I have heard it commonly stated that closed cell memory foam or latex are the best for those with mite allergies, with latex having the added benefit of being “all natural” when it is not blended with synthetics. The reasoning behind this that is often cited is that 1) the mattress itself is inedible as a food source for mites (which eat plant fibers), and 2) the dense material does not allow the mites anywhere to live.
But then I came across this study:
Schei, M.A., Hessen, J.O., and Lund, E. House-dust mites and mattresses. Allergy. 2002; 57: 538–542
It states the following:
"Despite considerable efforts to develop anti dust mite strategies, surprisingly few studies have evaluated the allergen content in different types of mattresses in everyday use. This study investigated the presence of mite feces (an indicator of mite allergens) in foam and spring mattresses. After adjustment for relevant confounders, the risk of finding mite feces was four times higher in foam compared to spring mattresses (odds ratio 4.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1–15.1), and eight times higher for the foam mattresses without cover (OR 8.1, 95% CI 1.8–36.9)."
The study is available for free online. I looked at the details as carefully as I could, and it seemed statistically sound. Searching through Medline, I have been unable to find additional peer reviewed studies on latex, or even further data to support these findings. If anyone knows of any, please post. I realize this study is from Europe, and perhaps dust mite species differ with geography and climate, but I am trying to get past the advertising and look at the actual data.
So who is correct? Is the idea that memory foam is better for dust mite resistance simply marketing?
It makes sense in theory, but I am a fan of the scientific method. If the data does not support the hypothesis, then the hypothesis must be changed or rejected. Does anyone know of additional peer reviewed studies?