Most people don’t think about eco-credentials when shopping for a new mattress.
They might go to a few stores, test out a few options, and make a decision based on comfort or price.
But what if there was more to it than that? What if the materials in your mattress were harmful to your health and the planet?
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably not like most people. You care about the planet. You care about your health. You care about the health of the ones you love.
You might have even seen CertiPUR-US mentioned in some of my previous articles.
But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, What Is CertiPUR-US Certified?
I’ve already briefly covered CertiPUR-US here, but I feel it now appears in so many other articles that it deserves an article all to itself.
Read on to learn more about CertiPUR-US and what it means for you.
CertiPUR-US is a flexible polyurethane foam certification program run by a not-for-profit organization.
The program helps ensure that the foam used in mattresses and other furniture is made with non-toxic materials.
All Certipur-US certified products are rigorously tested and meet strict safety standards.
A CertiPUR-US certified foam is a flexible polyurethane foam that has been tested and certified by Certipur-US for the following characteristics:
In 1987 the Montreal Protocol came into being. It mandated that industries eliminate ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the year 2000.
Ozone depleters are chemicals that can damage the Earth’s ozone layer, so their use is strictly regulated.
The CertiPUR-US certification program tests foam for various characteristics, including the presence of ozone depleters.
PBDEs, TDCPP, and TCEP are all flame retardant chemicals that have been linked to health problems.
Certified foams are prohibited from containing any of the following flame retardants:
Heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.) are not common in the foam manufacturing process. However, CertiPUR-US still checks for these metals and only certifies foam with no heavy metal traces.
CertiPUR-US laboratory testing subjects foam to analysis at a molecular level so no heavy metals can slip through the net.
Formaldehyde is a chemical that can be released from some types of foam. It’s one of the main contributors to poor indoor air quality.
Phthalates are a class of chemicals that have been linked to health problems.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates some phthalates and requires them to be disclosed on product labels.
CertiPUR-US certified foams do not contain any of the eight Consumer Product Safety Commission regulated phthalates:
All CertiPUR-US certified foam has been tested and certified to produce a VOC level of less than 0.5 parts per million.
The EPA reports that indoor VOC levels are between two and five times higher inside the home than outside.
This is caused by chemical-laden furniture, bedding, etc., off-gassing chemicals into your home.
Choosing certified foam is one way to start stemming the tide of toxins and reducing VOC levels in your home.
The CertiPUR-US program is strict about the claims foam producers can make.
For a company to use the CertiPUR-US logo, its products must undergo rigorous testing and meet all of the applicable criteria.
If a company makes any unsubstantiated claims, it will lose its certification.
All products that carry the CertiPUR-US logo are independently lab tested to verify that they meet the certification criteria.
The independent nature of the testing is key to ensuring every product is given a fair chance to make the grade.
Once the CertiPUR-US certification is issued, it lasts for one year. After which time, companies have to go through the testing process again.
This ensures that companies are kept ’on their toes’ and have to keep up their high standards year on year.
The fact that there’s no quick answer to this question is part of the problem.
Some uncertified foam might not be too bad. The problem is there is just no easy way to know if the foam in a product is safe or not. Unless it’s certified, you’re taking a bit of a gamble.
Some companies make claims about their products being ’safe’ or ’toxin-free’ but offer no third-party verification.
Others may have their products certified by a less stringent program with lower standards.
So, if you want to be sure that the foam in a product is safe, your best bet is to go for something that’s CertiPUR-US certified.
Certified foam creates a healthier sleep environment when used by ethical mattress manufacturers.
However, certified foam is still foam and is prone to get warm when you sleep on it.
If you’re a hot sleeper, you might want to steer clear of foam mattresses and go for a cooler material, such as wool (which is naturally temperature regulating).
CertiPUR-US is not the only certification fighting the good fight against VOCs.
Many other certifications are keeping us and the planet healthy, such as:
There is a fee for testing and certification, but the amount varies depending on the number and type of certified products.
The time frame for testing and certification also varies depending on the number and type of products being certified. Generally speaking, it takes around two to four weeks from start to finish.
If a product doesn’t pass the certification criteria, the company has the option to make changes and resubmit it for testing.
There is a certain level of chemicals in almost all products. Polyurethane foams are no exception. However, buying CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foams ensures that these harmful chemicals are kept to an absolute minimum.
No. Certified foam is not a fire hazard. It will not contain any of the harmful flame retardants mentioned in this article, but it will still be flame retardant. This is usually achieved in a more natural way (a natural barrier of wool, for example) or with less harmful chemicals.
Stay on top of spills by spot cleaning and then drying immediately. If spills are left to soak into the foam, they will be almost impossible to remove. Arabella has more foam cleaning tips in her How to Deep Clean a Memory Foam Mattress the Eco-Friendly Way article.
Certified memory foam does not contain fiberglass. However, the memory foam might be in a product with fiberglass added. Always check with the manufacturer if you’re unsure.
Seeing the CertiPUR-US certification on a product gives you certainty.
The CertiPUR-US certification is strict about what companies can claim, and all products carrying the logo are independently lab tested.
Choosing a product with certified foam is one of the best ways to reduce VOC levels in your home.
The next time you’re in the market for a product containing foam (crib mattresses, mattress toppers, eco-friendly mattresses, yoga mats, eco-friendly furniture, dog beds, sofa beds, and bamboo mattresses, for example), look out for the CertiPUR-US logo.
Do you always insist on CertiPUR-US certified memory foam for your bedding and upholstered furniture? Or are you not concerned about the potential effects uncertified foam might have on your health and indoor air quality?
Are you looking to replace old off-gassing memory foam mattresses with CertiPUR-US certified foam mattresses? Drop me a line and let me know.