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Modern Memory Foam Health (TempurPedic) 02 Dec 2020 10:17 #1

Hello.

I recently purchased a Pro-Adapt mattress from a local brick and mortar store here in Canada. I was very happy with my purchase until I started researching after the fact, educating myself about the potential health impacts of memory foam.

My main area of concern is VOC emission. I have breathed enough VOCs at my regular job, and I'd rather limit my exposure while my body recovers at night.

TempurPedic is certified by CertiPUR; however, their certification only guarantees "low VOC emission". I understand this mattress is not organic, but should I expect to have this mattress continuously emit low levels of VOCs throughout its lifespan? I understand that there is an on-going lawsuit against Tempurpedic (2013) for "harmful levels of VOC emissions". While this lawsuit is ongoing and no verdict has been given, I'm still curious as to whether Tempurpedic was certified by CertiPur back then? Have their products changed for the better in regards to health since 2013?

Can anyone give some insight into this?

Furthermore, I contacted Tempurpedic in regards to the use of flame retardants, and they told me they don't use any at all, and that instead they use a non-toxic 'fire sock'.
Can anyone corroborate this statement and give insight into what exactly this "fire sock" is?

Also, I have been looking at other smaller brands and some of them offer more health certifications than Tempurpedic. For example, one brand is certified by CertiPUR and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 on their memory foam. I don't understand why a smaller brand has more health credentials than a large brand like Tempurpedic?


Essentially my question in short is this -- Am I getting a potentially toxic product?



Thank you

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Modern Memory Foam Health (TempurPedic) 02 Dec 2020 23:32 #2

Hi EmMattress.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum. :)
Thanks for sharing your concerns with us!

My main area of concern is VOC emission. I have breathed enough VOCs at my regular job, and I'd rather limit my exposure while my body recovers at night.
TempurPedic is certified by CertiPUR; however, their certification only guarantees "low VOC emission". I understand this mattress is not organic, but should I expect to have this mattress continuously emit low levels of VOCs throughout its lifespan?


It makes good sense to limit your VOC exposure in your own home as you most likely have increased your sensitivity threshold by being exposed to a high VOC work environment. This being said there is no such thing as a foam material that has no VOCs since all materials will have some. The issue is to have very low background levels of VOCs. Certi-Pur provides such standards for testing which should be sufficient for the large majority of people (see post #2 here for more information about some of the more reliable "safety" certifications, including more in-depth information about Certi-Pur). There are certainly materials with very "low" VOC's that would still create issues for people with chemical sensitivities but the only way to know for sure is to medically assess our level of sensitivity and ask Tempurpedic to make the results of their testing public so that consumers can see for themselves (or at least to see the limits of the testing protocols that they use). You can read a bit more about how CertiPUR certify foams on their site here . Here is a specific example of a CertiPUR guide Certi-Pur. provides some durability testing as well but the density of the memory foam is a much better indicator of how long this mattress can last than any limited durability testing done by them.

Furthermore, I contacted Tempurpedic in regards to the use of flame retardants, and they told me they don't use any at all, and that instead they use a non-toxic 'fire sock'.
Can anyone corroborate this statement and give insight into what exactly this "fire sock" is?


A fire sock is the most common method used to pass the fire retardance regulations (and cigarette smoldering text as well). The "sock" is made of an inherent fire-resistant material that acts as a flame barrier and surrounds the materials and components in the mattress. There is more information about fire retardant methods that are commonly used in the industry in post #2 here and in post #4 here . This inherent fabric-type of barriers is ubiquitous in the mattress industry.

one brand is certified by CertiPUR and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 on their memory foam. I don't understand why a smaller brand has more health credentials than a large brand like Tempurpedic?


Oeko-Tex and Certi-Pur both test for harmful substances and VOC's within the limits of their testing protocols, although it's possible that a particular person that is very sensitive can still be sensitive to some materials that are certified. OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for many products, including fabrics and mattresses. In order to be certified OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, all components of the mattress have to comply with the required criteria without exception using their specific test criteria for harmful substances.
OEKO-TEX also maintains a list of active chemical products that have been inspected by independent toxicologists and assessed as harmless to human health when used as indicated and intended. These are divided into categories of products with biological activity, flame-retardant products, and accepted polymer fibers. You can read a bit more about the OEKO-TEX's Limit values of individual substances on their website.

Essentially my question, in short, is this -- Am I getting a potentially toxic product?


While generally speaking this would not be considered a toxic product some people may be sensitive to products that have multiple endorsements and certifications (particularly if they have health conditions such as MCS or multiple chemical sensitivities) so if you know you are in this group or the possibility of harmful substances or VOC's from the materials in your mattress is a bigger concern to you then I would ask Tempur whether they can provide you with the testing standards results they used to test or if they are publicly available. To put your mind at ease I would also enquire about the inherent materials used in the sock (rayon, silica, fiberglass, etc). but I wouldn’t get your hopes up because of the prevalent lack of transparency in the industry.

Although the discussion it's far from complete, you have a great deal of research on your hands, I hope that the information provided is somehow useful in determining if your current mattress level of VOC is in any way harmful to you.

Phoenix
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Modern Memory Foam Health (TempurPedic) 06 Dec 2020 11:55 #3

Thank you Pheonix, that was a very thorough and eloquent reply. I appreciate the sharing of knowledge.

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