ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - It should have been a peaceful night's sleep for one family outside Phoenix. Instead, from inside the children's beds, tiny glitter-like pieces of fiber glass.
“They came out and they’re like mama, ‘we’re itchy, we’re itchy,’" said mom Amanda Richie. It was on their clothes, furniture and irreplaceable mementos.
“You’d feel it. It would start stabbing your face, little tiny itchy dots,” she said.
Their story is just one of the most recent of horror stories since News 4 first told you about it happening to a family in our area more than a year ago.
Imagine feeling tiny shards of glass in your bed, your clothes, your towels on pretty much every surface in your home.
“Since your story about the Chandlers, this issue has captured nationwide attention,” said Attorney Lloyd Cueto, who represents Collinsville, Illinois couple Robert Durham and Amanda Chandler.
In February, 2020 we told you about their child's mattress bought at a local Walmart. They took off what they thought was a removable cover and inadvertently exposed airborne fiberglass particles that then traveled over their entire home. Ever since that story, News 4 has received email after email from people who say they're affected by the same problem Once the fibers are released, the fiberglass is very difficult to clean-up.
“The average remediation cost we get is around $15,000,” Cueto said.
Cueto now has a class action lawsuit against Zinus, the maker of the Chandler's mattress, and he's eyeing other manufacturers as well.
“The 196 plaintiffs we represent are from over 32 states and Washington DC,” he said. The fiberglass is intended as a fire-retardant and News 4 previously found it does a pretty good job at that. But Cueto says the manufacturers aren't making sure those fibers can't somehow be exposed, especially because in many cases, the mattress covers actually zip right off.
“I think that's laughable. The very existence of a zipper on a mattress cover would invite the user to unzip it,” Cueto said. So far, he says the company hasn't give a clear reason as to why. News 4 tried reaching out to an attorney representing Zinus in the suit, but never heard back.
Fiberglass is commonly put in mattresses to make them more fire-resistant, but does it actually work?
A spokesperson for Zinus said, "We value the health and safety of our customers and take all feedback very seriously."
They did not, however, respond to News 4’s questions asking if they would commit to removing the zippers or eliminating the fiberglass all together.
The spokesperson added, "We encourage all Zinus product owners to refer to the FAQ page on our company website, which addresses many common questions, including this Q&A, which discusses proper care and handling of mattress covers."
Cueto says he plans to fight the cases all the way through court.
“It really is ruining their lives,” he said.
But he says until they get real change, it could happen to you. The trial for the class action suit could still be a long way off. In the meantime, we are going to keep asking if the government should step in to regulate these products.