Foam furniture has received a great deal of bad press owing to its reputation for being extremely flammable, as well as the more recent discovery that it can give off harmful chemical emissions. However, despite it's bad reputation, foam is still the most popular substance used for furniture upholstery due to its durability, comfort and, more importantly, it's low manufacturing cost. But is foam really so bad? The following pros and cons might help you to decide.
Disadvantages of Polyurethane Foam
Almost all furniture is made from some form of polyurethane foam. When burning, polyurethane gives off highly toxic fumes and is responsible for many deaths over the course of a year. Furthermore, it burns at such an incredible temperature that it makes it impossible to move past it. Often, this means an item of polyurethane furniture can be responsible for blocking an escape route.
On a similar note, polyurethane foam is extremely flammable which makes it a real home danger. Carelessly discarded cigarettes and close proximity to heaters or electrical appliances will pose a serious fire hazard.
Polyurethane emits toxic chemicals due to the use of petroleum in the manufacturing process. Sufferers of respiratory problems have claimed that it aggravates their condition. Also, certain brands of polyurethane foam baby mattresses have been recalled as they are now thought to be linked with cot death.
Although polyurethane can be re-used, it is in no way a green product. The production of polyurethane and other petroleum based products is said to be a huge contributing factor to environmental damage. Despite these dangers, polyurethane is actually more expensive than most other forms of furniture upholstery.
Advantages of Polyurethane Foam
Polyurethane foam is extremely soft and is absolutely ideal for making comfortable pieces of furniture. Despite its softness, it is still sturdy enough to hold weight to prevent people from sinking into furniture. Polyurethane foam is much more durable than many other materials which means it lasts longer making it value for money. Polyurethane foam is also extremely light, making it easy to move.
Initially designed for astronauts, memory foam is becoming evermore prevalent in furniture manufacture. Memory foam reacts with body heat, causing it to adapt to the shape of the users body, making it ideal for those sat at desks for long periods of time or back pain sufferers.
Although considered a luxury item, memory foam beds have increased in popularity in the last ten years with many claiming they offer the most comfortable night's sleep possible. Without the need for springs, memory foams intelligence allows body weight to be evenly distributed, giving support exactly where it is needed. It's incredible sturdiness also means users will not be disturbed by the movement of a partner during the night. However, it's not all good news. Memory foam beds are renowned for giving off a strong chemical smell and many have complained that they find the mattress too thick and hot to sleep on, especially during summertime.