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By Jonathan Sharp

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Aug. 9, 2021: Consumer products touch virtually every aspect of our lives, whether at work, home, or during leisure time. We use all sorts of manufactured products with little thought on whether they pose a great danger to our health and safety. 

Unfortunately, some companies are not as focused on consumer safety as they should be and rush products to market without performing sufficient safety tests or choose less costly and less safe alternatives.

Zinus Mattresses Popular in South America and North America

One recent and prominent example of product liability is the string of lawsuits filed against Zinus, an online mattress company in San Leandro, California. Zinus Inc., which has confirmed having fiberglass in the inner cover, manufactures popular “bed-in-a-box” mattresses sold by major retailers like eBay, Target, Walmart, Wayfair, and Amazon, steadily increasing their relevance in Latin America thanks to cross-border purchases. 

Lately, the company has been more proactive in Latin America, launching localized e-commerce operations in Mexico and Brazil, and preparing to launch Echo, another memory foam mattress in the region. Recently, Amazon has received customer reviews and review ratings for Zinus mattresses. According to these reports, consumers complain that their Zinus mattresses suffer from inadequate warning labels and design defects that can cause fire-retardant glass fibers to be released into their environment.

Like Zinus, many manufacturers weave glass fibers into the inner cover of their mattresses to provide a fire barrier against a potentially hazardous blaze. These glass fibers remain intact as long as the outer cover is left on and the structure of the mattress is stable. However, if the removable outer cover of the mattress is unzipped, it can allow millions of glass shards to escape into the atmosphere. With the help of the HVAC system, they can spread throughout the entire house. The shape and structure of glass fibers allow them to easily stick to surfaces, meaning there’s no way for the occupants to avoid touching or inhaling the painful glass shards. 

Many Families Have Been Gravely Affected by Fiberlass Exposure From Zinus Mattresses

Families who have removed the zippable cover and have exposed themselves to fiberglass must hire a professional cleaning service, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

So far we have over 200 breach-of-warranty claims against Zinus, Inc. filed with the assistance of our resourceful legal team by citizens of Latin American countries who came to find work in the United States and also obtained U.S. citizenship,” says Gregory A. Cade, a dedicated lawyer in providing legal services to clients injured by a defective or dangerous product and toxic chemical exposure. “Clients we have talked to have experienced a wide range of issues, including trouble breathing, painful skin irritation, including surgical removal of glass shards, and the devastating destruction of their homes and personal property.”

A Hispanic family residing in New York City, and whose exposure to fiberglass has been a nightmare of physical, emotional, and financial distress says, 

We had an issue with our baby’s mattress cover made out of fiberglass which the label never stated the cover couldn’t be removed to be washed, and the mattress even featured a zip-off cover to make cleaning less difficult. One night, my 2-year-old daughter was very sick and threw up on the mattress; I removed the cover and washed it, and now our house is infested with fiberglass. We are in the process of throwing away toys, furniture, clothing, pillows, curtains, everything. Not only are these glass fibers ruined thousands of dollars worth of our things, but we were breathing them the entire time. My baby has been suffering from a sore throat and allergies. We think these are from sleeping on a mattress full of fiberglass.”

Retail e-commerce expanded by 37% in 2020, and it is expected to grow in Latin America, as many mattress-in-a-box firms offer free shipping, generous trial periods, and return policies to make the process as pain-free as possible. As the global mattress market is expected to exhibit strong growth between 2021-2026, we want to raise consumer awareness on the fact that they should research the products they’re looking to stock, including reading consumer mattress reviews when buying online. 

Finally, a Zinus class action lawsuit is underway and is currently awaiting the approval of class certification. Consumers have the right to expect that the product they purchased will function as intended and is safe, and free of defects. Anyone in the supply chain of a defective product may be legally liable for compensating an injured victim, and the latter should seek justice in a court of law. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jonathan Sharp is the Director of Claims at Environmental Litigation Group P.C., a law firm located in Birmingham, Alabama, committed to helping people who have suffered a life-changing injury because of unsafe products get the compensation they deserve.

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