Commonly Used Toxic Materials in Matresses

As an intern working with Your Guide to Green, I’ve discovered some shocking information about the mattress you sleep on every night. Did you know that there are tons of chemicals used to create your mattress? Did you also know that these chemical could be detrimental to your health? Personally, I was unaware of the toxic dangers of my mattress. I never thought anything of it. However, after becoming aware of the problem, I believe that everyone should know of the dangers their chemical filled mattress. Now, you may be wondering, “What do you mean my mattress is filled with chemicals?” “Why wouldn’t there be more warnings about mattresses if they were actually dangerous?” To these I have to say, yes, your mattress has many different harmful chemicals residing in it, and you don’t know about it because the mattress companies don’t want you to know about it. I’m here to tell you what mattress companies don’t want you to know.

Commonly used toxic materials in mattresses


The foam itself, both memory foam and polyurethane foam, is petroleum-based. That means it’s made of tons of toxic chemicals. It also means that it will break down over time and, as it’s breaking out, it off-gasses volatile organic compounds.
  • The volatile organic compounds off gassed from foam can irritate the eye, nose, and throat. It cause headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea. It can also cause damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
  • Toluene, a neurotoxin that off gasses from foam, is the same gas associated with the smell that comes from paint thinners.

Synthetic Latex

Synthetic Latex is also made with two petroleum-based substances called styrene and butadiene. Both of these substance off-gas toxic chemicals that can cause damage to your body.
  • Shown to cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, and depression
  • Increases risk of leukemia and lymphoma

Chemical Flame Retardants

Since mattresses are made with petroleum-based materials, they are extremely flammable. In order for mattress companies to combat this, they drench the mattress in flame retardants. These chemicals are know to cause life-long health problems.
  • Has been proven to delay puberty, delay reproductive development & cause neuro-behavioral changes
  • Found to harm brain and nerve function

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