A Health Checkup for Foam
If you are reading this, you are probably among a growing number of consumers that care about what is inside the products in your home. We care, too. That’s why the CertiPUR-US® program was developed. To provide answers to the question: What is inside the foam in my mattresses and upholstered furniture?
When you see a CertiPUR-US® seal, you can be confident that the flexible polyurethane foam inside has been rigorously tested and certified by an accredited laboratory to meet specific criteria for physical performance, content, indoor emissions and environmental stewardship.
About the Certification Process
- Basic Mechanical Performance – often used to predict how foam products can work and provide lasting service.
- Indoor Emissions Potential – while most items around us “off gass” a little, too much of certain emissions could be a concern for some people. CertiPUR-US® sets strict emissions limits based on a consensus of international environmental programs.
- Content – CertiPUR-US® checks for things that shouldn’t be found in foam cushioning like lead, mercury and other heavy metals; formaldehyde; BPA, DEHP and four other phthalates; PBDE flame retardants and risky ingredients that may create health concerns at high concentrations.
- Checks and Double-checks – provide initial foam evaluations and spot checks later on CertiPUR-US®labeled products used in the field.
CertiPUR-US certified foam is:
Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP ("Tris") flame retardants
Some PBDEs (polybrominated diphenylethers) were used in foam to meet certain state flammability requirements, but those PBDEs were effectively banned in the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2005. Other flame retardants that have been identified by the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) as substances that may cause cancer, may cause genetic defects or may damage fertility or unborn child (1A, 1B) may not be used in certified foam. TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) are among these FRs. A complete list of specific FRs prohibited in certified foam may be found in our Technical Guidelines or at certipur.us/FAQ.
Made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals
Though not common components of foam chemistry, heavy metals in food (mercury in fish) and in the home (lead paint in children’s toys) have made the entire heavy metal family an area of concern. CertiPUR-US laboratory testing subjects material extracted to molecular analysis capable of detecting even trace amounts of heavy metal content. CertiPUR-US verifies that registered foams are made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals.
Made without formaldehyde
Like heavy metals, formaldehyde has never been used as a raw material in foam. Formaldehyde has been labeled as a cause of poor indoor air quality. The absence of formaldehyde in foam is verified in CertiPUR-US-certified foam by a small chamber emission test.
Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Phthalates (pronounced “thal’-ātes”) are mainly used as a softening agent in the manufacture of some consumer products. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (2009) eliminated the use of seven specific phthalates for use in children’s toy and child care items. CertiPUR-US goes a step further by requiring detailed laboratory analysis of foam extractions and prohibiting the use of phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in all CertiPUR-US certified foams.
Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a major component of air pollution. VOC emissions from household products are also a concern for indoor air quality. CertiPUR-US certified foams are tested using a small chamber test standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).* In the test, foam samples are conditioned for 72 hours after which emissions of total organic compounds are measured. Results of this test verify that CertiPUR-US compliant foams have low emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million).
*ISO is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world, and is a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. Known for their high technical quality and market relevancy, ISO standards have an important role in the technical infrastructure that guides design, manufacturing and trade in the global economy.