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Foam - safe or not? 27 May 2016 07:21 #1

We have been looking for a mattress for close to 3 years (off/on we surrendered then looked again).
We like foam (and memory if possible), do not like bounce, do not like springs. We have two small kids so wanted something eco in that we didn't want to inhale dangerous VOCs.
We finally settled on a Magniflex thinking it was the best choice. This model:
magniflex.com/northamerica/en/classico/37-magni-10.html
When we unpacked it (comes rolled as you know), it smelled VERY STRONG. Since they (a few weeks) it has dissipated but not entirely. I am incredibly nervous for my health, even though sometimes the worst VOCs are undetectable by scent. Are we better off with a Casper or Endy? This Magniflex is Oekotex Certified class 2 (not for kids under 3- what does that mean??) Am I better off with latex? The only latex that has no glue, or is considered organic and 'safe' is supremely expensive (Sleeptex, Obasan) which is out of our league for awhile. The other thing that is odd is that the Magniflex was softer in store. It's very comfortable but was much softer. I am in Montreal and I know you pointed to some latex distributors but when I've called them it seems their 'organic latex' is questionable in certification (better than Oekotex?). Everyone is talking about open source foam (i.e if we were to build a foam base then latex top part). I'm confused.
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Foam - safe or not? 27 May 2016 08:27 #2

Hi Flana,

We have been looking for a mattress for close to 3 years (off/on we surrendered then looked again).
We like foam (and memory if possible), do not like bounce, do not like springs. We have two small kids so wanted something eco in that we didn't want to inhale dangerous VOCs.
We finally settled on a Magniflex thinking it was the best choice. This model:
www.magniflex.com/northamerica/en/classico/37-magni-10.html
When we unpacked it (comes rolled as you know), it smelled VERY STRONG. Since they (a few weeks) it has dissipated but not entirely. I am incredibly nervous for my health, even though sometimes the worst VOCs are undetectable by scent. Are we better off with a Casper or Endy? This Magniflex is Oekotex Certified class 2 (not for kids under 3- what does that mean??)


The only reliable way to to assess the "safety" of different materials in more general terms is based on lab tests and the certifications they have for harmful substances and VOCs so that you have some assurance than the VOCs are below the testing limits for the certification.

While it may be more information than you are looking for ... there is a lot more information in post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to about safe, natural, organic, "chemical free", and "green" mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer "how safe is safe enough for me" and that can help you decide on the type of materials and components you are most comfortable having in your mattress or on the certifications that may be important to you. These types of issues are complex and are generally specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, circumstances, criteria, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

Most people that are looking for an "organic" mattress are usually concerned more with "safety" than whether the materials have an actual organic certification. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a "safety" certification is enough.

The "bottom line" is that if the materials in a mattress or the mattress itself has a reliable safety certification (and all the mattresses you mentioned do) then for most people it would certainly be "safe enough".

Am I better off with latex?


Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the quality/durability guidelines here relative to your weight range ... the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses are more of a preference and a budget choice than a "better/worse" choice (see this article ). The best way to know which type of materials or which type of mattresses you tend to prefer in general terms will be based on your own testing and personal experience because different people can have very different preferences.

The only latex that has no glue, or is considered organic and 'safe' is supremely expensive (Sleeptex, Obasan) which is out of our league for awhile.


All the latex you are likely to encounter (either Dunlop or Talalay that is made with either natural or synthetic rubber or a blend of both) will have a reliable certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, or C2C and based on actual testing I would also consider any type or blend of latex to be a very "safe" material in terms of harmful substances and VOC's.

The choice between different types and blends of latex is also more of a preference and budget choice rather than a "better/worse" choice and any type or blend of latex is a durable material relative to other types of foam materials. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here and more about how Dunlop compares to Talalay in general in post #7 here but the best way to know which type or blend of latex you tend to prefer will be based on your own testing and/or your own personal experience.

The other thing that is odd is that the Magniflex was softer in store. It's very comfortable but was much softer.


There will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the mattress loses any of it's "false firmness" and the cover stretches and loosens a little and the materials settle and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here . This would typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress (higher density materials like latex can take longer) and it can be surprising to many people how much their sleeping experience can change over the course of the first month or so. The mattress in the store was probably already broken in.

I am in Montreal and I know you pointed to some latex distributors but when I've called them it seems their 'organic latex' is questionable in certification (better than Oekotex?). Everyone is talking about open source foam (i.e if we were to build a foam base then latex top part). I'm confused.


I don't know what "open source" foam means (open source is a term that I'm only familiar with in relation to software).

In more general terms ... I'm not sure what you've read since you found the site but just in case you haven't read it yet ... the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice ... and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

It sounds like you may have seen this already but just in case you haven't ... the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in and around the Montreal area (subject to making sure than any mattress you consider meets the quality/value guidelines I linked in the previous paragraph) are listed in post #276 here .

A forum search on Montreal (you can just click the link) will also bring up more comments and feedback from other members in the area that may be helpful as well.

In its simplest form choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Phoenix
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