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Polyurethane Foam Allergies

Updated July 19, 2017

Some people exhibit a condition where they develop an allergic reaction to their environment when most other people do not. These people are said to have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. One of the many products that seem to trigger their reaction is the fumes in polyurethane foam.

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Possible causes

Polyurethane foam contains 61 toxic chemicals which emit fumes into the air, according to researchers from Duke University. Some foam mattresses are also treated with chemical flame retardants.

Mutiple Chemical Sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is a condition where some people develop allergic reactions to their environment. MCS sufferers react to substances like the toxic chemicals in bedding which include polyurethane foam and the flame retardants that they are treated with.


Usually people with MCS have weakened immune systems and they exhibit symptoms that include dizziness, nausea, memory problems, hives, rashes, flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing after being exposed to polyurethane foam bedding and pillows.

Manufacturer's Warning

Manufacturers warn their customers that polyurethane foam mattresses and pillows give off a harmless chemical odour. They state that the bedding needs airing out for a few days in order for the allergy-triggering fumes to be eliminated.


Chem-Tox.com suggests that you, air out your room, wash out your sheets and blankets, sleep in another place, replace the polyurethane foam bedding and pillows with organic cotton bedding and invest in an air purifier in order to eliminate the toxic fumes.

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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.

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