Chemicals in Mattresses
Are mattresses safe? Really safe? Safe for Kids, Adults...Dogs?
Published on May 23, 2012 by Senator Durbin
About the Application of Glues in Standard Mattresses
Mattress manufacturers use glues to bond the inner layers of mattresses together as well as to bond the fabric cover to the core.
Adhesives can be rolled to bond each layer or can be diluted in water and sprayed over each surface to be bonded. This second application method allows manufacturers to call their glue a "water based adhesive".
A water based adhesive is a simple process whereby water is mixed in with a solvent based adhesive to facilitate spraying the glue over each mattress surface. When the glue dries, all water molecules in the adhesive evaporate and only the adhesive which emit VOCs is left behind.
The long-term health effects that may occur after prolonged exposure to Volatile Organic Content (VOC) found in Adhesive/Glue solvents include cancers, damage to the heart, liver, central nervous system and kidneys.
Find out more about the GREENGUARD certified glues we use.
Components used for the production of polyurethane memory foams
Components researched: isocynates; methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane; acetone; benzene; ethylene oxide; formaldehyde
Biological Monitoring - Is memory foam safe?
Clinical evaluations conducted by Duke University; Source ATSDR - Public health advisory Public Health Implications: The exact amount of TDI required to cause adverse health effects is unknown. People have become sensitized after being exposed to as little as 20 parts per billion (ppb). After sensitization there is no amount of TDI that one may be exposed to safely. Studies have shown that in sensitized individuals, asthmatic attacks can occur after exposed to TDI air concentrations as low as 0.1 ppb.
Testing Results: Of 113 participants tested, 10 participant (9%) developed antibodies.
Perfumes and Deodorizers
Certain imported polyurethane memory foam products have industrial perfumes to mask the chemical odour that exists in their products.
Chemicals Found in Air Fresheners:
o Tributyltin maleate (carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity etc)
o Bonded quatermary ammonium chloride compounds
o Phenolics (wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenol)
o Paradichlorobenzene (anticipated to be a carcinogen)
For articles written about chemicals in mattresses visit:
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
- Water based Adhesives Technology Review
- Aerias - Air Quality Sciences
1. Tinnerberg H, Dalene M, Scarping G, Air and biological monitoring of toluene diisocyanate in a flexible
foam plant. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 58:229-235 (1997)
2. Bernstein JA. Overview of diisocyanate occupational asthma. Toxicoligy 111:181-189 (1996)
3. Wegman D, Pagnatto L, Fine L, Peters J, A dose - responsive relationship in TDI workers. J Occup
Med 16:258-260 (1974)
4. Bauer X, Merek W, Ammon J, Czuppon A, Marczynski B, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Roemmelt H, Fruhmann
G. Respiratory and other hazards of isocynates. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 66:141:152 (1994)
5. California Environmental Protection Agency. Determination of Formaldehyde and Toluene Diisocyanate
Emissions from Indoor Residential Sources. Contract no. 93-315 Columbus, OH:Battelle, 1996.
6. ACGIH. Documentation of the Threshold limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices, 5th ed.
Cincinati, OH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, 1986.