Is Memory Foam Toxic?

Last Updated On November 1st, 2018

Based on some sleep specialists, we have to be careful concerning the materials that we sleep on. Adults will spend on common eight hours per night time in bed asleep, so being related to a mattress that is dangerous in your well being is the very last thing anybody would need. Nowadays, most mattresses are created using human-made merchandise, lots of which contain using chemical compounds, machine manufacturing processes and flame retardants. Although a few of these elements are essential within the manufacturing course of, and even for the need of creating a flame retardant product, they might, the truth is, be harming your well being.

For hundreds of years, our ancestors have slept on pillows and beds on the bottom, and on prime of pure supplies like buckwheat or wool. It’s only been prior to now few many years that we’ve used newer materials like foam and other synthetic mattresses. The query is, are these new mattresses protected to use? The talk continues to be ongoing, but some consider that the adhesives and foam utilized in many mattresses might pose a danger to some people.

In this article, we’ll talk about one such materials, which is the much-loved reminiscence foam mattress. These are massively common and all the time in robust demand. Not only have costs come down in recent times, but they’re also doubtless extremely snug to sleep on, and notably helpful for individuals with again issues or some other specific want. Let’s take a extra in-depth look into this sort of foam mattress now, and the impression on our health:

What Is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is so-called due to its contouring properties whereby quite than compressing immediately down underneath your weight it flexes to encompass you. When you rise up there is a slight imprint of our physique which can slowly fade away, therefore the phrase ‘memory’ foam.

This kind of foam is created utilizing viscoelastic polyurethane foam, which is a low-resilience foam that permits the molecules to contour and twist beneath drive fairly than compress immediately downwards.

There’s additionally a much less widespread type generally known as high-density reminiscence foam which works not based mostly simply on the load of your physique, but in addition the warmth. In contrast to the normal foam which contours to your physique in a couple of seconds, higher-density reminiscence foam warms up and softens from your physique warmth, molding to your shape in a few minutes.

Memory Foam and Polyurethane Foam Elements

Have you ever questioned what your mattress is made from and whether its protected for you to be sleeping on night time after night time? Properly, memory foam mattresses are sometimes made using two core elements which are polyurethane foam, and then the material cowl.

Usually, the thick layers of froth which make up the core mattress are wrapped in a cloth cowl, sometimes natural bamboo cotton or perhaps a New Zealand wool blend which is then flameproofed to satisfy the federal safety laws for mattresses. The mattress cowl is extra generally some form of polyester, quilted wool, or premium cotton, nevertheless, we’ll save this matter for a special article.

Depending on the manufacturer or model range, the polyurethane foam mattress layers may additionally embrace other elements to scale back the toxicity and kit it extra in the direction of a plant-infused mattress. For example, the froth could also be infused with inexperienced tea, charcoal, copper, graphite, castor oil, and lots of extra pure extracts. Each of those has their advantages and of course, will influence the worth, longevity, cooling properties, and luxury.

Furthermore to the above, listed here are the extra widespread components, and more importantly, these are the much less marketed components which may probably be extra hazardous than we’d like:

  • Polyols – These are the binding ingredient used in the foam. Sometimes it’s created out of petroleum oil-derived elements, nevertheless it’s also attainable to build it utilizing natural sources reminiscent of castor beans or soybeans. Nevertheless, most brands use petroleum oil-derived Polyols because they are cheaper.
  • Diisocyanates – This ingredient causes the response of the Polyols and the blowing agents to supply the polyurethane foam that is wanted for memory foam mattresses. TDI is considered the more poisonous and dangerous choice, while MDI is the least hazardous isocyanate and subsequently could possibly be preferable.
  • Blowing Agents – This ingredient is essential for the response to create the froth. A blowing agent is a substance that’s capable of producing the mobile construction by way of a foaming process. Typically water, HFC or CFCs have been used as blowing brokers.

Flame Retardants In Memory Foam

Flame retardant iconIn line with some individuals, most of the components in memory foam are probably harmful. Nevertheless, it’s inconceivable to know particularly what elements are utilized in every mattress as a result of these are commerce secrets which allow them to distinguish their products from the competition.

