The Certi-PUR US standard divides harmful substances into six categories based on their nature and composition as well as their potential environmental and health effects To be certified, a mattress must pass tests in every single category.
CertiPUR US: The Six Standards
To meet CertiPUR US standards, foam must:
- Be made without ozone depleters
The term ozone depleter refers to any chemical or substance which, upon release into the air, attacks and potentially destroys atmospheric ozone. As ozone plays an important role in shielding the Earth and human life from intense, dangerous radiation emitted by the sun, the environmental effects of ozone depleters are potentially disastrous. Most ozone depleters come from a category of chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). The recognizing of the dangers posed by CFCs in 1987 resulted in the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to eliminate the use of CFCs in manufacturing. Because their effects are so severe, foam containing any amount of any ozone depleter immediately fails the certification test.
- Be made without PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP /Tris flame retardants.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) has established strict standards requiring mattresses to be not only fireproof, but to be able to survive exposure to an open flame for an extended period of time. As a result, many manufacturers of foam and other mattress materials turned to chemical flame retardants made with polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) or chlorinated tris (TDCPP / TCEP). However, these chemical flame retardants quickly break down and release harmful particles into the air to be breathed in by sleepers during the night. PBDEs have been identified as carcinogenic, while chlorinated tris is associated with high risk of kidney damage, testicular damage and decreased fertility. In concert with laws developed by the United States and European Union to eliminate the use of these substances in manufacturing, the CertiPUR-US standard has also adopted a zero-tolerance policy in regards to them.
- Be made without mercury, lead, or other heavy metals
Heavy metals have been called out for their ability to pollute groundwater, lakes, rivers, and other water sources, poison fish and other aquatic life, and expose children and infants to severe health risks. In infants, breathing in or ingesting even small amounts of these substances can quickly prove fatal. While heavy metals are not a common ingredient in foam, they have sometimes been found in dyes and chemical finishing treatments. CertiPUR-US requires that certified foam use no heavy metals at all in any part of the manufacturing process. Technology used in the annual testing process can successfully detect even the smallest trace amounts of the substances in order to ensure that certified foam is entirely heavy metal free.
- Be made without formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is an extremely toxic material known to cause dizziness, suffocation, and permanent respiratory system damage when inhaled. It is also highly dangerous to touch, and is capable of causing severe burns on the skin and eyeballs. While formaldehyde is primarily used in foam which is manufactured for the purpose of insulation, rather than mattresses or other household amenities, the Certi-PUR US standards prohibit the use of formaldehyde in any of their certified foams, regardless of purpose. As formaldehyde is extremely quick to off-gas (release harmful particles into the air), its presence is tested for by measuring emissions of the foam in a small, controlled environment over a period of time. This test is fully effective in detecting even minimal amounts of formaldehyde.
- Be made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
The term “phthalate” refers to a group of chemicals known for their ability to soften and increase the flexibility of materials such as plastics, polymers, and foam. They commonly saw use as a “softening agent” in everything from mattresses to stuffed animals and other children’s toys. They are also commonly found as a component in polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In 2009, the CPSC identified and banned seven specific phthalates linked to increased instances of allergies and asthma in infants and children as well as undescended or otherwise damaged testicles in young boys. These phthalates are also known to disrupt the endocrine system, affecting hormone levels and mood and possibly contributing to increased occurrences of obesity. The Certi-PUR US standards prohibit the inclusion of any of the seven banned phthalates, and test for each of them via thorough and detailed lab analysis.
- Emit only a low, strictly regulated amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a large group of both natural and manmade chemicals which possess high vapor pressure and extremely low boiling points, meaning that they easily and quickly evaporate and disperse into the environment even at standard room temperature. Scientists now believe that the majority of scents experienced in daily life are a result of VOC particles in the air. While not every VOC is inherently dangerous, the majority of them have been linked with air pollution, specifically the decline of indoor air quality. Extended exposure to this low-quality air, especially in children, can induce health problems including asthma, dizziness and even suffocation. The team behind the Certi-PUR US standards recognize the near-impossibility of eliminating all VOCs from the foam manufacturing process, and has chosen to set the standard at “low” emissions rather than “zero”. The permitted amount of VOC emission is 0.5 parts per million. As with formaldehyde, this test is conducted via strict observation of emissions in a controlled environment over a period of time.
