Health concerns with simplified choice mattresses

Through my recent research into finding a new mattress I discovered that mattresses like Tempurpedic are very unhealthy for someone who already has an irregular heartbeat in addition to their mold problems. I was already leaning toward either Brooklyn Bedding or Casper but I’m concerned that they may contain similar chemicals?

Should I only be looking at options like OrganicPedic and LifeKind if pre-existing heart conditions are a concern?

Hi techmattr,

I would be very cautious about using this type of more general information and “translating” it into specific information that would apply to you personally … especially when the driving force behind some of the information you will read about “chemicals” is based on “fear tactics” that are designed to sell some very costly organic mattresses.

The reality is that some people can be sensitive to some of the chemicals that are used to make some types of memory foam (or other foams as well) even though they would be fine with other types of memory foam that don’t use the same chemical formulation. It depends entirely on the individual person and on the specific formulation of the foam. For example if all the people that were sensitive to the naturally occurring chemicals in a tomato wrote about the “symptoms” they experienced when they ate them and someone were to read about hundreds of people that had negative reactions when they ate them then it would probably be enough to stop them from ever eating tomatoes again even though the odds would be very low that what they are reading would apply to them.

The question of “how safe is safe enough for me” is specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, health concerns, circumstances, criteria, beliefs, and lifestyle choices (just like some people may choose an organic or even a vegan diet and would consider other diets to be “unsafe”) but there is more information in post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to about safe, natural, organic, “chemical free”, and “green” mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer “how safe is safe enough for me” or “how natural is natural enough for me” so you can decide on the types of materials you are most comfortable having in your mattress. This way you can focus on the materials in a mattress and the certifications that it has rather than the name of a manufacturer that makes it. These types of issues can be complex and again are generally specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, health concerns, circumstances, criteria, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

Whether you are sensitive to any particular material or any of the chemicals inside it or whether it could affect any medical condition you may have is also really a health question that can’t be answered specifically and would be a question that you would need to discuss with a health care practitioner that that you trust and that is familiar with any particular health conditions that you may have. Even something like caffeine or other stimulants can aggravate irregular heartbeats and for some people should be completely avoided.

Outside of this … the only reliable way to assess the “safety” of any particular material is based on the certifications it has for harmful substances and VOC’s (you can read more about certifications in post #2 here) but it’s still possible that even with a certification a particular person may have a specific sensitivity to certain materials that for most people would be fine (even if they had an irregular heartbeat). In very general terms and based only on anecdotal information and “reports” you will find that memory foam will have the highest incidence of people that have complaints about symptoms they they experience when they sleep on memory foam followed by polyfoam followed by latex.

The Brooklyn Bedding BestMattressEver doesn’t contain any memory foam and only contains latex and polyfoam. The latex is certified by OekoTex and the polyfoam is certified by CertiPUR so for the very large majority of people these materials would certainly be “safe enough”.

The Casper mattress does have a 1.5" gel memory foam layer in addition to the 1.5" layer of latex and the polyfoam but their memory foam and polyfoam is also CertiPUR certified and their latex is also Oeko-Tex certified so for most people “safety” also wouldn’t be an issue or concern with a Casper mattress.

There is also more information about the “simplified choice” category of mattresses (including Casper and Brooklyn Bedding’s BestMattressEver) in this topic that may help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between them as well.


Thanks for the information. It makes sense that the anecdotal evidence could/would be exaggerated online to push a particular narrative. We had a Tempurpedic years ago and had issues while trying it. My wife is the one with the heart condition and looking back on our trial I think the Tempurpedic may have caused her issues. She had been complaining of chest pain and trouble breathing and we never attributed it to the mattress until just now. 7 years later. We only had that mattress for a month.

The other concern was mold. I see tons of complaints of mold on Tempurpedic and apparently they don’t cover it in their warranty. My parents had a Tempurpedic and it developed a mold issue and they had to throw it out as the retail store and Tempurpedic wouldn’t do anything about it. We visited a large national mattress chain this past weekend that carried Tempurpedic and Sealy Optimum and even a few of the mattresses there had mold on the bottom. It’s not hard to find people who report mold problems for pretty much any of the memory foam mattresses. I wasn’t able to find any for Brooklyn Bedding which is pleasantly surprising. I expected to see at least a couple pictures in Google images.

For the price and return policy it seems the Brooklyn Bedding BestMattressEver is definitely worth trying. If my wife has any issues with it I guess we could look into the organic brands but that looks to be a $5~6K investment.

Hi techmattr,

I have also had an issue with “symptoms” on a particular memory foam topper (not Tempurpedic) but I have slept on many other types of memory foam as well without experiencing any symptoms (see post #2 here). If your wife is still experiencing symptoms 7 years later then it’s very unlikely that they were caused by the memory foam because in almost all cases any symptoms that come from sleeping on memory foam will resolve themselves within a week or so (and usually less) after you stop using it.

While it’s uncommon for any mattress to develop mold issues … if there are a combination of risk factors that affect humidity and ventilation in a mattress then it can make mold issues more likely. Tempurpedic uses a solid surface foundation that doesn’t have any ventilation and this in combination with other risk factors can certainly contribute to the formation of mold … especially in the bottom of a mattress (see post #10 here). With a foundation that provides better ventilation under a mattress this would be very unlikely to happen with any mattress.

While there are certainly some benefits to using organic materials that can be important for some people for personal or lifestyle reasons (see post #3 here) … in many cases non organic versions of the same material (with latex and wool especially) can be just as “safe” and free from chemicals and have the same properties, performance, and durability as their certified organic counterparts. There is more about the different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here. There are also many mattresses available that use all organic materials and fibers that are in much lower price ranges than the prices you mentioned if an organic certification is an important part of your criteria outside of the safety of or any “chemicals” in the materials themselves.