What is Certi-PUR? Mattress terms explained

You’re probably sick to death of hearing the phrase “you spend a third of your life in bed”. It’s true (mostly), but it’s completely overused in the mattress indsustry and I cringe whenever I read it.

But all that aside, you should get a mattress that suits your needs – whether it’s a good memory foam, hybrid or pocket spring one.

If you’re choosing any sort of mattress that contains foam of any sort, then you will probably have seen the “CertiPur” logo or icon somewhere. But what does it mean? Does it actually mean you should avoid buying a non-CertiPur mattress?

What is Certi-PUR?

Let’s cut to the chase: When buying a mattress that contains CertiPUR-US® certified foam, this basically means that the foam in that mattress meets the CertiPUR-US® standards for emissions, durability, and content. Certi-PUR claims that this is because it has gone through rigorous testing and analysis by independent, accredited laboratories.

A Certi-PUR mattress should be fully certified and when it is, you will often see a logo like this too:

 

All certified polyurethane foam (i.e. memory foam) mattresses have been tested at independent laboratories to:

  • Contain Low Emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality
  • Ozone-depleter free
  • PBDE flame retardant free
  • Phthalate free
  • Mercury, heavy metal and lead-free
  • Formaldehyde free
  • Content/durability/emissions tested

The mattress industry gets a lot of stick because of lax standards and over-inflated marketing. But the Certi-PUR accredation isn’t just for mattresses; it can also apply to other foam products too, so you should be confident that it isn’t just another mattress scam.

 

Other things to know about Certi-PUR:

Although it’s used in the USA, hence the “US” part of the name, it’s also a valid certification in Europe – including the UK.

Certi-PUR and ozone depletion:

Ozone’s presence is important in our upper atmosphere, where it provides a shield from the sun’s radiant energy. The Montreal Protocol, adopted in 1987, mandated that industries eliminate ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the year 2000. U.S. foam producers were well ahead of schedule in complying with this regulation. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world, CFCs are still used to manufacture foam. The CertiPUR-US label prohibits the use of any CFCs, or other ozone depleters, in the foam manufacturing process.

Made without heavy metals

What better way to be confident in your mattress than to know it’s heavy-metal free. I’m sure there’s a rock music joke in there somewhere! But being serious, this is actually quite an important aspect of the CertiPUR certification. Often these are found in paints (pre-EU regulation) and also some imported children’s toys from China. CertiPUR-US laboratory testing subjects material extracted to molecular analysis capable of detecting even trace amounts of heavy metal content. CertiPUR-US verifies that registered foams are made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals.

No formaldehyde

Like heavy metals, formaldehyde has never been used as a raw material in foam. Formaldehyde has been labeled as a cause of poor indoor air quality. The absence of formaldehyde in foam is verified in CertiPUR-US-certified foam by a small chamber emission test.

About mattress smells – chemical smells etc

You may be aware that new mattresses, particularly vacuum-packed new memory foam mattresses often emit a chemical smell for a few days after opening. This is entirely normal and nothing to be concerned about. The so-called “off gassing” emissions from your mattress will have been tested to make sure that they meet strict standards.

Note that VOCs are tightly controlled too, they must be less than 0.5 parts per million. If you want to know more about VOCs and mattresses, then make sure to read the link above about chemical smells…

In a nutshell though, VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds and these are a major component of air pollution. VOC emissions from household products are also a concern for indoor air quality. CertiPUR-US certified foams  (like mattresses) are tested using a “chamber test system”, standardised by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Is my mattress Certi-PUR?

Very likely, yes.

The easiest way to check this, is to view the Certi-PUR brands list on their website here. The biggest UK brands are all certified and accredited. At the time of writing this includes:

 

How long does Certi-PUR verification last?

As a consumer, you don’t need to do anything to get your mattress approved – it will come out of the factory already Certi-PUR approved (assuming it is on the list above). For manufacturers, the initial startup process requires stricter standards and this means that manufacturers are required to verify their products every 6 months.

After that, the certification is checked every year, and the process repeats. Additionally, random on-site checks are made, to make sure that the factory is still producting fully CertiPUR approved products.

 

Is Certi-PUR valid in the UK?

Yes!

The CertiPUR-US® program came about to offer consumers confidence and comfort of knowing that the memory foam used in their mattresses met the standards for emissions, content, and durability and were tested by independent, accredited laboratories.

These days, foam producers all over the world are able to participate in this program if they meet the strict CertiPUR-US® guidelines of certification. This includes those that are made in China or in the UK, for example like OTTY who I believe make their mattresses overseas.

There are other accredited mattress/foam certifications available in other country, similar to Certi-PUR (but this is the biggest and most well-known one). They are:

  • LGA (Germany)
  • Eco-label (EU)
  • Blue Angel (Netherlands)
  • OkoTex 100
  • BIFMA

If you would like more information on chemical smells or problems with your mattress, please contact me.

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