Virginia Consumers in Jeopardy of Unsanitary Mattress Sales

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Local Virginia mattress manufacturers issued a call to action today urging consumers to contact their state legislators regarding a bill that threatens the state's citizens.

At present, the Virginia Department of Health protects consumers from unknowingly buying used and unsanitary mattresses. The health department requires that all mattresses sold in Virginia bear a label disclosing the product's content and, if used, stating that the mattress has been properly sanitized. The health department also conducts regular and random inspections to confirm that companies comply with these requirements. This program discourages unscrupulous companies from sewing a new cloth cover on soiled and unsanitary used mattresses and fraudulently selling them as new mattresses.

On February 13, however, the Senate Education and Health Committee will consider H.B. 2810, which would effectively eliminate the important benefits that the inspection program currently provides Virginia consumers. This legislation will open the door for unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers to take advantage of Virginia consumers by selling them filthy products as though they were new.

"The mattress industry wants Virginia consumers to have confidence that the products they buy are clean and safe. But weakening state-mandated inspections will put consumers at risk of purchasing unclean bedding from local retailers," said Richard Diamonstein, executive vice president of King Koil Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk. "Since 1946, Virginia has enforced proper mattress labeling and sanitary standards -- this law is just as important now as it was over 50 years ago."

The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), representing the nation's mattress industry, is working with Virginia mattress manufacturers to get the word out to consumers about H.B. 2810. ISPA is urging that the Virginia bedding inspection program be strengthened, not weakened, to better protect Virginia consumers from unfair, deceptive and unsanitary business practices.

"Bedding laws are critical to protecting Virginia's consumers. If H.B. 2810 is passed, the state could become a dumping ground for used and unsanitary bedding," said Diamonstein. "The Virginia mattress inspection program is funded entirely from license fees paid by legitimate manufacturers that sell their products in Virginia. There is no reason to compromise a self-sustaining program that provides real benefits to Virginia consumers. We urge consumers to join us this week in letting Virginia legislators realize the importance of defeating H.B. 2810."

Established in 1915, the International Sleep Products Association represents the interests of the mattress industry throughout the US, Canada and around the world. One of ISPA's primary goals is to create state tagging laws and to address health sanitation issues affecting consumers.

Source: International Sleep Products Association