Thankfully, US laws and laws have lowered the number of probably concerning chemical compounds which were used in mattresses up to now, though imported merchandise might not meet the identical guidelines. Mockingly, the merchandise that are required by the federal government for our safety could possibly be the ones who’re most dangerous for us to sleep on. Sadly, not all hearth retardant chemical compounds are protected to be around for lengthy durations of time.

In line with federal regulation, manufacturers should make sure that the froth is treated with a fireplace retardant or coated with fire-resistant material, but they don’t have to disclose their course of. Subsequently, it can be troublesome to know exactly what chemical compounds have been used on the mattress.

VOCs And Off-Gassing

A smelly off gassing mattress

Probably the most well-known danger surrounding mattresses is VOCs and off-gassing. VOCs are risky natural compounds, so-called not as a result of they’re harmful, however because they break down and release odors. Off-gassing is the discharge of these gases.

VOCs are extremely widespread; they are the odor of the brand new paint that you simply bought, the interior of a brand-new automotive, the odor of unworn socks and lots of other household merchandise that we’ve used for many years.

You could be questioning, are these gases really harmful for us to inhale? In giant concentrations, it’s believed that these gases might trigger health issues, but your mattress isn’t releasing large amounts, it’s a really low degree which is troublesome to watch.

In consequence, it’s exhausting for scientists to review the impacts of those gases, notably because they are released together. Some are protected while others are poisonous and subsequently it’s robust to correlate any results. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals can experience dizziness, nausea, sickness and protracted headaches when sleeping on reminiscence foam. Although this is able to usually point in the direction of an allergy, it’s definitely value noting the existence of such signs.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that not solely might sure brands of mattress launch more gases than others, however some people may additionally be extra delicate to those gases.

Sadly, it’s unimaginable for reminiscence foam mattresses not to embrace VOCs which release gases because this is how the foam is created. Subsequently, you need to be wary of corporations which declare to be VOC free or include no VOCs. Lately, the FTC sued and fined a variety of corporations making these claims because they might not again it up with research.

How To Reduce The Danger Of VOCs

VOC Free LogoTo attenuate the danger to you and your loved ones from the release of gases from the VOCs, you need to keep away from sleeping on the mattress for the first 24 to 48 hours after unpacking it. As an alternative, take away all the packaging and lay out the mattress flat in the place it can stay, i.e., on the bed frame within the right room. Depart the home windows open, permitting the odor and toxins to dissipate into the air. Additionally, it’s a good idea to wait some hours for the mattress to completely inflate into its measurement (if it was delivered vacuum rolled in a bed-in-a-box answer).

Extra fuel is released early throughout a mattresses lifetime, shortly reducing to a a lot lower degree. Subsequently, giving it a day or two to air out cannot solely take away the pungent odor which some detest however can scale back the number of gases that you simply and your family inhale. Some consider that even over the first few months it’s sensible to repeat this airing out for a number of hours each week to attenuate the number of gases that you simply’re inhaling.

Poisonous Mattress Signs

A woman feeling sick because of her mattress off gassing

Most commonly individuals report problems including morning complications, muscle ache, nausea, lack of focus and fatigue. Though these symptoms gained’t disappear immediately, they need to drastically scale back shortly after leaving your property. If so, it’s a very good indicator that it might be related to your sleeping arrangements.

Additionally, if these signs are after shopping for a new mattress, this might be a superb indicator as to VOCs being the wrongdoer. If, nevertheless, after weeks have handed and signs are still current, it could possibly be due to an allergy to one of many elements in the mattress.


Polyurethane foam itself is considered probably toxic because of the various elements that go into making it, which themselves are categorized as poisonous. Nevertheless, many human-made components which we used ourselves around the house every day are also categorised as toxic.

It’s troublesome to understand how poisonous this foam is, primarily because the stories of well being problems are few and much between, which might point out that some people are extra susceptible than others. Nevertheless, many on-line mattress retailers supply sleep trials, and subsequently you may contemplate one, solely to return it free of charge in case you notice unwanted side effects. Alternatively, to be rather more confident in your purchase, maybe attempt a toxic-free mattress as an alternative.