Memory foam mattress and pillows have become quite popular for their many benefits. It has one of the highest ratings on comfort and durability. However, it still has its problems. Off-gassing is one of the few issues users have with memory foam. This article hopes to teach you about memory foam off gassing and how you can deal with it. But, first, let us understand what is off-gassing.
What Is Off-gassing?
According to wisegeek, off-gassing, sometimes called outgassing, is the release of chemicals from objects under normal conditions of pressure and temperature. You might observe this phenomenon in your new furniture, new car, fresh paint, dry cleaning, etc.
Most manufactured products emit odors based on their chemical components. But the term “off-gassing” refers more to the release of VOCs or volatile organic compounds.
What Chemicals Are In Memory Foam?
Memory foam mainly uses polyurethane but also contains other chemicals. Aside from the chemicals in the foam, it may also use chemicals for adhesives and flameproof. Even natural latex foams contain chemicals for adhesives and flameproof.
According to beded.net, many of the chemicals are innocuous, but some may be worth looking into. Here are some chemicals that pose potential danger:
- Toluene/Methyl benzene
- Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate
- Methyl chloroform
- Methylenedianiline (MDA)
- Methylene chloride
- Vinilideine Vinylidene
Chemical content varies among different manufacturers because they have different “formulas.” Even though some of the chemicals are classified as harmful and carcinogenic, mattresses in the market are generally safe. According to the EPA and Polyurethane Foam Association, finished memory foams do not represent a health hazard. Most manufacturers eliminate the most harmful VOCs to reach a safety standard.
What Are The Common Health Risks Of Memory Foam?
As mentioned above, memory foam mattresses in markets have already undergone safety checks. No studies show that memory foam is toxic or cancer. While the odor from memory foam off-gassing is unpleasant, it doesn’t harm most users. However, there is still a small percentage of owners who report some health complaints. These common complaints gassing are skin irritation, respiratory irritations, headaches, and nausea. The symptoms go away when the person removes the exposure or contact.
Third Party Certifications For Household Goods
Consumer safety is vital. Over the years, there has been an increase in safety advocacy for consumers. For furniture, there’s Greenguard and Scientific Certification Systems that certify that goods are low to no-emission. For mattresses, look for certification from Certi-Pur. They are an organization that independently test mattresses for VOC and other chemicals.
How To Deal With Memory Foam Off-gassing
Manufacturers might provide steps to minimize the exposure to off-gassing. It usually involves airing out the mattress in a well-ventilated space for a few hours or days. Limit your exposure to the off-gas by not putting it in the house. You can let it off-gas in the garage before you place it in the room. If not, ask the furniture or mattress store if you can ventilate it in their showroom before taking it home.
Mattress off-gassing happens at different rates; it could run for a few hours to as long as a few years. In some furniture, VOCs are undetectable because they are odorless. That might be more harmful because there’s no warning. At least with unpleasant odors, you get a warning; and therefore, you can limit your exposure to it.
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Memory Foam Benefits
Despite the off-gassing, memory foam still continues to be popular because of its benefits.
Because memory foam follows the contours of your spine, back, and the rest of the body, it reduces the pressure on pressure points. People who experience backaches and joint pain report significant improvement.
It also improves posture because it allows the natural curving of the spine.
The material in memory foam prevents dust mites from collecting on the mattress.
The decrease of pressure on pressure points improves the overall comfort of the user. However, it also depends on the density of the foam. The denser the foam is, the firmer it is initially. It may take a while to follow your figure. The less dense the foam, the more instant softness you get.
Memory foam generally has a long lifespan. Of course, this is so considering you are taking measures to prevent wear and tear.
Mattress And Pillow Options
If you still are not convinced of the safety of memory foam, you can opt for more natural materials. Natural latex foam is the most natural because it is made from the sap of a rubber tree. However, it contains some chemicals for adhesives and fireproofing.
If you want the benefits of memory foam, but less of the risks, you can mix it up by having a more natural base, and use a memory foam topper instead. That way, there’s fewer chemicals.
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There are lots of other options for pillows that are more natural and have no off-gassing. There’s down, feathers, latex, cotton, wool, kapok, buckwheat hull and millet hull. You can see comparisons of the different types of pillows with their pros and cons.
Off-gassing happens in most mattresses, pillows, and even other household items. It happens when chemicals, particularly VOCs (Volatile organic compounds), are released from items like a mattress, carpet, fresh paint, etc. For memory foam mattresses, you can air it out and let it off-gas away from you. Over time, the odor does fade, but the rate depends on the manufacturer as well.
Memory foam off-gassing is generally safe because manufacturers follow safety protocols. Off-gassing is a common phenomenon because it happens to a lot of everyday things like the sofa, your car seat, carpets, etc.
Most mattresses contain only small amounts of the potentially harmful chemicals. However, to be safer, you can look for certifications from CertiPUR, an organization that tests mattresses for VOCs and other chemicals. You can also opt for more natural products like natural latex.
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