Memory Foam Mattress Ingredients: are the dangers real or exaggerated?
Are the chemicals in your life freaking you out or have you found yourself wondering if products like memory foam mattresses are safe? If you’ve been looking into this type of mattress or any other, you may be wondering whether chemicals and odors could represent a real danger.
The concern is definitely a valid one, as we spend nearly one-third of our lives in bed on a mattress. Not to mention, all too often some new material or product is seemingly trying to kill us.
From flame retardants to foaming agents, the ingredients used on some memory foam beds can certainly raise some eyebrows. Many websites discuss toxins and other potential problems created by synthetic chemicals which has brought the issue to the forefront.
A Look Inside Memory Foam Mattresses
So, what are these things made of? Memory foam beds all have two core components: a polyurethane memory foam layer and a polyurethane foam core layer. These layers are wrapped in some type of fabric, and all mattresses must also have flameproofing of some sort to meet federal safety laws.
Some brands may include other materials as well such as gel or gel-infused foam, latex foam, or padding from polyester, wool or cotton. Most people are fairly familiar with these types of materials. The components people are usually concerned about are the memory foam itself and fire-proofing chemicals.
Choosing a Safe Memory Foam Mattress
In order to choose the healthiest possible memory foam bed, here are few things you could check for when shopping around:
1.Find out if a the foam is plant-based or made from petroleum. Plant-based foams have fewer synthetic materials in them and emit fewer VOCs.
2.Ask if the foam was made with MDI or TDI, as MDI is known to be safer.
3.Ask what kind of blowing agents are used; halogen gases CFCs/HFCs contribute to air pollution. Variable pressure foaming is a newer technique that negates the need for chemical blowing agents.
4.See what the memory foam is made of. Blends that have a portion made with plant-based materials (20%+) have less petroleum content and thus less propensity to off-gas.
5.Ask how the mattress achieves anti-flammability standards. Rayon treated silica and kevlar fabrics (not just seams) appear to be the safest options for reducing chemicals.
6.See if there are any testing standards applicable to the mattress. Oeko-tex and Certipur require a minimum level of VOCs and product safety.
7.Know that high-density foams have a greater amount of polymers, and thus are more likely to have stronger odors.
8.Ask where the actual memory foam and poly foam layers are manufactured. If it is in the US or EU, they are made under stricter regulations than some imported foams and could be a safer option.
While ideally manufacturers would be open about product ingredients, due to tough competition and trade standards many brands may not disclose the information, and many salespeople may be uniformed. You can research online or contact companies directly if salespeople are unsure or don’t offer satisfactory answers.