Memory foam is rising in popularity as a bedding staple. From memory foam pillows, to mattresses, to bedding toppers, memory foam has become a mainstay and a large force in the bedding industry. It’s likely that you yourself own some type of memory foam bedding product. If you do, you may have noticed that the appearance of the memory foam in your product has changed a little over time. Does your memory foam look yellower than it did when you purchased it? Does it look slightly off in color or maybe even discolored? Many consumers worry that discoloration of memory foam means that the foam has gone bad, become toxic, or will no longer perform like it used to. Do not be alarmed – whily many consumers have these worries, the slight yellowing or discoloration of memory foam is natural and in no way corresponds with the quality or performance of the foam. But why does this discoloration happen in the first place?
The largest contributors of polyurethane memory foam discoloration are light exposure, oxidation, and temperature. UV light exposure promotes the oxidation process in quinones, components that help make up the backbone of the polymer that helps create memory foam. Oxidation can also be caused by other environmental factors. Oxidation caused by motor emissions, gas powered furnaces, pollution, and ozone exposure can lead to the oxidation process, contributing to the yellowing in color of memory foam products. Elevated temperatures in the memory foam manufacturing process can contribute to scorched memory foam, which becomes discolored due to oxidation that happens following exposure to too high temperatures. Additionally, many memory foam products are outfitted with flame retardant chemicals. The addition of flam retardants into the memory foam can lead to discoloration due to the interaction of chemicals.
Generally, memory foam discoloration that is due to an oxidation process is permanent. This process often happens over time gradually and naturally. Though it can be baffling when one notices that a product’s color or appearance has been altered, in the case of memory foam, there is not much to worry about. Memory foam can still continue to function as it is meant to despite low levels of oxidation due to exposure to the environment that may cause discoloration.
You can opt for memory foam products with the CertiPUR-US certification to be even more sure about the quality of your foam. Foam that has received the certification has undergone stringent testing and is free from many of the more toxic chemicals sometimes found in memory foam such as formaldehyde and harmful flame retardants. If you have a product with the CertiPUR-US certification, you can be confident in the performance of your memory foam product even in the midst of noticing discoloration. In the case of noticing discolored or yellowed foam, remember that it is due to a natural reaction within the foam and that low levels of oxidation do not have negative consequences for the quality or performance of your favorite memory foam products.