Dying for a Good Night’s Sleep – Is Your Mattress Killing You?

Dying for a Good Night’s Sleep – Is Your Mattress Killing You?

By TLB Contributing Writer & Author: Christina England BA, Hons

If you have recently been suffering from mysterious symptoms and do not know why, it may be time to check your mattress, especially if, like millions of others, you have been sleeping on a memory foam mattress.

Confused? Let me explain.

According to a growing number of experts, far from being the ultimate in mattress design, memory foam mattresses have been found to be extremely dangerous, poisoning thousands of people from around the world.

Interested to learn more, I decided to investigate. What I have discovered will shock many readers.

Full of Toxic Ingredients

Originally designed by chemists employed by NASA in the 1960s, memory foam was said to have been created to relieve astronauts from pressure experienced during lift off generated by the g-forces.

Memory foam was released to the public in the 1980s and a decade later, Swedish “scientists” perfected the TEMPUR material for use in mattresses. On their website, Tempur stated that:

In 1992, Lexington, Kentucky resident Bob Trussell visited Denmark and met the scientists at Dan-Foam. Realizing the opportunity to improve sleep for people in the U.S., he started Tempur-Pedic—and a revolution in sleep was born.”

Memory foam has increased in popularity since then and over the years more and more memory foam mattresses are being sold every year. However, despite their popularity, an ever-increasing number of customers have reported that they have suffered severe side effects because the mattresses are releasing what they believe to be poisonous gasses.

They could be correct. One website outing the problems is Chem-Tox who stated:

Unfortunately, these are not stable compounds and continue to evaporate into the air and are then inhaled hour upon hour by the person sleeping on the bed. Research and personal accounts suggest people can become ill after repeated and continuous exposure to these chemicals while sleeping. The situation is dramatically compounded by the fact that sleeping on a bed (or chemically manufactured pillow) places the individual in close proximity to the chemical source (inches compared to feet for most other chemical exposures).”

They continued:

This close proximity means that concentrations of chemicals are many, many times higher for the individual. Research is now available showing that chemicals used in bed manufacturing are in fact evaporating and entering into the air. Some of these are documented carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds. Common petroleum based chemicals have been clearly shown to have the ability to weaken or damage the immune and nervous system.”

In 2013, the website Beded published one of the most explicit articles to date. The authors outlined in graphic detail exactly what is hidden inside the average memory foam mattress.

They wrote:

One traditional memory foam mattress may have over 61 chemicals used in its creation. Many of these are relatively innocuous, but a few might be of concern. Each manufacturer used their own “recipe,” so there is much variation in the marketplace. Here is an overview of possible memory foam mattress substances that pose the greatest potential danger.

  • AcetoneToxic; can cause skin irritation and nervous system side effects.

  • DimethylformamideLinked with liver damage and skin irritation, may also be embryotoxic and carcinogenic.

  • Toulene/Methyl benzene – Possible carcinogen. May cause neurological symptoms like confusion and weakness, nausea and light-headedness.

  • Methylene diphenyl diisocyanateAllergen and sensitizer.

  • Methyl chloroformDepresses central nervous system, toxic, potential for birth defects.

  • Methylenedianiline (MDA) – Byproduct of formaldehyde. Known carcinogen and known to cause liver damage.

  • Methylene chlorideUsed as a blowing agent. Linked with respiratory irritation, central nervous system effects, and possible organ damage with long-term exposure. Possible carcinogen.

  • Vinilideine chlorideLinked with central nervous system side effects and respiratory issues. Possible carcinogen.

  • FormaldehydeKnown carcinogen/toxin. Can cause respiratory issues, headaches, and insomonia.

  • Trichloroethane -Linked with central nervous system depression, known carcinogen.

  • NaphthaleneLinked with cellular damage, respiratory issues, and is a possible carcinogen.

As if this were not bad enough, they continued:

The Adhesives

The separate layers of foam must then be put together in order to make a complete mattress. Almost always, an adhesive is used to bond in the layers of the mattress together. This is true not only for memory foam, but for almost every other type of mattress and home furnishing.

Manufacturers use two general types of adhesives. Regular solvent adhesives are rolled onto the materials for gluing. The other type are called water-based adhesives, which are sprayed onto materials. Both types use the similar chemicals, however with water based the adhesive is diluted for easier application. Chemicals in adhesives can include the following VOCs and toxins:

  • Chlorofluorocarbons

  • Perfluorocarbons

  • Halogens

  • FormaldehydeCarcinogen

  • Heavy metals (lead, etc)

  • Cynanide” (own emphasis)

And just to complete this massive cocktail of frightening and potentially lethal ingredients, they added:

How Mattresses Achieve Fire Safety

All mattresses are now required by law to be fire resistant in an effort to reduce the risk of serious injury and increase the amount of time a person has to put out an accidental fire or escape. However, the flame retardant chemicals used by mattress manufacturers to achieve fire resistance also pose risks of their own. This is another gray area for consumers, because again manufacturers are not required to disclose what they use. Here are a few of the ways memory foam mattresses might meet the fire safety requirements:

  • Polybrominated Diphenyl EthersCarcinogenic; can cause neurological problems, and disrupt endocrine system and thyroid. Banned in European Union, some types still allowed in United States.

