Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Mar 15, 2010 12:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2, 2010
Points: 27
 

Memory Foam products, commonly known as Polyurethane foam, are quite flammable. To counter this problem the Polyurethane foam manufactures have for the past 30 years used "flame retardants" or "combustion modifyers".  These include Poly Brominated Diphenyl Ethers "PDBE", Melamine, other halogenated (chlorine or bromine containing) compounds in conjunction with organic phosphorus compounds such as phosphate esters.

http://www.pfa.org/EFC9_Handout.html

PDBE Health and environmental concerns

Since the 1990s scientists have questioned the safety of PBDEs. People are exposed to low-levels of PBDEs through ingestion of food and by inhalation. PBDEs bioaccumulate in blood, breast milk, and fat tissues. Personnel associated with the manufacture of PBDE-containing products are exposed to highest levels of PBDEs. Bioaccumulation is of particular concern in such instances, especially for personnel in recycling and repair plants of PBDE-containing products. People are also exposed to these chemicals in their domestic environment because of their prevalence in common household items. Studies in Canada have found significant concentrations of PBDEs in common foods such as salmon, ground beef, butter, and cheese.[3] PBDEs have also been found at high levels in indoor dust, sewage sludge, and effluents from wastewater treatment plants. Increasing PBDE levels have been detected in the blood of marine mammals such as harbor seals.

Published studies express concern because exposure to PBDEs impairs development of the nervous system. PBDEs have also been shown to have hormone disrupting effects, particularly on estrogen and thyroid hormones. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that PBDEs are particularly toxic to the developing brains of animals. Peer-reviewed studies have shown that even a single dose administered to mice during development of the brain can cause permanent changes in behavior, including hyperactivity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybrominated_diphenyl_ethers

 

Related:

EPA Study Reveals Possible Connection Between Common Household Pollutant and Feline Hyperthyroidism

http://www.aspca.org/pressroom/press-releases/082207-1.html

BPA Plastics and PBDEs Increase Concerns for Infertility

http://www.naturalnews.com/028219_BPA_infertility.html

Levels of Common Fire Retardants in Humans are Rising Rapidly

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/apr/20/local/me-chemicals20

This message was modified Mar 20, 2010 by zzzombie
Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #9 Mar 20, 2010 5:37 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
Hi Diane :)

Yeah I spent the night on my parents Tempur in their guest room and my eyes also watered up quite a bit, throat also got dry and irritable.  The wierd thing for me is that I have never considered myself hyper sensitive to these kinds of things.

Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #10 Mar 20, 2010 6:15 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Thanks a lot guys, for those responses re memory foam and for the OP for posting this info re mem.foam toxins.

I had just assumed it was dust mites, but now I am suspecting the memory foam pillow. I have been having EXTREMELY watery eyes in my bedroom for several months, but since I am allergic to dust mites and we do not have allergy covers around our mattresses for various reasons, I figured dust mites were the culprits. They may still be, but first I'm going to try switching to another pillow. Even though I do have a dust-mite proof pillow cover, I bet those fumes could get through it. Also my wife is using a layer of Ostock fake Venus memory foam in her bed right next to mine, so that could be it, too, but I'm more inclined to suspect my pillow.

The weird thing is, this happened a few months ago and I thought I had an eye infection or eye allergy so I have tried about 5 different kinds of eye drops with no success. I cleaned the room very thorougly a couple months ago and that did not help either.

Well, I'll let you know if changing my pillow helps.

What kind of pillow is less likely to affect my allergies? Just a regular dacron type?

Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #11 Mar 20, 2010 6:54 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
technically speaking polyester (dacron) is made of hydrocarbons and does off-gas.  its odourless...but it off gases.  Not saying it will be as bad as memory foam but the very best is anything all natural.  wool, silk, cotton, latex, down, down/feather, buckwheat hulls, kapok.  if you are concerned about dustmites and allergies then a wool filled pillow or a silk pillow is something you actually might want to carefully consider, or latex.
Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #12 Mar 21, 2010 2:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2, 2010
Points: 27
confusedbedbuyer wrote:

I notice that TempurPedic skirts the question of what exactly is offgassing in their mattresses when consumers complain about the smell. 

Do you know what that is that is offgassing?

 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyurethane

Polyurethane foam (including foam rubber) is often made by adding small amounts of volatile materials, so-called blowing agents, to the reaction mixture. These simple volatile chemicals yield important performance characteristics, primarily thermal insulation.

By the late 1990s, the use of blowing agents such as carbon dioxide, pentane, 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (HFC-134a) and 1,1,1,3,3-pentafluoropropane (HFC-245fa) became more widespread in North America and the EU, although chlorinated blowing agents remained in use in many developing countries.[3]

 

To answer the question more fully,  offgassing could include: volitile blowing agents which are used whip the plastic into a foam, left over catalyst, surfactants, and small amounts of unreacted monomers.

So....Why are we hearing complaints of people with watery eyes and/or stuffy nose ???

The Small amounts of unreacted toluene diisocyanate (monomer), which share some properties with known lachrymators (tear gas). But this would also be much less volitle than common lachrymators.

This message was modified Mar 21, 2010 by zzzombie
Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #13 Mar 21, 2010 2:36 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
Great post my friend.....I am learning more and more now about why these problems are occurring for people now. 

I noticed based on other posts that you are probably not in the mattress industry...are you a chemist or something?

Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #14 Mar 22, 2010 2:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2, 2010
Points: 27
budgy wrote:

Great post my friend.....I am learning more and more now about why these problems are occurring for people now. 

I noticed based on other posts that you are probably not in the mattress industry...are you a chemist or something?


7 yrs of intense study in that subject....yes.

Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #15 Mar 22, 2010 4:53 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
well I for one really appreciate you taking the time to actually explain what some of these chemicals are....saves me tons of time on the research end of things.  Now I have a legitimate answer for people who might have concerns about that particular issue.
Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #16 Mar 25, 2010 10:01 AM
Joined: Jan 31, 2010
Points: 54
So, budgy and zzzombie:  is the practical application of the knowledge presented in this thread that the best/only way to avoid significant offgassing in a mattress is to get an all natural latex mattress?

 

Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #17 Mar 25, 2010 11:56 AM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
Believe it or not...its actually probably the most cost effective way to do so.  The alternative is to get something like a Vi-Spring or a Hastens which will be a lot more money.  Or you could do somelike like an all natural futon....still not going to be truly cheap, probably as much or more than a regular pillowtop mattress, and arguably not the most comfortable for most people. 
Re: Good reasons to avoid memory foam products
Reply #18 Mar 25, 2010 8:54 PM
Joined: Mar 2, 2010
Points: 27
confusedbedbuyer wrote:

So, budgy and zzzombie:  is the practical application of the knowledge presented in this thread that the best/only way to avoid significant offgassing in a mattress is to get an all natural latex mattress?


Offgassing PU is not the main concern. Long term health issues caused by sleeping, breathing & absorbing the insideous "fire retardants" into your body from this material can persist for years. That is my concern.

all Natural Latex does not have that issue.

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