Memory foam mattresses have gained quite a bit of popularity in the last few years, its conformity to your body and relieving pressure points have been major selling features. It is important to understand the chemicals involved in creating this type of foam and what the potential health implications of these chemicals may be towards our health. Many popular mattresses advertise the use of memory foam as a selling point, this open cell, temperature sensitive, petroleum based chemical polyurethane foam often claims origins with NASA research. Some of the ads make reference to astronauts using it in space. This of course is absurd since they would be sleeping in a weightless space. NASA never used this product because of its off-gassing. Some companies even claim that they have organic memory foam, making this claim even more absurd. (http://www.furnituretoday.com/article/565669-FTC_mattress_producers_settle_VOC_claims.php?nid=2373&mid=#MemberID) Memory foam differs from conventional polyurethane foam in that it uses a high-hydroxy polyol and different isocyanates. The formula for this material also utilizes surfactants, cell opening polyols and additives. Memory foam is extremely flammable and it must be soaked in chemicals such as boric acid or polybrominated diphenyl ethers to reduce the flammability. These chemicals have not been evaluated for their short term or long term health risks. Boric acid has become a standard method of reducing flammability of cotton fibres. In order to ensure even distribution and adherence to the cotton fibres, the boric acid is ground into a very fine powder prior to application. Now keep in mind that boric acid is a known poisonous pesticide and insecticide. This chemical is known for many health risks including genital damage, brain damage, anemia, infertility and birth defects. One agency in the USA reports that breathing moderate levels of boron can result in irritation to the nose, throat and eyes. Reproductive effects such as low sperm count were seen in men exposed to boron over a long period of time. Why expose yourself to this?
The other big problem with memory foam is the heat it retains. Considered a very dense type of foam it doesn’t breathe very well. The mattress grows hotter and hotter directly under you and you start to sweat. Eventually you get up dripping wet and very uncomfortable.
After a few years memory foam becomes less effective at reliving pressure, even while retaining its shape
A safe and healthier alternative to memory foam mattress is a latex mattress. While memory foam is created from a mixture of chemicals, latex foam is made from the liquid taken from a rubber tree, it has no chemical compounds. Latex is very supportive and durable. 100% Natural/Organic latex is renewable resource. It stays naturally clean, fresh and dry for its entire life. An organic latex mattress will hold its relative shape for at least 20 years without the formation of body impressions. Latex anatomically conforms to your body contours, distributing your weight across the entire surface, reducing pressure points. Latex is designed to breathe to promote excellent ventilation, ensuring your bed is always fresh. Latex is also naturally hypoallergenic, mildew and mold resistant and also resistant to dust mites.
|Latex||Memory Foam||Poly Foam|
|Pressure Relief||Very Good||Excellent||Fair|
|Temperature Comfort||Very Good||Very Poor||Fair|
|Motion Transfer||Good||Very Good||Good|
|Natural or Chemical Composition||Natural||Chemical||Chemical|
* – If firm
** – If high density