, animals, HVAC systems, clothes, towels, bedding, couches, carpet, tile flooring, drywall, electronics, bedding, wood, and plastic.” When the fiberglass disperses through air, it can permeate to the whole house through “HVAC systems, vents, doorways, windows, etc.”

These fibers cause rashes, irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat and cause respiratory and digestive tract ailments. Along with the expenses for medical treatments, the consumers have to spend in tens of thousands of dollars to clean the fiberglass pieces from their home, as it necessitates the help of professional cleaning services.

In the case of Gutirrez, even without removing the outer cover her family was exposed to the fiberglass hazards. Her infant daughter had to make multiple hospital visits to get treatments. Due to the fiberglass exposure, Gutirrez faced medical expenses, property damage, cleaning expenses, and temporary house shifting and other expenses.

Other plaintiffs like Jeremy and Marianna Miller too felt more or less the same kind of damages from fiberglass contamination.

This class action lawsuit filed in Sacramento put forth the allegations under the following categories:

  • Violation of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (breach of implied warranty)
  • Strict Liability (failure to warn)
  • Strict Liability (Design Defect)
  • Negligence
  • Violation of California’s unfair competition law
  • Violation of California’s false advertising law
  • Violation of California’s consumers legal remedies act
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Breach of implied warranty of merchantability

The lawsuit quotes the experience of another consumer called Brittany Rodriguez. According to the report from News 4 San Antonio, her mother bought her the mattress from Walmart. She removed the outer cover for washing as the care instructions on the mattress’s label read “machine washing.” There was no warning like that the mattress contained fiberglass and the cover should not be removed.

The leaked fiberglass spread throughout her home, leading to her children experience itching. She had to spend more than $4,000 to clean up her house.

“I think that the company should come in here and clean my house, dispose of their ill labeled mattress that had no warning on it that release fiberglass into my home,” Rodriguez alleged.

In their website support, Zinus states in an FAQ,

Can I wash my Zinus mattress cover?

None of our mattress covers should be removed, and they are not washable. Removing the mattress cover could harm the fire safety barrier and void your warranty, so please always leave the cover on. There is a consumer label sewn into your mattress as a reminder not to remove the cover.

However, the answer does not mention anything about the exposure to fiberglass or glass fibers if the outer cover is removed. They fail to warn what kind of fire safety barrier they use in their beds and the adverse outcome of fiberglass contamination.

Was Zinus aware of the fiberglass contamination earlier?

Zinus would have known the fiberglass contamination as early as June 2015 as a consumer reported the issue with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) concerning a Zinus Spa Sensations mattress leaking fiberglass. The customer’s family suffered injuries and property damage. Following this complaint, the CPSC forwarded the incident report to Zinus on July 22, 2015. This shows that they were aware of the issue in 2015 itself.

Moreover, we have seen earlier that the Amazon customer reviews dating back to 2017 reporting of fiberglass leakage and ensued physical and property damages.

Zinus told the Consumer affairs that

“Zinus provides quality products to our customers, and we take all customer feedback very seriously. Please note that the type of material that we use is standard in the mattress industry… All Zinus product owners should refer to the FAQ page on our company website, which addresses many common questions, including proper care and handling of mattress covers.”

Is fiberglass highly dangerous?

Fiberglass, a cheaper but durable material, is a composite material made from the tiny glass fibers woven with reinforced plastic. It is also called glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) or glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP). Properties like high fire resistance, good electrical insulation and weatherproof make them compatible in various industries.

According to the industry standards, using fiberglass as fire retardants in mattresses is acceptable worldwide. However, proper protective covering should be used in order to prevent harm from being exposed to fiberglass shards.

Symptoms of Fiberglass Exposure

Exposure to fiberglass can lead to various side effects, especially if the fibers come into contact with the skin, eyes, or respiratory system. While fiberglass is generally considered safe when properly contained, exposure may cause the following side effects:

  • Skin Irritation: Fiberglass particles can cause itching, redness, and irritation if they come into contact with the skin. Prolonged exposure may lead to rashes.
  • Eye Irritation: Fiberglass can cause irritation to the eyes, resulting in redness, itching, and watering. Direct contact with the eyes should be avoided.
  • Respiratory Irritation: Inhaling airborne fiberglass particles may irritate the respiratory system, leading to coughing, throat irritation, and difficulty breathing. Individuals with respiratory conditions may experience exacerbated symptoms.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to fiberglass, and exposure can trigger allergic reactions, including skin allergies and respiratory symptoms.
  • Ingestion Concerns: Swallowing fiberglass particles is not common but could lead to irritation of the digestive tract if it occurs.

It’s important to note that the severity of side effects can vary based on factors such as the duration and intensity of exposure, individual sensitivity, and the specific circumstances of exposure. If you suspect fiberglass exposure or experience any of these symptoms from your Zinus mattress, it is recommended to seek medical attention for appropriate evaluation and treatment.

How to mitigate the fiberglass exposure risks?

The consumers should do a thorough research before purchasing a comfy mattress for their home. Ensure that the materials list which are used to make the mattress are safe and do not pose any health risks. Use thick mattress protectors to reduce the risk of harmful substance exposure. Try to keep your room fully ventilated to reduce the concentration of exposure.

Zinus Mattress Class Action Lawsuit

As per the Zinus mattress lawsuit 2023 update, the proposed Zinus Mattress class action lawsuit by Vanessa Gutirrez was voluntarily dismissed by both parties on August 25, 2023, following a private Zinus mattress lawsuit compensation agreement. This resolution came after a notice of settlement filed on April 26, indicating an agreement was reached through mediation. Subsequent court filings, including a request for additional time to finalize settlement documents, led to the case’s formal closure on August 28. The specific details of the Zinus mattress lawsuit payout was not disclosed in court documents.

How to pursue Zinus fiberglass lawsuits?

If you were exposed to fiberglass from your Zinus mattress and got injuries or property damages, you can pursue a Zinus mattress lawsuit.

The eligibility to file Zinus mattress lawsuit also include:

  • Should have purchased one of the affected mattresses
  • Fiberglass must have come out of the mattress and contaminated the house or injured the inhabitants
  • The claim must be within the statutes of limitations

Some of the other affected mattresses with fiberglass as fire retardants include Ashley memory foam mattresses and Nectar memory foam mattresses.

According to classaction.org, if the Zinus mattress lawsuits becomes a success, the plaintiffs can claim for the following damages:

  • Remedial and clean up expenses
  • Replacement of damaged items, including furniture, clothing, etc.
  • Lost items are deemed indispensable
  • Boarding services for pets
  • Alternate lodging (hotel stays, temporary apartment living, etc.)
  • Loss of work days
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental health consultations

Many toxic mattress lawsuit attorneys are accepting Zinus mattress fiberglass lawsuits. Affected individuals can seek legal counsel and know the possibilities of their claim.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From a Lawyer

To wind up,

While the comfort and support of a mattress are critical to a good night’s sleep, the health implications of its materials are equally important. As these Zinus mattress lawsuits progress, it may inspire a shift towards safer, more sustainable materials in the mattress industry, ensuring that our quest for comfort doesn’t compromise our health. As consumers, staying informed and proactive about the products we buy for our home is crucial.

In case of being exposed to harmful substances like fiberglass, do not delay in seeking medical attention and a legal counsel. Get deserving reparation for you injuries, mental anguish and property damages.

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MedLegal360 is a specialized author in medical-legal matters, providing clear, authoritative insights on healthcare legislation and personal injury litigation for professionals and the curious.

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