In a scientific study commissioned by SleepBetter.org, an online resource of sleep-related information created by Carpenter Co.; Independent testing was conducted by Connecticut-based Specialized Technology Resources, Inc. (STR), whose laboratories and offices are in 30 countries around the world. The college bedding tested from throughout the country, found an average, 2 million potential bacteria colonies and 330,000 yeast and mold colonies partying atop college students’ mattress pads.
According to Dr. Lisa Shives, a nationally recognized physician who specializes in sleep medicine, “these high levels of bacteria, yeast and mold mean that students’ mattress pads are reservoirs for vast colonies of nasty microbes. Given this potential health issue, this should be a wake-up call for anyone with old bedding, whether or not in college, to throw them out.”
During this study, there were 241 different microbes identified. The majority of these microorganisms were those expected to thrive among sloughed-off skin cells, dust mites and bodily fluids, there were others that were far more problematic, including Shingella, a food poison that cause dysentery and is typically transported on feces; Moraxella catarrhalis, which can cause bronchitis, sinusitis, and laryngitis; and Cladosporium molds which under the right circumstances can cause skin lesions, keratitis, nail fungus, sinusitis, asthma, and pulmonary infections.
Definitely washing mattress pads will help reduce these microbes, but if your pad is 5 years or older, it is probably time to think about a replacement.