Children's mattresses can be a health hazard after being emitted by Isreali researchers of hazardous pollutants (VOC) (stock image)

Children's mattresses can pose a health hazard after research has shown that they emit dangerous pollutants associated with cancer.

Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be toxic and is associated with headache, nausea, liver and kidney damage, nerve problems and cancer.

The small particles can inhabit the house when they are released by hundreds of household items, including furniture, candles, incense and rugs.

Researchers discovered that the materials used to make mattresses release larger amounts of VOC when heated to body temperature.


And they said people can breathe in & # 39; concerning & # 39; levels of the chemicals when they sleep, because their faces are right next to the fabric.

Children's mattresses can be a health hazard after being emitted by Isreali researchers of hazardous pollutants (VOC) (stock image)

Children's mattresses can be a health hazard after being emitted by Isreali researchers of hazardous pollutants (VOC) (stock image)

The study did not look at the possible adverse health outcomes of VOCs from mattresses.

But they have previously been accused in numerous studies of causing asthma in children and aggravating it in adults.


Breathing VOCs can be irritating to eyes, nose and throat and cause breathing difficulties.

Researchers from the Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, used eight different child mattresses in their research.

They measured how the temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration – which all rise when people lie on a mattress for a few hours – can influence the levels of various VOCs that release the mattresses.

The team led by Dr. Yael Dubowski, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, reported that children spend up to half their life in this sleeping environment.

They did their experiment by placing pieces of mattresses in a room where they could take samples of air.


The eight mattresses released fairly similar quantities of 18 VOCs studied, with the exception of a flame-retardant compound that is only emitted by a baby mattress.

Temperatures corresponding to body heat contributed significantly to a higher level of VOC released compared to humidity and carbon dioxide.

Infants and young children who inhale some substances, for example acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and benzene, can reach a problem, the researchers said.

Another possible health concern was butylated hydroxy toluene (BHT), detected with great variability between mattresses.

In recent years there has been growing concern that the widespread use of BHT, including in food and cosmetic products, has carcinogenic potential, based on some studies.


However, the findings of this study were far below the reference levels for cancer and non-cancer risks.

Exposure to VOCs is unavoidable due to the huge number of emission sources, including vinyl floors, cleaning products, cosmetics, hair sprays, aerosols, heating and cooking fuel.

VOCs are built into products and are released slowly for months or even years, an example is paint that initially has a strong odor that evaporates over time.

Professor Alastair Lewis, of the National Center for Atmospheric Science, University of York, who was not involved in the research, said that most VOC's are harmless.

However, there are indications that VOCs in the house increase because airtight houses lock them up due to lack of ventilation.


He told MailOnline: “If air gets trapped in a home, there is a possibility that even safe VOCs will be oxidized into more harmful products.

& # 39; Furniture, such as sofas, rugs, beds, etc., may take longer to waste because VOC & # 39; s are buried deeper in the product.

& # 39; In this study, a thick polyurethane mattress is probably a bad example of something that is made with VOC, because it works like a large sponge and slowly releases its VOC. But even these will lose their VOC after some time. & # 39;

Professor Lewis said that the health risks of VOCs from mattresses were small, but if a parent worried, they could instead opt for a cotton, wool or spring-based mattress that would be made with fewer VCO & # 39; s.

The researchers said that further studies on possible health effects of low exposure to VOC were needed. Their study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.



Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.

VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have adverse health effects in the short and long term.

Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors, up to ten times higher, than outdoors.

VOCs are emitted by a wide range of products with thousands.

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products.


Paints, varnishes and waxes all contain organic solvents, as well as many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products.

Fuels are made from organic chemicals.

All of these products can release organic compounds while you use them and to a certain extent when they are stored.

The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects differs greatly from those that are highly toxic to those with no known health effect.

As with other pollutants, the magnitude and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors, including the degree of exposure and the duration of the exposure.


Health effects can include: irritation of eyes, nose and throat; headache, loss of coordination and nausea; damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

Some organic substances can also cause cancer in animals and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

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