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OT - Polyurethane foam... Toxic?

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  • OT - Polyurethane foam... Toxic?

    Just another story of junk from red China... My wife bought a convertible bed/ottoman thing from a SkyMall magazine. It arrived today, so I unboxed it and started to set it up. First thing I noticed is that it was made in China, second thing I noticed is that the mattress that came with it stinks very strongly like a freshly opened can of latex paint. The tag says it's 100% polyurethane foam.

    The wife says I'm making a big deal about the smell, but I'm concerned about the possible toxicity. One of my sons will be sleeping on it every other weekend when he's here.

    Am I being overly paranoid? I don't want my son inhaling toxins all night.
    HH210 w/spool gun
    HTP Invertig 201

  • #2
    I Googled your question, and there are 105,000 entries you might try there...
    "Good Enough Never Is"


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hotfoot View Post
      I Googled your question, and there are 105,000 entries you might try there...
      I did the same. Some industry site mentioned that people often get polyurethane foam and urea formaldehyde foam confused, etc. I didn't want others to google it for me, I just thought someone may have first hand knowledge.

      I was mad when I started the thread at the fact that some things are only available from china these days. Not only does the foam stink, but the frame is made of small diameter steel tube with lousy quality welds. I want to send it back, but the wife may feel insulted if I say anymore about it.
      Last edited by 1990notch; 02-29-2008, 11:04 PM.
      HH210 w/spool gun
      HTP Invertig 201


      • #4
        If it smells like latex it is probably latex foam.


        • #5
          It’s really too bad that the consumer is many times stuck with horrible quality out-sourced crap. Even some of the more expensive stuff at Sears and other well-known places have their stuff made in China. I would personally rather pay extra money so that an American could make 10 bucks an hour creating the product, than save 20 bucks and get low-quality JUNK made in a sweatshop somewhere overseas.

          I’m not sure of the toxicity of the mattress, but I would really look into it and consider returning it SIMPLY for the fact that it smells weird. Beds are supposed to be comfortable enough to induce sleep, not reek and make one wonder what the heck he’s inhaling!

          Good luck man, sucks ya got taken.
          Millermatic 135 110v .030 Flux-Core Wire

          Have a Jeep Cherokee? Click Here!


          • #6

            Send it back and make sure they have to cover the return shipping. Tell 'em it's junk. If we don't start making a stand on this kind of cr-p we're just going to be inundated with it. Then take your wife to a local furniture store and buy locally, telling the owner you won't buy if it's cheap foreign junk that's going to make anybody sick. Good Luck.
            Jim Don


            • #7
              It seems to me the real source of the problem is mail order. There are some things it's okay to buy online, but there is a lot of stuff that one should buy locally. Stuff that you have not owned before, or can't at least look at locally may not be wise to buy online, regardless of the country of origin.

              Sounds like a bad deal for ya 'notch, especially since many people consider SkyMall reputable, but if you look at some of the stuff they do sell, I think it could be thought of as high flyin' Harbor Freight for gizmo junkies. Hope you get something figured out.

              Just my 2.4¢.

              (hey, the alt-1-5-5 thing doesn't work on my laptop unless I turn on NumLock.)

              Still building my new old truck - see the progress!

              Square Wave TIG 200 - Woot!


              • #8
                Sandy, I think you're probably right.

                Skwerly, My sentiments exactly.

                JimDon, I think we're a little too late and already inundated with this kind of (or lack of) quality. I'm deeply troubled by the direction of things in this country, as I'm sure many of you are too. Profit is the biggest and only thing that matters anymore. Providing a quality and safe product seems secondary and only available in certain items anymore. Companies like Hobart seem to be one of the few exceptions left.

                Whatego, Yep, should have bought it locally. I thought the idea of an ottoman that folds out into a bed is not common and wouldn't be easy to find. I'd rather have bought it locally.

                I don't wish to smear the SkyMall name. I've always thought they have truly unique and innovative products. This is a first time buying anything through them. I think it's indicative of the products available from any source now, not unique to SkyMall, of coarse.

                The ottoman is actually drop shipped by a company called Alsto:


                I think what I'm going to do is go to a local upholstery shop and buy some urethane foam and just replace the padding. At least the covers are zippered, so it should be an easy fix. Just irks me that I shouldn't have to do it in the first place.
                HH210 w/spool gun
                HTP Invertig 201


                • #9
                  I've spent the last 6 years making cold cured polyurethane foam and the stink is caused by the natural outgassing of the product as it continues to cure. The best example of this is the cruddy haze that is on the inside of new car windows as the poly cushions in the seats continue to outgas. I cannot vouch for how they produce the foam overseas but I suspect that they are still using freon as a "blowing" agent which causes the foam to expand while we here in the states have all switched to using water. It's not as effective as freon but it works.

                  The best advice is that the smell will eventually stop. This could take 2-12 weeks depending on the manufacturing method.

                  I hope this helps.

                  Oh, btw.... I just picked up my first Model 140 today and have been having a ball with it all afternoon. I am by no means saying I'm finding it easy but I'm happy with my "out of box" experience with this welder.


                  • #10
                    Having some experience with polyurethane I can tell you that cured poly is not a problem, however, in can give off deadly fumes if it burns. One of the components of poly, isocyanate, can cause serious respiratory allergic reactions in SOME people if exposed to it over a long period of time. Once reacted to form the foam the potential for an allergic reaction is gone.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Zadvark View Post
                      I cannot vouch for how they produce the foam overseas but I suspect that they are still using freon as a "blowing" agent which causes the foam to expand while we here in the states have all switched to using water. It's not as effective as freon but it works.
                      FREON? As in "hole in the ozone layer?"
                      I'll be durned
                      Gordie -- "I believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."