Evaluation of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from memory foam mattresses and potential implications for consumer health risk


Chemical emissions from two new memory foam mattresses were evaluated in a simulated consumer use environment over the course of 32 days. Passive 12- and 24-h samples (n = 62) were collected for various VOCs. Airborne concentrations of chemicals associated with the mattresses (2-propanol, acetone, chloromethane, toluene, and ΣVOC) peaked during the first day after installation and progressively decayed over the course of the following 31 days. Emission rates were derived using a two-phase double exponential source decay model paired with a one-compartment generalized indoor air quality model; short- and long-term emission half-lives for individual chemicals were on the order of hours (approximately 4 or 12 h) and days (approximately 24 days), respectively. Model-estimated average ΣVOC concentrations for the 32-day period of the study were approximately 20 and 33 μg/m3 for Mattress 1 and 2, respectively, while the modeled one-year average concentrations were 2.7 and 4.2 μg/m3, respectively. First-year trends for both mattresses were qualitatively similar, with the sum of 2-propanol, acetone, chloromethane, and toluene contributing to approximately 81% and 95% of the first-year ΣVOC concentration of Mattress 1 and 2, respectively. The airborne concentrations of individual chemicals and ΣVOC measured and modeled in this study were well below available health-based benchmarks for the individual chemicals and within available indoor air quality recommendations for ΣVOC, suggesting that it is unlikely that the use of the brands of mattresses evaluated in this study would pose a health risk to consumers.

Authors: E M Beckett, E Miller, K Unice, E Russman, J S Pierce
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2022 May 16;134945. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.134945.