What You Should Know About Off-Gassing and Memory Foam
Memory foam products are great, but what’s with that odd smell? Memory foam products are consistently rated highly by consumers for their durability, comfort, performance, and supportive qualities, but some people are put off by a “memory foam smell” that some products tend to harbor. Many individuals are concerned about the off-gassing process, which can lead to an unsavory odor that sticks with a new memory foam mattress for up to four weeks. Let’s explore more about why off-gassing happens and which types of memory foam products you can opt for to decrease or eliminate your exposure to off-gassing and that dreaded memory foam smell.
Why Off-Gassing Occurs
Off-gassing in memory foam products is due to the same process that leads to smells that you recognize in smelling fresh paint or the inside of a new car. Memory foam is made using some volitary organic compounds, or VOCs for short. When VOCs begin to break down, the off-gassing process begins as gasses are released as products of chemical reactions occuring within the foam. Specific to memory foam, VOCs including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, methylene chloride, formaldehyde, toluene, naphthalene, and perfluorocarbons are often utilized in creating the foam and adhesives in foam products. Though some of these chemicals may cause you to question the safety and potential toxicity of memory foam, no studies have linked memory foam with toxicity.
Minimizing Off-Gassing Exposure
Even though memory foam isn’t deemed toxic, there are still many individuals who find the off-gassing smell unpleasant or seek to limit their exposure to chemicals inside and outside of the home. The good news is that all memory foam is not created equal and consumers have the choice to choose memory foam made with fewer VOCs, cutting down on emissions and exposure to the off-gassing process.
When looking for memory foam products, opt for those that have the CertiPUR-US distinction. CertiPUR-US certified memory foam has to pass a stringent quality assessment and is free from heavy metals, ozone depleters, formaldehyde, phthalates, and a variety of flame retardants that are not as safe as some alternatives. CertiPUR-US certified foam is very low in VOCs – less than 0.5 parts per million. This means that off-gassing and emissions due to VOCs breaking down is lower in CertiPUR-US certified memory foam than in foam that has not undergone such strict testing. All Soft-Tex supplied foams are CertiPUR-US certified, demonstrating a commitment to high quality foams and consumer safety.
Though off-gassing may be alarming, studies have shown that it is not toxic. Whether you just dislike that memory foam smell or are trying to be more committed to limiting your exposure to chemicals in your environment, opting for memory foam products that carry the CertiPUR-US certified distinction can help you rest more easily at night with the knowledge that you are experiencing less emissions due to VOC break down and odor than may be found in other memory foams.