Dangers of Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam was originally developed by NASA for astronauts. Memory foam mattresses were developed for the public in 1991. A petroleum-based chemical foam called visco elastic is the basic component of memory foam mattresses. Some mattresses are treated with chemical flame retardants for safety.

Chemical Fumes

Petroleum-based chemicals used to manufacture the memory foam mattresses produce fumes that evaporate into the air. The fumes emit a smell that lasts from a few days to a few weeks, depending upon where the mattress is manufactured.


According to Chem-Tox.com, exposure to common petroleum-based chemicals has been linked to autoimmune disorders that cause some people to experience physical disorders such as soft tissue damage and weakened immune and nervous systems.

Sensitive People

People with asthma and those who are sensitive to the petroleum-based chemicals and flame-retardant fumes emitted from memory foam mattresses can become ill from the constant and continuous exposure while sleeping.

Concentration of Fumes

While sleeping on a memory foam mattress night after night, a person is close to the concentrated petroleum chemical fumes and flame-retardant fumes that emit from the foam. After inhaling the fumes, which build up in their systems over time, some people experience headaches, joint pains, nausea and excessive sweating.

Organic Mattresses

Many people who are sensitive to memory foam mattresses do not experience these problems when they sleep on organic mattresses. Organic mattresses do not contain toxic materials that emit toxic fumes.

About the Author

Belinda Robinson-Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a masters degree in library and information science. Since 1998, she has provided freelance writing, reviewing, research and editorial services and owns her own business, BRJ Research and Information Services.