A Closer Look at the Science and Process 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 not-for-profit 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:  We only use independent accredited laboratories for testing and analyzing foams. Our testing ensures the foams we certify are made without ozone depleters; made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants; 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 prohibit foams made with any chemicals that have been identified by [...]

By |2021-09-09T16:23:05-04:00September 9, 2021|

Zen and the Art of Furniture Buying

Are you in the market for a cozy new sofa or chair? Great, but if it’s not currently in stock, you may want to plan on it taking longer than expected. I discovered this when I ordered a new sofa this summer. The fabric was in stock, and the salesperson assured me the order would arrive by late fall. Now it’s looking more like January 2022. Why the long wait? Turns out the delay is caused by a global supply shortage that’s creating bottlenecks across many industries—not only in upholstered furniture, but also boats, automobiles, RVs and much more. Furniture industry suppliers and manufacturers have been scrambling to meet the increased customer demand that started during the COVID-19 pandemic, when homebound consumers turned their focus to improving their interiors. Then, producers ramped up to 120% capacity to deal with the exploding demand.  According to a recent article in USA Today, the resulting backlog has affected the entire supply chain in this industry—all the way down to the furniture retailers, who generally maintain lean inventories and minimal surpluses. The stores are trying their best to keep up with demand, caught in between the struggling producers and frustrated customers.  The media [...]

By |2021-08-04T15:20:04-04:00August 4, 2021|

Thank you, NASA: The Unusual History of Memory Foam

Are you one of the millions of people who sleep on a mattress made with memory foam? This remarkable invention’s origins can be traced to the space program. Here is the surprising story behind memory foam: It took off because of a NASA mission. Memory foam was the brainchild of Charles Yost, a visionary aeronautical engineer in Asheville, N.C., who helped build a recovery system for the Apollo command module in 1962. Four years later, the NASA contractor was given a new mission: to develop airline seats that offer better impact protection in the event of an accident, as well as enhanced passenger comfort on long flights. Yost, who died in 2005 at the age of 71, created a new type of flexible polyurethane foam material that conformed to whatever shape was pressing against it, returning to its original shape when the pressure was removed, providing an even distribution of body weight. Early on, Yost called this tempur foam, while others referred to it as “slow spring back foam.” Technically, it is viscoelastic foam, but widely referred to as memory foam. I can’t write about memory foam without giving a shout-out to one of our CertiPUR-US® participating foam producers [...]

By |2021-02-05T22:01:51-05:00February 4, 2021|

Sheltering in Place? Here’s a Worthy Home Health and Safety Project

Thanks to Covid-19, we are all spending more time at home and more time cleaning. Once you've got your  anti-virus protocols in place, since you're already focused on healthy and safety, why not look at other ways you can protect yourself and your family? To that end, I'd like to introduce the concept of "replacement cycles." These are the predictable lengths of time that you can expect household products to last before they lose their effectiveness or deteriorate. Between waking up and going to bed, we engage in many routines for our personal hygiene, beauty and fitness, as well as household cooking and cleaning —all with the best of intentions.  However, many items we use carry hidden dangers if we don’t swap them out soon enough.  Here’s a room-by-room guide: Whole-House: Smoke Detector Batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends changing your smoke detector batteries twice a year, at the same time you change your clocks.  Of course, in the interim, if your smoke detector chirps at you to let you know the battery is dying, you’ll need to replace it before then.  This is so critical.  The CPSC says two thirds of residential fire deaths take [...]

By |2020-03-19T10:16:26-04:00March 18, 2020|

7 Surprising Facts about Chairs

I just love “Chairman Tut,” a sculpture by the artist Larry Morris because it speaks to the creative process (often born of discomfort!) and also illustrates that chairs may well be one of man’s greatest inventions—certainly a vast improvement over nature’s chairs, such as the logs, tree stumps and rocks used by our early ancestors. In his book “Now I Sit Me Down,” which is an appreciation of the chair and its 5,000-year history, architect Witold Rybczynski notes, “The way we choose to sit, and what we choose to sit on, says a lot about us: our values, our tastes, the things we hold dear.” Consider these seven facts about the fascinating history of the chair: Seating styles differ around the world. More than 100 distinct seating postures have been identified worldwide. For example, some cultures have a strong preference for squatting, kneeling or sitting on mats on the floor. In China, chair backs often have a 45-degree angle, as opposed to Western chairs with straight backs or slight reclines. Each of these culturally dictated postures has informed the development of chair styles as well as our muscles—which is why people used to floor-sitting may choose to sit on [...]

By |2020-02-24T07:13:57-05:00February 19, 2020|

Put Your Feet Up

The trend and health benefits of stand-up desks aside, putting your feet up is good for you. After a long day, have you ever been so tired that your inner voice said, “I’ve just got to put my feet up!”? That’s your body being wise. This point was driven home to me recently when my 93-year-old dad, who isn’t nearly as active as he used to be, remarked that his lower legs were swelling. I suggested he try putting his legs up when sitting on a chair or sofa. It worked! Within 48 hours, his legs were completely back to normal. Vein specialists confirm that elevating your legs is beneficial for those of us who spend hours a day sitting—or even standing—at a computer.  I’m also a big believer in cat naps, but if you’re too busy for a nap, taking just five minutes to put your feet up can be wonderfully restorative.  Ideally, you should lie in a position on your sofa or bed that elevates your legs above your head and heart. A stack of pillows or cushions can provide the necessary height and support under your feet. Experts stress not to elevate your legs on a [...]

By |2019-05-16T11:03:57-04:00April 11, 2019|
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