KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Have you ever wondered what’s in your mattress? You may be surprised to discover it may contain fiberglass. In a nationwide class-action lawsuit, the question has come up, is fiberglass in your mattress safe?

For over a year, a Knoxville man has wondered why his eyes and throat were irritated. Some mattress manufacturers use fiberglass as part of a fire barrier and to keep costs down. Fiberglass isn’t considered to be carcinogenic, but close contact with its particles can cause irritation of the skin, eyes and airways, it can also worsen asthma symptoms in adults and children.

While the modestly priced memory foam mattress named in the lawsuit has received thousands of positive reviews, there are others who question its safety.

Adam Dunn has a menagerie of household pets. They get a bath and safe preventative products are used to keep them free of fleas and ticks. Despite those efforts, last year he noticed his animals biting their skin and even his skin became irritated.

“The dogs started scratching constantly, (but I) couldn’t figure that out,” Dunn said. “They didn’t have fleas or anything. We started getting like tiny lacerations, almost like scratches on our legs would be the same way. Then the congestion, like, the stuffy nose.”

He says that all of this irritation is because of his mattress that contains 64% fiberglass. Dunn purchased the Zinus memory foam king-sized mattress for $360 in April 2018.

“I wash my sheets very often,” Dunn said. “As usual, I always take (my mattress cover) off. You just unzip it, the zipper is on there just like any other mattress cover that is put on it. So, I took it off.

Under the large content label is a small label with care instructions.

“To clean mattress outer cover, spot clean, let air dry,” it reads.

To clean it, most people would remove the cover, however, you’re not supposed to.

“Why else would you put a zipper easily accessible to a mattress cover?” Dunn asked.

Because his animals often sleep on the bed, he removed the cover which exposed the mattress filled with 64% fiberglass. Under light, the fibers are visible.

“There are just hundreds of thousands of little fiber everywhere,” Dunn said. “They just spring out once you take that cover off.”

He recently joined a class action lawsuit against Zinus, the mattress manufacturer, and several retailers. The suit alleges defective design once the cover is removed exposing the glass fibers — potentially causing personal injury and property damage. Dunn says to clean up the damage from the fiberglass throughout this home, one estimate he received is a staggering $25,600.

“They will vacuum the walls, the floors. Any hard surface. Everything,” he said.

In preliminary hearings, attorneys for Zinus have argued the mattresses comply with federal fire safety standards, that it was never a secret that fiberglass was used in the mattresses, and if the mattress and mattress cover stays intact and in place, then any fiberglass inside the bed poses no danger to you.

“This will tear up your entire world,” Dunn said. “This will literally tear up your entire world. Things you have work for years you will have to now toss out with no choice.”

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fiberglass is a common component in a variety of products. As for mattresses, the commission says it’s important to follow manufacturers’ instructions for washing and drying the mattress pads.

In the meantime, the class-action lawsuit continues, as several hundred plaintiffs in 40 states are suing the manufacturer.