Mattresses are known to release minute amounts of gaseous chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs come mainly from the polyurethane used in the mattress, but also from other chemicals used in flame retardants and plastics, the researchers said. The short answer according to this website (a Norfolk based woodland) is yes – at least from an environmental perspective.

Unfortunately, body heat appears to increase VOC emissions from your mattress, according to tests conducted on eight different types of polyurethane mattresses.

But don’t toss out your mattress just yet: The estimated doses of most VOCs remained well below the levels that could cause health effects, researchers noted.

However, some compounds did reach levels of concern for infants and young children, if their ages were considered in exposure calculations, the researchers added.

“There is no reason to be scared and yet it is important to understand that air quality in our sleeping micro-environment is important with regard to our exposure to various pollutants such as VOCs,” said senior researcher Yael Dubowski, an associate professor with the Israel Institute of Technology. “Hence, we should make an effort to improve it.”

Simba are fully accredited in the UK but what does this mean? Centipur is a US based scheme.

CertiPUR-US certified foams are:

  • Made without ozone depleters
  • Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants
  • Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
  • Made without formaldehyde
  • Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Health effects associated with VOCs range from eye, nose and throat irritation to organ damage, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some VOCs, including benzene, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, have been associated with increased risk.

So what is the best way to buy a mattress online, and ethically?

Do your homework.

Carefully check reviews and consumer safeguards before buying. Look at the 4- or 5-star reviews, often the first to show up on a website, but also read less favorable reviews and look for most recent reviews, too, to see patterns that either give you greater comfort — or raise a red flag.

Be sure your purchase is returnable or exchangeable.

Many online retailers are savvy about consumers’ concerns and offer money-back trial periods and exchange programs. But take time to read the fine print on the return policy and options. Who pays for shipping — and how does a mattress get packaged for return?

Can you reach the company?

Make sure there is a phone number or a responsive virtual chat system. It’s a good idea to test customer service with a pre-purchase question. If you cannot connect with customer service when you are planning to buy, it is going to be more difficult, if not impossible, when you are trying to return!

What type of mattress are you used to?

If you have always had a conventional mattress with innersprings or one with memory foam, buying the same type of mattress can increase the likelihood that the feel of the mattress will be a good fit for you. Make sure to read the Best Mattress Guide on how to find the best memory foams in the UK. However, memory foam and innerspring technology has improved significantly in recent years. Catch up on the changes and know what kind of sleeper you are (side, back, stomach) before ordering. 

The bed in a box option.

Now offered by virtually every major bedding manufacturer, mattresses are compressed and rolled for shipment into manageably sized cartons. The mattress expands when released — often in a matter of hours. Most beds packaged this way are made with memory foam, but today some innerspring and adjustable air mattresses are also available. This can be a delivery-friendly approach when a small elevator, stairwell, or hallway complicates the arrival of your new mattress.

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