Memory Foam – Is it Toxic?
Search for a memory foam mattress and you are sure to encounter question after question about the potential toxicity of memory foam, and the health effects of sleeping on a bed made of it. So are there chemicals in memory foam?
The short answer is yes. Memory foam is “polyurethane with additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density” (Wikipedia). The real questions are: what are these chemicals? Are they safe to use in a mattress? And will they cause you or your family health problems?
- The toxic chemicals formaldehyde, benzene, and naphthalene can be found in some foam mattresses.
- Isocyanates, a highly reactive chemical, is used to make flexible foams and can be found in memory foam. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, isocyanates:
- Can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin,
- Contain compounds classified as potential human carcinogens,
- Lead to chest tightness and asthma. Yale University cautions that prolonged exposure to isocyanates can cause “regular asthma, and asthma attacks that are triggered in many environments, not just by isocyanate exposure.”
- The chemical-smelling odors sometimes detected on gel foam are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There have been legal consequences for foam companies claiming their beds do not contain VOCs.
- Chemical flame retardants are often added to these type of foam mattresses for safety reasons. But these have been linked to several serious health problems, including developmental brain disorders, cancer, and obesity.
Mattresses of memory foam are usually comprised of retardants of chemical flame, which have been associated with a litany of health issues, as well as cancer, obesity, and developmental brain disorders. However, organic wool is known as a soft type of natural substance that cannot just permit a bed to move the compulsory flame test, but with the addition of an airy cushioning layer directly to the crest of your bed.
It’s normal to observe a chemical off-gassing type of odor on unloading a bed of memory foam. The most ideal approach to the disposal of such odor is to permit the bed to be exposed to fresh air through the process of ensuring air is moved through the room. It is possible to have this done by running the fan or opening the windows and doors.
Is Memory Foam Safe?
So are there any risks? It’s difficult to figure out the risks. We can’t emphatically declare a bed of memory foam will bring about “an effect” like this. The same way every individual tends to be different, is also similar to every bed. A few mattress users of memory foam come with the complaints of waking from their sleep with headaches, while other users develop issues relative to their respiratory system like asthma. Still other users are concerned with the long-term health impacts of years of being exposed to a material like this.
There’s no certainty of the risks that may be experienced. However, the only thing you can do is to make use of the available information about these type of foams, in order for you to make the most ideal decision.
Assessing risk is something we do on a daily basis, regardless of whether we have to decide on the food to purchase at the grocery or we have to cross the street. The choice you make on your bed is a similar thing. Accumulate pertinent information, take a consideration of the organic mattress choices, and make the decision that is the smartest for you!