Probing Into The Memory Foam Used To Make A Mattress

The terms ‘memory foam’ may make you intrigued about it especially due to the term ‘memory’ in it. You may wonder has memory got to do with a mattress material knowing that this word is related to your mobile phone, computer and of course yourself. Well read on to be enlightened.

The ingredient

The key ingredient used to make memory foam is polyurethane. This is a special compound that is actually a byproduct of petroleum and is obtained during the extraction and refining process of the crude oil. Apart from that here are few specific things that you should know about memory foam:

While making memory foam, apart from the polyurethane there are also a few other types of petrochemicals often mixed with it. These include:

  • Polyvinyl chloride
  • Boric acid
  • Formaldehyde and
  • Antimony trioxide.

All these are toxic chemicals and are harmful compounds by it.


The concerns

Now you may wonder how come this is used on a mattress that you are planning to buy and sleep on it for years to come. What are the consequences of it to your health? Well, read on.

According to the law, after 2004 all mattresses manufactured in the US needs to be fireproof up to a certain temperature point. This is made after the levels of toxicity levels in the memory foam mattresses have augmented making it very harmful.

Since there are lots of different heavy industrial chemicals it is considered to be unfit for the humans to sleep on.

According to the analysis report of a lab in Atlanta it is found that there are 61 types of different chemicals emitted from memory foam and a few of these are carcinogens containingnaphthalene and benzene.

The use of polyurethane is not monitored or regulated by OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administrations. Moreover, a few isocyanates in memory foam mattresses may cause harm to the skin and respiration problems.

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA have on the other hand has confirmed the toxicity of such chemicals and volatile organic compounds. It said that it is also found in other household items such as furniture, carpets, pillows and course mattresses.

The Duke University conducted clinical evaluations to find isocyanate compounds, benzene, acetone, ethylene oxide, methylene chloride, formaldehyde and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. They said that even a brief and minimal level of toxicity of such harmful compounds can cause asthmatic attacks.

As a flame resistant, di-isocyanates are used in foam mattresses and these are very highly reactive compounds. These are carcinogens to humans and in raw form can cause considerable skin and respiratory damage. During the mixing process this reacts with the polyols and produce flexible memory foam. The polyols are the binding compounds essential to make this polyurethane foam.


That is why you should read the full mattress review before buying. It will save your bedroom from:

  • Off-gassing
  • Bad odors and
  • Toxic buildup.

Remember, even if VOCs are said to be stable in a finished product, it can be still released from the memory foam especially under specific conditions in its use.

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