  • PentaBDESame as above, plus possible links to neurological dysfunctions and child hyperactivity. Use of Penta and Octa BDE is banned in some US states.

  • Formaldehyde

  • AntimonyKnown carcinogen. If the material does come in contact with fire, it will also release carbon monoxide gas and cyanide. May be incorporated into a barrier as “modacrylic fiber”.

  • Melamine ResinContains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

  • Fire BarriersRather then adding chemicals, some manufacturers use fabric barriers or socks. These are often cotton treated with boric acid or rayon treated with silica (sand). Both of these offer much safer alternatives to PBDE’s, antimony and formaldehyde.”

The dangerous effects of Man Made Foam on your health

Disturbing Reports from People who Use Memory Foam Mattresses

In their shock report, Chem-Tox listed a massive 235 reports from adults and children who had suffered side effects after buying a memory foam mattress.

A customer from Toms River, New Jersey, wrote:

Rashes – Difficulty Breathing & Croydon Mattress Factory

I purchased a mattress & box spring from Croydon Mattress Factory, in PA. …..[It] emitted a horrible odor, that smelled like embalming fluid. When I inquired about the smell, I was told to open my windows for a few days and let the mattress air out, to no avail. I called Serta and Sealy and was told that the better quality mattresses have MORE chemicals!! Finally, Croydon admitted that they got a bad batch of polyester fiber and that it was accidentally put into my mattress. As for the health repercussions: I had a severe rash on my legs that finally had to be treated with prednisone. I also developed a silver-dollar sized albino-white area on my stomach with one red dot in it. It was like the dots on my legs. I had a biopsy and was told that I had been introduced to a toxic chemical. I also had difficulty breathing while I had the mattress. I appeared on two news shows and American Journal, now called, “AJ”. Needless to say, I got a waterbed! There are chemical-free beds. If you surf the internet, you should be able to find them. They are not inexpensive, but I see it as an investment into one’s health.

And another customer from Little Rock, Arkansas, wrote:

Breathing Problems – Enlarged Lymph Nodes – Serta Mattress

I purchased a Serta Perfect Night mattress set for $1300 at America’s Mattress Co. and after two nights woke up with my lymph nodes enlarged and trouble breathing. I informed the company I purchased the set from and the owner indicated it needed “airing out” but it has been over 6 weeks and I continue to have a sore throat and breathing problems and am on an antibiotic and benadryl. So if you have any chemical sensitivities I suggest not purchasing a Serta Perfect Night mattress and America’s Mattress Co. has a no return policy.
Little Rock, Arkansas

Sadly, this is not the end, because memory foam has become so popular, it has even been used in the manufacturing of cot mattresses.

One mother wrote:

Crib Mattress Outgassing

I bought a crib mattress (SEALY) for my infant daughter and could not believe the horrible smell coming out of it, which burned my eyes and throat. I can’t imagine placing a 3-month old on this. Despite airing it out for days on our porch and washing it with baking soda (which helped temporarily) , the smell would not go away. I was able to trade it in at Babies R Us (interestingly , the person who sold it could not detect a smell at all, though another salesperson said “no way would i sleep on that!) but it’s hard to trust the replacement. After all, the gases you can’t smell are not necessarily any safer…
Northfield, MN”


It is clear that these mattresses are far from safe and yet there appears to be little effort to regulate their safety by the government. Surely, common sense dictates that formaldehyde, acetone, cyanide and lead should be banned from being used in the manufacture of consumer products, especially crib and cot mattresses!

It is about time that governments around the world looked into this disturbing matter, and we recommend that they begin by reading each and every one of the reports listed by Chem-Tox on their website.


About the Author: Christina England was born and educated in London, U.K. She received an A Level in Psychology and a BTEC in Learning Disabilities. She has spent many years researching vaccines and adverse reactions. She has an HND in journalism and media and is currently writing for the American Chronicle, Green Med Info, The Liberty Beacon, the Weekly Blitz and Vaccination Truth on immunization safety and efficacy. Christina England has been a journalist since 2008. Her main areas of expertise are researching false accusations of child abuse and adverse reactions to vaccines. She has co-authored two books – Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine Induced Encephalitis – Are Parents Being Falsely Accused? with Dr. Harold Buttram and Vaccination Policy and the UK Government: The Untold Truth with Lucija Tomljenovic PhD, which are sold on Amazon. 

Christina’s websites are Profitable Harm and Parents and Carers Against Medical Injustice


Additional related articles by Christina (click on images or links)

Studies Prove Vaccinated Children at Greater Risk of Serious Illness & Neurological Disorders

Professionals Worldwide Blame Aluminum Adjuvants for the Rise in Neurological Conditions in Children


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 


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