To understand what a non-toxic mattress is, we can discuss what is considered toxic in standard mattresses. One dangerous material used in mattress production is polyurethane foam, a low quality, inexpensive mattress foam used in many of the conventional brands on the market. Polyurethane is actually a byproduct in the refinement of petroleum as crude oil. As the foam is made, it is often mixed with other chemicals to make the mattress fire safe and give it other qualities. Some of these chemicals are formaldehyde, boric acid, and polyvinyl chloride. These chemicals can come off of the mattresses over time in your home and are called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These gasses are not healthy to breathe and can cause health issues. These emissions have even been studied in some labs and have been identified as potential carcinogens benzene and naphthalene. Non-Toxic mattresses contain less of many of these dangerous items.
A non-toxic mattress can be very helpful for a wide range of consumers. People with respiratory conditions or skin sensitivities would really benefit from the reduction of VOCs in their environment. VOCs, for these people, can exacerbate their breathing issues or induce allergic reactions. Also, pregnant women, children, the elderly and anyone else considered immunocompromised should avoid VOCs. The possibility of carcinogens in mattresses is, of course, a major concern. VOCs are the main player in the degradation of health. Using a non-toxic mattress is the best thing you can do for your health in terms of sleep routine.
The main con of a non-toxic mattress is that they are usually a little bit more expensive than a conventional mattress. Even though they will outlast several purchases of a less expensive mattress, it is going to be more of an upfront investment. Another consideration of non-toxic mattresses is that they are also sometimes harder to find and therefore can take more of an effort to shop for. They are not as readily available so when shopping for a non-toxic mattress, you will want to do your research ahead of time and know what you need to look for.
Memory foam mattresses are a very common mattress option. However, the problem with many memory foam mattresses is that they are made out of the polyurethane components mentioned above. This introduces all of the concerns discussed from respiratory damage, to skin irritation, to carcinogens. Memory foam, while it is more readily available, is a lot more risky to bring into your home.
The main people that should be greatly concerned with getting a non-toxic mattress are those who may have pre-existing conditions or be immunocompromised. Anyone with respiratory concerns, skin sensitivity, anyone pregnant, the elderly, or children should definitely have a non-toxic mattress. The average human being spends about 8 hours of the day in bed, near their mattress, breathing the chemicals that may or may not be around them. This works out to roughly a third of your life! It should be a priority of everyone to choose the best quality mattress they can.