It’s easy for a company to simply advertise their product as “environmentally friendly” “green” or “eco-friendly” without providing any evidence to back it up. At Zonkd, we disagree with this tactic and believe in openness and honesty with our customers. As a recipient of the CertiPUR-US certification, the memory and support foam used in the Zonkd mattress contains absolutely zero of the above-listed substances. We proudly display the Certi-PUR US logo alongside our products as a visible sign of our commitment to promoting health, safety and environmental awareness and stewardship.
What is Oeko-Tex?
The Oeko-Tex certification is a series of tests which measures the presence or absence of harmful substances in a wide range of textiles. It was established in Switzerland in 1992, but quickly saw use throughout Europe and later around the world.
Because “textiles” encompasses a wide range of materials and products, the Oeko-Tex certification is divided into four distinct classes according to the purpose of the product. For example, products worn next to the skin such as clothing have their own class, while products which are further from the skin such as coats are considered part of a separate grouping.
The natural latex used in the response layer of the Zonkd mattress, falls under the Class 1 certification, which refers to any textile with which children and infants may be exposed. As children and infants experience the greatest health risk when exposed to potentially harmful substances, this classification is extremely important. Zonkd uses all-natural Talalay latex, which is sustainably harvested from rubber trees, washed several times during the molding process to remove any potential toxins, and possesses a natural resistance to flame, mold, dust mites and insects, meaning that it does not need to be treated with any harmful chemical finishers. As a result, our natural Talalay latex adheres to the standards set forth under the Oeko-Tex class 1 label.
The Oeko-Tex Class 1 Standards
Similar to the Certi-PUR US standards discussed in the above sections, Oeko-Tex prevents the usage of banned materials such as chlorofluorocarbons, lead, mercury, PBDEs, and phthalates. However, it also does not permit two additional categories of substance: those which are legally regulated but not yet fully banned, and those which are known to be harmful but have not yet been subject to any form of legal regulation. These include pesticides, certain chemical flame retardants, formaldehyde, allergenic dyes, and a number of VOCs.
In addition, Oeko-Tex Class 1 standards focus on other elements which could potentially pose any amount of harm or discomfort to children and infants. The pH value of a given textile is measured to ensure that it is safe and will not cause skin irritation. The color fastness of dyes is also tested, as dyes with a too low color fastness present the risk of running and staining or damaging the skin of anyone who is in contact with the dye for long periods of time.
Textiles following these rules, such as all-natural Talalay latex, are completely safe for use by customers of all ages, from infants to the elderly and everyone in between. Materials following the standards are also considered to be environmentally friendly, as they avoid using substances which off-gas easily and decrease the quality of air and water or the strength of the atmospheric ozone layer.
Additional Tests: For the Comfort of Our Customers
The above standards already represent a huge, crucial commitment to the safety of both our planet and our customers. But Zonkd doesn’t stop there. We don’t just want our mattresses to be safe and healthy – we also want them to be comfortable, durable, naturally cooling, and in general able to provide our customers with the best sleep of their lives. Therefore, we have also encouraged additional tests to be performed on our mattresses to verify their durability and comfort.
A rollator test is used to measure the durability of a mattress and its ability to withstand pressure without deteriorating, sagging, tearing or losing its original shape. For this test, a heavy roller, sometimes up to 240lbs in weight, is rolled across the mattress in all directions for an extended period of time. Some rollator tests pass over the mattress upwards of 200,000 times over the course of the test. Once the test is completed, the physical state of the mattress is observed and it is checked for any deformation, impressions or tears.
A heat mapping test ensures that the mattress has sufficient cooling properties and does not retain a significant amount of heat. Heat retention can lead to a phenomenon known as “sleep hot,” in which sleepers overheat and sweat during the night, sometimes to the point that they cannot fall or stay asleep at all.
A heat mapping test involves exposing a mattress to temperatures equivalent to that of the human body over a period of time. The temperature of the mattress directly following exposure and several minutes thereafter is carefully measured. This allows for an accurate picture of the time it takes for body heat to disperse and for the mattress to once again match the ambient temperature of the surrounding air. The Zonkd mattress uses a combination of natural Talalay latex and memory foam infused with a cooling copper gel to ensure that our mattress retains the least amount of heat possible.
Check out some of our other informative articles to learn more about the hypoallergenic and nontoxic properties of the Zonkd mattress. Contact us today to start the process of purchasing one or several of our mattresses – after all, they’re safe, healthy, comfortable, durable, environmentally aware, and of course cool in more ways than one!