When it comes to mattresses, safety is a big concern. Many mattresses advertise that they are ‘CertiPur – Certified’ as a credential of safety, but does that really mean a mattress is safe, and if so, how safe?
CertiPur, an American offshoot of the group EUROPUR, specializes in ensuring that all foam mattresses, including memory foam, is free of all toxic chemicals, unsafe flame-retardant materials, ozone depleters, or other dangerous emissions.
This article looks at the meaning behind a CertiPur Certification, and what it means to have a CertiPur mattress in your home.
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Are CertiPur Mattresses Safe?
CertiPur mattresses are called this because they are Certified to be made of environmentally safe foam with no hazardous materials involved in their construction. No harmful chemicals, no dangerous substances like fiberglass, mercury, or heavy metals.
In that sense, CertiPur mattresses can be considered safer than mattresses that don’t carry that certification. However, there are certain factors that can affect the safety of the mattress outside of CertiPur certifications.
What is CertiPur?
CertiPur, sometimes called CertiPur-Us, is a branch of the larger group called EuroPur.
In both cases, this is a non-profit organization dedicated to certifying flexible polyurethane foam. They offer certification to foam producers that have passed rigorous tests to ensure high quality and durability, as well as low emissions or environmental impact.
Does CertiPur Extend Beyond the United States?
It does. CertiPur has branches in Canada, Mexico, and China, as well as a branch in Italy.
All of these branches work with foam producers in their area to make products that meet certification standards.
What Does Certipur Cover Exactly?
CertiPur tests for foam durability and comfort, but the most important part of their certification process is the test for harmful substances.
If a mattress is CertiPur certified, the foam within has been proven to be free of:
– Ozone Depleters
– PBDE, TCEP, or TDCPP flame retardants
– Mercury, Lead, or other Heavy Metals
– Phthalates that have been regulated by the Consumer Safety Commission
– Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in excess of 0,5 parts per million, particularly those that result in natural emissions.
What Are The Flame Retardants Listed Above?
PBDE: Polybromide Diphenyl Ethers – a harmful environmental contaminant that can affect liver, thyroid, and brain health and development.
TCEP: Tris 2-chloroethyl Phosphate – A toxic flame retardant that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
TDCPP: Tris dichlorolpropyl phosphate – like TCEP, a toxic flame retardant chemical that has a negative impact on the health of exposed individuals.
What About the Other Things On The List?
VOCs include things like benzine, ethylene glycol, or similar substances.
Other items that fall under the umbrella of CertiPur testing include things like fiberglass, which can release potentially harmful contaminants into the environment.
The basic purpose of CertiPur is to make sure that there is NOTHING harmful in the foam used in the production of furniture, mattresses included.
Does a CertiPur Label Mean a Mattress is Safe?
While a CertiPur label indicates that the main components of the mattress construction, particularly for memory foam mattresses, are safe, it’s not an absolute guarantee of safety.
Mattress construction methods vary, and an individual mattress company may add elements that are not as safe as the foam, which is the only thing CertiPur certifies.
There is also a chance that a company has misappropriated the CertiPur mark, labeling mattresses or other furniture as CertiPur when it has not actually undergone the testing process for certification.
Why Might a CertiPur Mattress be Unsafe?
A CertiPur mattress label only guarantees that the main body of the mattress is made of environmentally safe foam without dangerous additives. It doesn’t address other components of mattress construction.
Springs embedded in a mattress as part of a Hybrid construction might be made of other materials. Or a broken spring might present a sharp edge that can cause injuries.
Many companies add their own fire-retardant covers to CertiPur mattresses.
These covers can be made of any flame and heat-resistant material, and many of them contain materials like fiberglass in their construction. If a cover containing fiberglass is opened or damaged, it can release dangerous particles into your home.
How Do I Know if a CertiPur Label is Genuine?
CertiPur posts a list of companies that work with them and meet certification guidelines on their website. The list is updated weekly and includes any companies selling articles made with CertiPur certified foam.
If you aren’t certain, check on the website to see if the maker of the mattress is on the list. If it isn’t on the list, contact CertiPur through their website or other means of contact for verification.
If the company is genuine, they’ll let you know. If not, they’ll let you know and take measures to get the fraudulent endorsement removed.
Be wary of claims that CertiPur ‘endorses’ or certifies their furniture. CertiPur only certifies the safety of polyurethane foam specifically.
How Can I Be Sure if a CertiPur Mattress is Truly Safe?
Check the mattress labels and look for warning flags. Things to consider include:
– Latex foam: It’s not covered by CertiPur, and some people have an allergic reaction to latex.
– Removable mattress cover: If you have a separate mattress cover, check the composition. If it says things like XX% glass fibers, it has fiberglass. You can also look up the chemicals and elements used to make the mattress flame-retardant.
– Hybrid mattresses: What are the other elements of construction? Is there anything that can pose a risk?
– And make sure the CertiPur label is the genuine article!
When it comes down to it, a CertiPur label is a promise that the main components of a foam mattress are safe for you and the environment, and that’s a step in the right direction. If you want to be certain you have an absolutely safe mattress, you should probably look into more than just the CertiPur label before deciding which mattress brand or type you’re going to purchase.
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