Find a Mattress Without Harmful Chemicals
Top mattresses from CR's tests certified to have low or even no VOCs
Just bought a new mattress? You may detect a chemical odor when you first remove the plastic wrapping.
That smell comes from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, chemicals in the solvents used in the manufacturing process. VOCs have the ability to vaporize, or off-gas, at room temperature. The process of vaporizing leads to those chemicals lingering in the air, where they can be inhaled and potentially cause short- and long-term health problems.
In higher concentrations, VOCs released indoors can lead to immediate negative health effects, such as eye and respiratory irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and allergic skin reactions.
While these compounds can dissipate if you allow your mattress to air out before you sleep on it, you can also buy a mattress that already has low or no VOCs by checking to find out whether it’s certified for one or both.
“Although not all chemicals are federally regulated, the voluntary testing of VOCs for mattresses is highly recommended,” says Ashita Kapoor, associate director of product safety at Consumer Reports. “Consumers, designers, and environmentalists depend on VOC testing to ensure product quality and safety in these products.”