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I think I made a Big Mistake with memory foam 11 Nov 2014 16:39 #1

  • canmark
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My wife and I purchased a new bed in July. We did a bit research and went to a bunch of showrooms and tried out their beds. We ended up purchasing a Sealy Optimum Memory Foam Mattress from Sleep Country. We asked about the smell and he said that all memory foam beds have it and that a loaf of white bread is more toxic. He said to air it out for a couple of days in which we did. In summertime we sleep with our windows open anyway so there is a nice breeze coming through our room so the smell was bearable. The memory foam is very comfortable and we like it.

However, in the last month or so, we had to close the windows since it is getting colder (we live in Barrie ON). In this time I have noticed that I wake up with a dry scratchy throat, burning eyes and a weird taste in my mouth. I thought it was a cold or flu but when I was out of town, my symptoms lessened and I thought I was getting better. When I returned home I noticed that the symptoms returned. So I checked it out again by sleeping downstairs and I felt better. I also noticed that I am very tired in the morning as well and feel tired throughout the day. I now suspect the memory foam is making me sick. My wife stated that she noticed a chemical smell still but doesn't know how it affects us.

The problem is that its been over three months so I don't think I can return the bed to Sleep Country even though we only noticed the symptoms when we had to close the windows which stopped the fresh air flow. So I ask anyone who can help..(we only found this site recently)

-How toxic are the memory foam mattresses (especially Sealy Optimum)?
- Are they still toxic even after airing out?
-Is there any way I can return my mattress?
-What mattress can I purchase that will have the same properties but not as toxic?

Thanks for anyone's help,

Really depressed,

Mark

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Last edit: by canmark. Reason: forgot something

I think I made a Big Mistake with memory foam 11 Nov 2014 21:06 #2

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Hi canmark,

However, in the last month or so, we had to close the windows since it is getting colder (we live in Barrie ON). In this time I have noticed that I wake up with a dry scratchy throat, burning eyes and a weird taste in my mouth. I thought it was a cold or flu but when I was out of town, my symptoms lessened and I thought I was getting better. When I returned home I noticed that the symptoms returned. So I checked it out again by sleeping downstairs and I felt better. I also noticed that I am very tired in the morning as well and feel tired throughout the day. I now suspect the memory foam is making me sick. My wife stated that she noticed a chemical smell still but doesn't know how it affects us.


I'm sorry to hear about your experience and it appears that for some reason you may be sensitive to a material that would normally be fine for most people. I have also had a similar experience with a specific memory foam topper ( see here ) although I haven't had any reaction to any other type of memory foam.

The foam in your mattress is made by a North American foam manufacturer that is CertiPUR certified so for most people it would be "safe enough" but unfortunately there are a small minority of people who may be sensitive to some types or variations of memory foam that would be fine for the majority. There is more about this in post #6 here from earlier today. Outside of avoiding memory foam completely it's not really possible to avoid some risk of having a similar reaction with another type of memory foam that used a different formulation because your own personal experience may be the only way to know if you are sensitive to foams that are certified for harmful substances and VOC's.

There are also some suggestions in post #3 here that may be helpful to reduce the smell or the amount of offgassing but it's possible that you are sensitive to memory foam in general or possibly to a specific formulation of memory foam made by a specific company or even to a specific batch of memory foam that was somehow different enough in how it was made or cured that it triggered a reaction in you.

-How toxic are the memory foam mattresses (especially Sealy Optimum)?


This would be a question that would depend on the sensitivity of the person because a minority of people that are more sensitive or that have certain health conditions such as MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) may be sensitive to a specific type of material that most other people would be fine with. There is more information about "safe" materials in post #2 here that can help answer the question "how safe is safe enough for me?" but by most people's standards a CertiPUR certified foam material would be "safe enough".

- Are they still toxic even after airing out?


For most people they would be fine after they have aired out for a few days or at most a few weeks. A small minority though may still be sensitive and would probably do best to avoid either the same type of memory foam or in some cases where they find they are sensitive to other types of memory foam as well it may be a good idea to avoid memory foam completely.

