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What Is That Smell? The Good, Bad and Ugly Of Memory Foam Mattresses

Jan 09, 2014

If you have ever purchased a new car, mattress or furniture, you are familiar with the "new car" smell. What was once considered the sign of something new is now more widely understood to be potentially toxic and hazardous to our health. The scent emanating from your new car, mattress or furniture is the smell of chemicals off-gassing into the air you breath.

Off-gassing is not necessarily something bad. Off-gassing is the occurrence of tiny particles leaching from a source and becoming airborne. A dozen red roses is a perfect example. There is a distinct scent, which is a chemical released by the flower to attract insects. But off-gassing of man-made urethane, or plastics and foam, can release man-made chemicals into the air you breath and cause health issues. This is especially true of the foams in furniture and some mattresses.

There are some basic ways to make foam, and though there are different formulas, foam is made from petroleum-based compounds. To make them foam up, there are foaming agents added to the mixture of compounds to create a foam. Some of these foam formulas contain materials that, when become airborne, can cause harmful health issues, such as allergic reactions. 

Not all foams contain the same additives however, so not all foams will off-gas harmful materials. Some companies are working hard to develop foams that do not require certain known harmful agents. Nest Bedding only sells foam mattresses from sources that use foams certified. We also make sure to use manufacturers that pass the fire laws with non-chemical materials such as hydrated silica, Allesandra fabrics and wool.

The next time you make a major purchase, ask questions. Find out if the company selling you their products can account for the scents you are smelling. If they cannot ensure via 3rd party that their products are non-toxic, look elsewhere. It is your health and the health of your family at risk.


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