The CertiPUR-US Story: How We Got Started
In 2008, responsible foam producers in the U.S. were concerned about substandard foams being imported into this country. It was suspected that many of these foams were made with chemicals that were banned in the United States and which were identified on some chemical watch groups’ lists as possibly causing cancer, genetic defects, or damage to the unborn child. There was no way for consumers to know what was inside foam used in mattresses and upholstered furniture.
The CertiPUR-US® program was developed to provide the comfort and confidence of knowing the flexible polyurethane foam in home furnishings meets rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Today, foam producers from all countries may participate in the program, as long as they meet our criteria for certification.
Based on Good Science and Developed in Cooperation with Environmentalists
The certification process was developed by the foam industry in close collaboration with leading environmentalists, chemists, accredited laboratory research scientists, and sleep product and furniture industry leaders.
To become CertiPUR-US certified, foam samples are taken at the manufacturing stage and sent to one of four approved, independent laboratories to be analyzed for content and emissions.
Samples are screened for relevant chemicals (chemicals that could potentially be used in the manufacture of flexible polyurethane foam) that are classified as carcinogenic (may cause cancer), mutagenic (may cause genetic defects) or reprotoxic (may damage fertility or an unborn child) by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). GHS is an internationally agreed-upon standard managed by the United Nations that was set up to replace the assortment of hazardous material classification and labeling systems previously used around the world.
Additional testing of foam samples is done to detect the presence of lead, mercury and other heavy metals. Certified foams meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission toy standard for lead.
It is our policy to be transparent. Everything about the program is available on this website. The technical guidelines and testing requirements for the CertiPUR-US program are “living” documents, allowing for revisions based on relevant scientific findings and new health, environmental and safety regulations. The CertiPUR-US certification is based on the established CertiPUR-US Technical Guidelines for Slabstock Foam (pdf) and the CertiPUR-US Technical Guidelines for Molded Foam (pdf). Both Technical Guidelines set baseline criteria for product physical performance, chemical analysis, and emissions evaluation.
Verification to Ensure Compliance
The integrity of the program and its value to participating companies is enhanced through vigilant protection. Foam producers that certify foam through us are listed here. Companies that buy certified foam or products containing certified foam from one of these producers or from a registered distributor, have permission to use our name and logo, but only if they register with us (a process that is free but requires verification of the supply chain). Learn more about how to register here.
Registered companies are listed in our online directory of participating companies and are the only companies that are granted permission to use the CertiPUR-US name and logo. If a company or brand is not listed in our directory, we cannot vouch for their use of certified foam.
We have a program in place to monitor the use of the CertiPUR-US logo and name but we encourage those who find companies using our logo without permission to report misuse here.
CertiPUR-US is a program administered by the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 2008.
Meet the Team
Michael Crowell, Executive Director, has been involved with the polyurethane industry for more than four decades. Contact Mike about anything related to the CertiPUR-US® program, but especially for questions related to technical issues and (for foam producers) how to begin the process of certifying a foam.
Helen Sullivan, Communications Counsel, was on the original team that established the nonprofit CertiPUR-US® program to combat substandard foams in mattresses, pillows, sleep-related products and upholstered furniture. Contact Helen if you have questions about certified foam, or (for manufacturers and retailers) to learn how to become a participating company.
Media inquiries welcome. Please contact Helen Sullivan for information, photographs or to arrange interviews.