-Is there any way I can return my mattress?


That would depend on the return policy of the store you purchased from and on whether you talk with someone that can make an exception if you are outside of their normal time frame for a return or exchange. Even if you are outside of the time frame ... I would certainly talk to them about your situation and ask them to make an exception. You may need to go up the chain of command a bit to talk to someone that has the authority to help you to have a better chance of success. While they may not be "required" to make an exception ... they may decide that an exception would be reasonable given your circumstances and for the sake of keeping a customer happy that will share their experience with others which in turn can lead to more sales than unhappy customers that share their more negative experiences. While your situation is about a different set of circumstances ... post #22 here would also be worth reading and I would take a similar approach with the issues you have when you talk with Sleep Country.

-What mattress can I purchase that will have the same properties but not as toxic?


There is more information about the relative "safety" of different types of mattress materials in post #2 here that you can use to help you decide which materials you are most comfortable having in a mattress and that are inside your "risk tolerance". If you have slept on other types of memory foam mattresses without any reaction your "symptoms" may be specific to this type of memory foam and not to others so you may be "safe enough" with a different memory foam mattress but if you have experienced a similar reaction on other types of memory foam as well then it may be a good idea to avoid memory foam completely.

If you end up needing to replace your mattress and buy a new one, and if you do decide to purchase another memory foam mattress, it would certainly be a good idea to make sure you have a long enough return or exchange policy to be reasonably certain that another memory foam mattress won't cause the same issues as you are having now.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

I think I made a Big Mistake with memory foam 12 Nov 2014 18:57 #3

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Thank you Phoenix so much for your reply.

The more research I did on beds (reading posts) the more overwhelmed I became. So I started looking at more natural beds. I then phoned Sleep Country and they were very accommodating about returning the bed after the 60 day trial. However, it is for exchange only. I started to see if they have any natural beds and I couldn't find any without all the chemicals. So I am siting on that right now. Do you know of any natural beds they sell there?

So I just happen to google natural beds in my area and a place came up. They are relatively new. This is what they offer and I would like yours and anyone else's opinion.

1) Multi layered natural latex 10' (King)
2) Certified Organic Cotton
3) Pure New Zealand Wool
4) Foundation Box (Slats)

$4400 plus tax

That is a lot of money but with my new found sensitivities it may be the way to go. Is this on par or a fair price?

Thanks for your help,

Mark

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I think I made a Big Mistake with memory foam 12 Nov 2014 19:36 #4

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Hi canmark,

The more research I did on beds (reading posts) the more overwhelmed I became. So I started looking at more natural beds. I then phoned Sleep Country and they were very accommodating about returning the bed after the 60 day trial. However, it is for exchange only. I started to see if they have any natural beds and I couldn't find any without all the chemicals. So I am siting on that right now. Do you know of any natural beds they sell there?


No ... as far as I know or can see on their site ... they don't sell any mattresses that would qualify as being Natural or even close to it.

Post #2 here also has more information that may be helpful if you are in the unfortunate situation of needing to exchange a mattress where there are no particularly good quality or value options available at the store you are dealing with.

So I just happen to google natural beds in my area and a place came up. They are relatively new. This is what they offer and I would like yours and anyone else's opinion.

1) Multi layered natural latex 10' (King)
2) Certified Organic Cotton
3) Pure New Zealand Wool
4) Foundation Box (Slats)

$4400 plus tax

That is a lot of money but with my new found sensitivities it may be the way to go. Is this on par or a fair price?


There is more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses but if the only materials in the mattress are latex and the cotton cover quilted with wool then it would certainly be a high quality and durable mattress and there would be no weak links in the design. "Value" is always relative to how a mattress compares to the other mattresses you are considering or that are available to you either locally or online (if you are also considering an online purchase) so it may be reasonable value based on the criteria that are important to you or based on the mattresses that are available in your area but I would make some careful comparisons to other similar latex mattresses because it may be on the high side compared to some of the other options that may be available to you.

The better options or possibilities I'm aware of in the Barrie, ON area (subject to the "value" guidelines I linked earlier) are listed in post #2 here .

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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