Toxicity of a Tempur-Pedic Mattress

Updated April 17, 2017

Many people believe that buying memory foam mattresses, such as Tempur-Pedic mattresses, will guarantee them a good night's sleep with pain relief and proper support. However, although such foam mattresses are designed to relieve stress by conforming to the curves of the body, there are other elements of the mattress that may keep a person up at night.

What's in a Tempur-Pedic Mattress?

Mattresses made of higher density foam are much better quality and are supposed to perform better. Usually the density of memory foam ranges from 1.13 to 2.68kg per cubic foot. Tempur-Pedic mattresses are even denser, containing foam that weighs 2.42 Kilogram per cubic foot. In order to make this high density foam, more raw material, such as resin, is needed. Aside from fire-retardant chemicals that are required inside of mattresses by U.S. federal law,Tempur-Pedic maintains that its products are hypoallergenic and free of toxins.


A study by the Consumer Products Safety Commission shows that many chemicals go into modern mattresses now that weren't added in the 1980s. Back then, mattresses were mostly made of untreated, natural materials without the petrochemicals and flame retardants added to newer mattresses. These fire retardant chemicals are actually similar to the poisons that are included in pesticides, which means some people may experience adverse reactions to sleeping on top of mattresses that contain them. These toxins aren't specific to Tempur-Pedic, rather, they occur in all mattresses that were made as recently and after the year 2007 in the United States.

Allergic Reactions to Toxins

For those with weak immune systems, they may experience symptoms of headache or joint ache, unexplained rashes, eczema, nosebleeds, dizziness, even severe migraines, arthritis, ringing in the ears and nausea from the fire-retardant chemicals placed inside modern mattresses.

Dust Mites

Some may mistake their allergies to dust mites as reactions to toxins. Although Tempur-Pedic mattresses are advertised as dust mite and allergen resistant, studies show that as dust mites originate from the skin that is sloughed off the human body while people sleep, there really is no way to prevent them from living inside of a mattress. In fact, according to a 2002 study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the risk of finding dust mites in foam mattresses is four times higher compared to conventional cotton and spring mattresses, and five times higher for foam mattresses without a cover. This study isn't specific to Tempur-Pedic mattresses, but to foam mattresses in general. However, the fact that Tempur-Pedic products have denser, and more open cells inside of them, they may be prone to hosting a larger number of dust mites. This may explain why some people have stronger reactions to Tempur-Pedic products.


Those who believe they may be allergic to the chemicals or dust mites in their beds can try buying a layer of untreated wool or hypoallergenic cloth to place around their mattresses. However, users should also be careful that chemicals may not be limited to the mattresses, and can also exist in sheets and bed covers that are also treated with fire retardants and similar toxins.

Modern Mattresses

As mattresses in the United States are required by law to contain certain levels of fire-retardant chemicals, the problem of some people having adverse reactions to their beds is not specific to Tempur-Pedic. As of 2010, no studies have shown that Tempur-Pedic products contain more toxins than other memory foam mattress brands.

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About the Author

Chrys Lin has been working professionally in journalism since 2003. Her work has appeared in publications in the United States and parts of Asia. She currently resides in Texas and holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism.