Some shocking truths about Volatile Organic Compounds aka VOC's in foam baby mattresses

di David Power febbraio 23, 2021

volatile organic compounds in a child's sleeping environment

Not so long ago there was a survey of baby mattresses in the USA which looked at VOCs in foam crib mattresses and it was pretty shocking.

They found that a baby’s exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) arising from its mattress is a lot greater than an adult’s. Like 10 times greater. Volatile Organic Compounds are basically chemicals that seep out from a product. 

Because infants inhale significantly higher air volume per body weight than adults and sleep a longer time, they experience about 10 times as much inhalation exposure as adults when exposed to the same level of VOCs. 

The researchers identified over 30 VOCs in the baby mattresses. These included phenol, neodecanoic acid and linalool that are frequently found in domestic cleaning products. 

VOC levels were significantly higher in a sleeping infant’s breathing zone when compared with bulk room air, exposing infants to about twice the VOC levels as people standing in the same room. 

New foam cot mattresses emit about 4 times as many volatile organic compounds as old cot mattresses. While this makes the case for old cot mattresses, you need to be careful here as used cot mattresses are a risk factor in SIDS and are often treated with chemicals (which wouldn’t fall into the VOC category) for fire resistance.

The bad news is that buying a new foam cot mattress might be cheaper, but the price you are paying in terms of your baby’s health may be very considerable. While the health effects of these VOCs is as yet undetermined, infants are considered highly susceptible to indoor air pollutants. 

The other bad news is that not many baby mattresses are tested and certified for harmful chemicals, so it can be hard to find one that you can feel completely comfortable with. Even worse, some baby mattress manufacturers engage in what is known as ‘greenwashing’, where they get part of their product tested and give the impression that the whole product is covered! 

The good news - Pure Zees makes an baby and toddler mattress that has been tested for VOCs and other harmful chemicals and has not only passed these tests but has aced them. Pure Zees has been independently scientifically tested by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and Allergy Standards Ireland certification program as well as for EN16890:2017 – the New European Standard for Cot Mattresses Safety.  All elements of our mattress have been tested and passed for a new parents peace of mind in know that they are giving their baby a healthier safer sleep environment.

David Power
David Power


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