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Memory foam

11 replies

ratbaggy · 06/10/2018 15:12

I've just bought a memory foam topper for
Our cheap spare bed as I'm sleeping there at the moment as 7 months pregnant and need the space.

The topper absolutely stinks of toxic chemicals. AIBU to not want to sleep on it as an scared of inhaling these or even them getting into my skin and affecting baby.

Have my moments of being rather OTT with things like this so need some advice.


OP posts:
Oysterbabe · 06/10/2018 15:19

The smell does go after a while. Maybe leave it out to air for a week.

ratbaggy · 06/10/2018 16:41

Thank you, will try that. Desperate for a comfy nights sleep.

OP posts:
SilverHairedCat · 06/10/2018 16:45

Yes, let it air in a room other than your bedroom for a day or two. It's called off-gassing, and I wouldn't want to breathe it in either.

Holidayfromreal · 06/10/2018 16:46

I read something about that from a mattress place, it's something they use to keep bugs away while they are in factories and should go after 4-5 days. Although it doesn't smell nice it's harmless.

jennymor123 · 09/10/2018 15:43

Mattress toppers are usually classed as mattresses under the UK furniture flammability laws (as opposed to mattress protectors). Which means, like mattresses, are stuffed with flame retardant chemicals which are toxic, babies particularly vulnerable. These chemicals easily wear off of fabric and fillings and are absorbed through the skin. The history of flame retardants is grim: the chemical industry releases them on to the market claiming they're safe. Then, after someone else spends a lot of time and money properly researching them, they're discovered to be toxic and banned. Flame retardants have been strongly linked with cancer, autism, thyroid disruption and much more. The chemical industry admits they get into babies' blood and mothers' breast milk but insists they're not harmful.

One kind of flame retardant - organophosphates - were banned in the UK for agricultural use, e.g. in sheep dips - but the UK furniture industry is still using them in prams, buggies, mattresses, etc.

The reason for these flame retardants is that the UK has the toughest furniture flammability laws in the world. Which wouldn't be quite so bad if they worked - but the government itself proved they don't four years ago. Which means our children are absorbing flame retardants on a massive scale, both from their bedding and means of transport, for no reason other than profits for the chemical industry. If you can, buy from anywhere else in the EU (except Ireland which has the same furniture laws as us).

jennymor123 · 09/10/2018 15:50

Incidentally, the advice from Silent Night and John Ryan is misleading. Both give the impression that the only problem with mattresses is a temporary smell. This is not the case. Flame retardants will be leaching out of your mattress and into you for some years after you buy it.

John Ryan says: "Given the low concentration of the chemicals, it is generally accepted that there is minimal risk." Again, this is misleading. The volume of flame retardants in a mattress can be as high as 30% of the overall weight - hardly minimal. And it is anything but generally accepted that there is minimal risk. Right now, for example, California is banning ALL flame retardants from children's mattresses because of their long history of being proven to be highly toxic.

ratbaggy · 09/10/2018 16:58

Very interesting! My instinct has been telling me the same so have not slept on in since.

Surely there needs to be an expose on this!!!

OP posts:
jennymor123 · 09/10/2018 17:09

There does and some of us are trying. The problem is that four different industries are going to lose money in order to remove flame retardants from UK furniture. The US had done so, pretty much, but it took a long time and a combination of US firefighters, green science campaigners, the Chicago Tribune and the governor of California, all backed up by strong public support. We don't really have any of that yet in the UK. The press have run a few articles but these days they're curtailed by owners who tend to rub shoulders with the immensely powerful flame retardant industry. And their lawyers who worry about being sued.

It doesn't help either that as said the UK flammability laws were proven to be faulty, which means the furniture industry in particular faces an angry backlash from consumers once they discover the truth. And the furniture industry could have done more: they've known for four years at least that the regulations don't work but have done nothing to push the government to put them right.

It also doesn't help that the flame retardant industry puts a lot of money in the way of high up officials in the UK fire services . . .

And it also doesn't help that the Grenfell Fire was made especially toxic by burning furniture. Note, however, how attention has been kept fixed on just the cladding? That's no accident, believe me.

MemoryOfSleep · 09/10/2018 17:15

I presume your DP is on the main bed? If so, why? Couldn't he have the spare bed and you the comfy one?

MemoryOfSleep · 09/10/2018 17:18


Could you send post the links to relevant studies please?

jennymor123 · 09/10/2018 19:45

There are lots of studies but two recent key ones are:

Professors Richard Hull and Anna Stec's paper in Chemosphere in December 2017, based on extensive testing research. The main conclusion of this paper is that a chemically treated UK sofa is actually more dangerous than an untreated EU sofa - because the flame retardants in the UK sofa produce large volumes of deadly fumes such as hydrogen cyanide as soon as they ignite:

Professor Stuart Harrad has for years been showing that UK homes contain the highest levels of FR dust in the world. His latest paper also shows that FR dust is absorbed via the skin (not just inhaling), e.g. sitting on your sofa/mattress is enough:

I'd also advise checking out the website of the Green Science Policy Institute: Learn about the amazing Arlene Blum. The same flame retardant companies ply their trade in the US as in the UK, and the issues are the same.

You might also want to check out the HBO documentary, "Toxic Hot Seat" directed by Robert Redford's son, that won many awards. Again, it's based on the US situation but same chemicals and same cons.

Also, the Chicago Tribune's site is full of interesting and scary stuff on FRs in

Finally, for the full story of the UK scandal, and how our own government is putting everyone's lives at risk, check out: //

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