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Probing Into the Memory Foam Used to Make a Mattress and things you did not know.

HomeWellnessProbing Into the Memory Foam Used to Make a Mattress and things...

The term ‘memory foam’ may make you intrigued about it especially due to the term ‘memory’ in it. You may wonder what has memory 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 a byproduct of petroleum and is obtained during the extraction and refining process of crude oil. Apart from that here are a 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 this is used on a mattress that you are planning to buy and sleep on 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 need 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 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 containing naphthalene and benzene.

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

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has on the other hand 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.

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 produces 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, they can be still released from the memory foam, especially under specific conditions in its use.

Things you did not know about memory foam mattresses

Memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular due to their comfort and support. Here are some interesting things you may not know about memory foam mattresses:

  1. NASA Innovation:
    • Fact: Memory foam was originally developed by NASA in the 1960s for use in aircraft seats to enhance safety during crashes. It was later adapted for consumer use in mattresses and pillows.
  2. Temperature Sensitivity:
    • Fact: Memory foam is temperature-sensitive and responds to body heat. It softens and conforms to the shape of the body when it comes into contact with heat, providing a customized sleeping surface.
  3. Different Types of Memory Foam:
    • Fact: There are various types of memory foam, including traditional, open-cell, and gel-infused memory foam. Each type has unique characteristics, such as breathability, cooling properties, and response time.
  4. Slow Response Time:
    • Fact: One characteristic of memory foam is its slow response time. When pressure is applied and then removed, the foam slowly returns to its original shape. This property helps distribute body weight evenly.
  5. Pressure Relief:
    • Fact: Memory foam is known for its excellent pressure-relieving properties. It contours to the body, reducing pressure points and promoting proper spinal alignment. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with chronic pain.
  6. Off-Gassing:
    • Fact: Some memory foam mattresses may emit a temporary odor known as off-gassing when first unpacked. This is typically due to the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The odor usually dissipates within a few days.
  7. Durability:
    • Fact: High-quality memory foam mattresses are durable and can last for many years. The longevity of a mattress depends on factors such as the density of the foam and the overall construction.
  8. Motion Isolation:
    • Fact: Memory foam excels at isolating motion, meaning that movements on one side of the bed are less likely to be felt on the other side. This feature is particularly beneficial for couples who want to minimize disruptions during sleep.
  9. Hypoallergenic Properties:
    • Fact: Memory foam is inherently resistant to allergens such as dust mites and mold. This makes it a good choice for individuals with allergies or asthma.
  10. Adjustment Period:
    • Fact: Some individuals may experience an adjustment period when transitioning to a memory foam mattress. This period allows the body to adapt to the new sleeping surface, and any initial discomfort often resolves within a few weeks.

While memory foam mattresses offer many benefits, personal preferences vary. It’s essential to consider factors such as mattress firmness, thickness, and specific features when choosing a memory foam mattress to ensure it aligns with your comfort preferences and sleeping needs.

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