Analyzing the foam padding in crib mattresses, the team found that the mattresses release significant amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), potentially harmful chemicals also found in household items such as cleaners and scented sprays.
The researchers studied samples of polyurethane foam and polyester foam padding from 20 new and old crib mattresses.
The researchers found:
- New crib mattresses release about four times as many VOCs as old crib mattresses.
- Body heat increases emissions.
- Chemical emissions are strongest in the sleeping infant's immediate breathing zone.
The researchers reported their findings in the February issue of Environmental Science & Technology.