Are Memory Foam Mattresses Toxic?

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Memory foam mattresses are very popular among homeowners because they are the least expensive model that offers great support and is averagely durable. The fact that is can follow your body’s natural shape makes it sound very attractive but what you ignore is that the memory foam is obtained during a process that requires treatments with several toxic chemicals. But just how toxic are these chemicals and how much harm can they cause? You are about to find out.

What’s in the memory foam?

At a closer look, the memory foam is a mixture of various components that are not commonly used by regular people, which makes them hard to comprehend. The odor is the first that lets you know something is not right about the mattress and it should be your first sign that you should look for a safer mattress. The odors are caused by polyols, an ingredient usually composed of petroleum oil. This ingredient is then treated with diisocyanates that react with it to produce the flexible polyurethane foam. This substance can cause respiratory and dermal problems and can even be carcinogenic, although the highest risk is during the manufacturing because once they react, they become inert and can off-gas, which is another risk of the memory foam mattress. Another dangerous ingredient is the blowing agent which is usually carbon designed to create the foam.

Which are the risks of memory foam mattresses?

All the chemical substances used in manufacturing memory foam mattresses have a reaction called off-gassing which emits volatile organic compounds that spread into the air and eventually reach into your body. Since they are being made with polyurethane, memory foam mattresses have that new-like odor that is actually the smell of VOCs dispersing into the air. This odor may disappear after a few weeks because most of the VOCs evaporate, but the danger is far from being over. Some of the organic compounds like the benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene, are extremely dangerous and can pose a huge risk to your health. It has been proven that these substances can cause severe respiratory issues, loos of consciousness, throat irritation, headaches, and allergic reactions.

What can you do to limit the dangers?

Before you buy a memory foam mattress, make sure you read the label to see if it contains the dangerous ingredients that can harm your health. Buy a mattress made either in the US or in Europe where the regulations are more strict and the manufacturers use fewer toxic ingredients so the memory foam mattresses are less likely to cause you health issues.

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