A Closer Look at the Science Behind Certified Foam

A Closer Look at the Science Behind Certified Foam

When you shop for a mattress or upholstered furniture, you are often looking for comfort—not just physical comfort but the comfort and confidence of knowing that the furnishings you bring into your home and spend so much time with are made with materials you can feel good about.

That’s why the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program, administered by a nonprofit organization, was developed: to ensure the foam in mattresses, pillows, toppers, upholstered chairs and sofas—even dog beds, kids’ indoor cushions and some medical sleep support products—are made with flexible polyurethane foam that meets rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability.

Here are 10 points that offer a quick glimpse of the science and process behind our certification:

  1. There are only four independent, accredited laboratories worldwide that are authorized to test and analyze samples of foams submitted for certification.
  2. Our testing ensures the foams we certify are made without ozone depleters; made without PBDEs or the following Tris flame retardants: TCEP, TDBPP, TDCPP or TEPA; made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals; made without formaldehyde; made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). We invite you to see our Technical Guidelines for details.
  3. We screen for relevant chemicals (by relevant we mean chemicals that might be used in the production of foam) classified by the Global Harmonized System as carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins. We invite you to see our Technical Guidelines for details (see link above).
  4. Ours is not an easy certification to pass. Quite a few foams fail and must be reformulated to meet our rigorous standards. We’re proud of that. Foams must be CertiPUR-US certified twice in the first year and annually thereafter.
  5. It doesn’t stop there. Certified foams are then subject to random verification testing, which means samples are taken from a certain percentage of foam manufacturing plants each year, and tested at our own expense to be sure the foams continue to meet our criteria for certification.
  6. Our Technical Guidelines are a living document, which means they are updated as science dictates. During our 15-year history, they have been updated about once a year.
  7. What’s more, every manufacturer and retailer listed in our directory must agree to our Terms of Use (the focus of our terms is making accurate claims) and must have their supplier provide verification that they are indeed purchasing certified foam or products containing certified foam.
  8. Our all-new, interactive online directory of participating manufacturers and retailers provides yet another layer of protection for consumers. If a company uses our name or logo and is not listed in our directory, we do not have verification that they are using CertiPUR-US certified foam in their products.
  9. There’s a button on our website that encourages consumers to report misuse—we try very hard to follow up on every lead!
  10. Although some people assume our program is U.S. only, we decided early on that would not be in the best of interest of consumers. Whether they are aware of it or not, Americans often purchase products made with components manufactured in other countries and the CertiPUR-US program has raised the bar for foam or products containing foam being imported into this country.

To learn more about the history of the CertiPUR-US program, I hope you will read our just-published 15-Year Anniversary Report.

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