Are there harmful chemicals in my mattress?

by Star Furniture on December 29, 2016

The topic of whether or not your mattress contains harmful chemicals has been tossed around quite a bit lately. While the concern over such an issue is valid (seeing as we spend most of the night on our mattress), we decided to do a little digging to understand what you should and shouldn’t be concerned about when it comes to your mattress.

Here’s the breakdown:

Why is this there a concern about harmful chemicals being used in our mattresses today when we’ve been sleeping on mattresses for decades?

Most of these concerns revolve around some of the newer hi-tech mattresses that use upholstery material made of natural or synthetic fibers, latex foam or polyurethane foam – all of which are highly flammable. Additionally, it wasn’t until 2007 that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a federal mattress flammability standard across the industry, which estimated to prevent up to 75% of the deaths and injuries that result from mattress fires.

From this new law, consumers raised concerns over whether or not mattress manufacturers are using potentially harmful fire-retardant chemicals to meet this standard.

For example, some of these potentially harmful chemicals include:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE’s)
  • Phthalates
  • Mercury, lead, and heavy metals
  • Ozone depleters
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Exposure to these types of chemicals are linked to various health risks including skin irritation, learning and memory deficiency, cancers, heart, lung and kidney damage, or birth defects.

Are mattress manufacturers using these harmful chemicals?

The answer to this question is no. According to the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), U.S. mattress manufacturers are “not required to use and do not use these chemicals to pass federal standards.”

How do mattress manufacturers meet the flammability standard?

According to ISPA, U.S. mattress manufacturers meet the CPSC requirement by surrounding the flammable material used in mattresses with fiber or fabric barriers. For even further reassurance, the CPSC also concluded from their own study that the fibers used in these barriers “are not likely to present a hazard to consumers, workers, or the environment.”

What else can I do to ensure my mattress is safe?

While the CPSC reassures us that harmful flame retardant chemicals aren’t being used by manufacturers, it’s still important to inform yourself of the safety standards your favorite brands are following. For example, our Serta and Beautyrest mattress brands were one of the first to meet the CertiPUR-US foam certification standard across all polyurethane foams used in all of their beds.

This testing certification means that foams have been independently tested in a laboratory, and certified to meet standards of cleanliness and content (which means consistent in quality). Here’s another breakdown of what this certification means:

  • Low emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality
  • Made without ozone depleters
  • Made without mercury, lead, and heavy metals
  • Made without formaldehyde
  • Made without Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE’s)
  • Made without Phthalates

No bad chemicals in these babies! Additionally, this certification also means that all of Serta/Simmon foam suppliers have agreed to meet this standard in their supply contracts. Materials are constantly tested to ensure harmful chemicals aren’t being used that can be dangerous to consumers or those with allergies, asthma, etc.

All of Aireloom’s foam products are also CertiPUR-US certified too! Here is a list of all participating mattress companies that meet CertiPUR’s standards.

Other reliable safety standard certifications you can also reference include the following:

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
  • Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
  • Oeko-Tex Standard 100
  • Greenguard
  • Greenguard Gold
  • Organic Content Standard 100


It’s important as a consumer to know that the mattress you’re sleeping on is safe. 🙂

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