Memory foam mattresses have been popular for several years, for their superior sleep quality, health benefits and protection against allergies. But it is now possible to buy a new breed of eco-friendly memory foam mattresses. These new mattresses claim to have all the benefits of the traditional petroleum based memory foam but they are also kinder to the earth too.
How is something Eco-Friendly?
So what qualities does a product require to make it eco-friendly? According to EcoFirms, the green non-profit organization that connects eco-friendly companies worldwide, “Eco-friendly products can be recycled, are sustainable, feature energy savings and inflict no harm on the environment.”
And Spark Mattress Reviews describe an eco-friendly memory foam mattress as “…a memory foam mattress made from plant based materials. Because of that, these mattresses are more breathable and help support environmental sustainability by minimizing harmful emissions from production.”
Petroleum vs Plant-Based Memory Foam
So how does a petroleum based memory foam mattress compare with eco-friendly options? Well, to begin with petroleum based memory foam is made from crude oil, produced in oil refineries.
Oil refineries pollute the environment through toxic fumes, spillages and explosions, which also makes them dangerous places for humans to live close to and work in. We only need to look at the Gulf War Spillage to be reminded of the impact on the environment.
So, why does it matter?
According to Dr. Jacqueline Michel, US geochemist, “The long term effects of the Gulf War Spillage were highly significant. There was no shoreline cleanup, essentially, over the 800 kilometers […] And so when we went back in to do quantitative survey in 2002 and 2003, there was a million cubic meters of oil sediment remained then 12 years after the spill…. [T]he oil penetrated much more deeply into the intertidal sediment than normal because those sediments there have a lot of crab burrows, and the oil penetrated deep, sometimes 30, 40 centimeters, you know a couple of feet, into the mud of these tidal flats. There’s no way to get it out now. So it has had long term impact.”
…there was a million cubic meters of oil sediment remained then 12 years after the spill.
It is clear that petroleum based memory foam does not keep environmental and human safety in mind, so what about eco-friendly memory foam? Eco-friendly memory foam is manufactured from plant based materials, using plants that can be harvested often, so supplies are not depleted. Their manufacture does not require a lot of energy, so their impact on humans and the earth is minimal.
How are you affected?
Eco-friendly memory foam is made from non-toxic plants, but can petroleum based memory foam be considered toxic? Well during the manufacturing process, dozens of toxins are released, and the toxic smell evident during the first few weeks of using a petroleum based mattress suggests that toxins are still present in the mattress. Also, a study from the Archives of Environmental Health, Jan/Feb, 2000 on the toxic effects of four non eco-friendly mattresses proved that the mattresses caused various combinations of upper airways irritation.
…a study from the Archives of Environmental Health […] of four non eco-friendly mattresses proved that the mattresses caused various combinations of upper airways irritation.
Considering these facts alone, it may be worth considering an eco-friendly option instead of a petroleum based memory foam mattress because they are not harmful to your health, or the earth.
PARTICIPATE: Why do/don’t you buy eco-friendly products?