If you’re shopping for a new mattress, there is a fair chance that you’ll see the logo pronouncing that the mattress is Certipur-US certified. The problem is that they don’t do a good job of explaining what it means. What is Certipur-us certified?
What the Certipur-US Certification Means?
The Certipur-US certification means that the mattress was made without certain substances that some consumers consider dangerous or toxic. The Certipur-US label means that the mattress was made without ozone depleters like chlorofluorocarbons. While CFCs were banned in the United States, they are still legal to use in other parts of the world.
The Certipur-US label means that the mattresses were tested to prove they don’t contain these substances, and the supplying factories were inspected to make sure they don’t use CFCs, either.
The mattress doesn’t contain PBDE, TCEP or TDCPP flame retardants, though American law forces it to be flame-retardant in some regard. In some cases, this is addressed by encasing the mattress in a nearly flame-proof but organic outer cover.
Certipur-US mattresses must be made without lead, mercury or other heavy metals. It must be made without formaldehyde. The mattress cannot contain phthalates regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This does leave open the door to using other plasticizers that are not on the CPSC list.
The Certipur-US certification means that the mattress emits less than 0.5 parts per million of low volatile organic compounds. This doesn’t mean the mattress will not have a foam smell or smell like something else. A common issue is mattresses containing a charcoal or bamboo layer smelling like this for days after it is unpacked.
If the mattress is made from natural rubber latex, the mattress could smell like this for the first few weeks and still be Certipur-US certified. However, those fumes are not as likely to be dangerous the way outgassing from polyurethane foam products may be. In short, low VOC doesn’t mean “no smell”.
Who Certifies Mattresses as Certipur-US Certified?
This certification is issued by the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam. This is a non-profit organization based in the U.S. In order to get a mattress Certipur-US certified, the mattress has to be submitted to this organization for analysis.
Mattresses are re-certified every year. On top of this, the mattress factories are inspected to make sure they aren’t using components containing illegal substances made in parts of the world where chemicals like CFCs are still legal.
What Happens If a Mattress Isn’t Certipur-US Certified?
This isn’t necessarily an indication your mattress is dangerous. The Certipur-US certification only applies to polyurethane foam mattresses. For example, traditional spring mattresses don’t include foam so there’s no need to be Certipur-US certified. However, a hybrid mattress with both foam layers and box springs may be Certipur-US certified. If your air mattress has a polyurethane foam topper on it, then that topper may be Certipur-US certified.
Another explanation would be that the mattress doesn’t contain polyurethane foams. If you’re looking at a down filled mattress or latex mattress made from plant-based sources, then the certifying group doesn’t care. It isn’t in their purview. Conversely, a polyurethane mattress that contains a layer of latex could still be Certipur-US certified (and trigger latex allergies) because it contains polyurethane.
Another reason may be the foam mattress was certified under the GreenGuard Gold program instead of Certipur. This program has lower acceptable levels of volatile organic compounds and toxic metals than Certipur-US certified.
Another answer may be that the product does meet Certipur-US standards but isn’t labeled as such. You can check the website for Certipur.us to find out if a manufacturer’s mattresses meet the Certipur-US standard.