Purple Mattress Review: Is the Purple Powder Toxic?

Updated on December 2, 2017
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Kate is a research enthusiast with a Bachelor of Science degree from Sonoma State University. She currently resides in Sonoma, California.

After two months of research, I decided that I would try a Purple Mattress. Yes, two solid months. I have a bad habit of researching things to death—just ask my often frustrated husband. It seemed from all the reviews I read online that hardly a single person who has tried the purple mattress was unhappy and sent the mattress back. It seemed too good to be true to me. I had to find out for myself.

I am the mother of a four-month-old infant, so, of course, my first concern was safety. After looking into this mattress for a short time, I quickly learned about the existence of claims that a toxic white powder was being used on these mattresses during production.

It is also common knowledge that many vacuum sealed products such as “mattresses in a box” have had serious off-gassing issues. Most products that use petroleum-based substances in their construction have at least some sort of off-gassing, but I read mattresses are significantly prone to this. My first task was to make sure this mattress was safe for me and my family.

The Dreaded “Purple Powder”

Being a concerned wife and mother, I was naturally more than just a little disturbed by some of the claims online of a toxic powder being used in the packaging of the mattress. I spent significant time researching this topic and although there is plenty of opinions and guesswork going on out there by some frantic people, let me get straight to the facts.

The white colored powder is a polyethylene based powder that purple uses in their mattresses, pillows, and other products which feature their “Hyper Elastic Polymer.” This powder has a very specific purpose. This powder is used to keep the mattress (or pillow) from sticking to itself when compressed for shipping.

Is It Safe?

The powder is polyethylene copolymer. Polyethylene is literally the most common form of plastic produced in the world and is used extensively in products that you already have all over your home.

This form of plastic is used in food containers, water bottles, cosmetics and much more. It is even used in medical devices that are implanted under the skin and children’s chew toys. Your kid might be sucking on a pacifier right now which is most likely made from polyethylene. This type of plastic is the basically the definition of non-toxic.

After much research it became abundantly clear: I was exposed to this type of plastic far more in my daily life than just the mattress I slept on. Of course this made me feel much better so I told myself I would be on the lookout for any powder in the mattress once I ordered it. Would the powder explode out in a terrifying cloud? Would there be a residue over the entire mattress? Or would it basically be non-existent?

My black dog volunteered to check it for the presence of any white powder.
My black dog volunteered to check it for the presence of any white powder.

Inspecting My Mattress for the Presence of the Powder

After I received my mattress and opened it, I noticed there was no frightening cloud of white powder. There wasn’t even a slight residue. I literally could not find white powder anywhere inside the packaging. The small amount of powder people online are discussing as being present in this product is fully containing inside the mattress. It serves its purpose inside the mattress and there is no reason for it to be outside the mattress.

After six months or so on my purple mattress I am happy to report that I have never noticed any white residue of any kind. I have never had any strange breathing issues or even smelled anything unusual after sleeping on the mattress. Even after putting a clean black t-shirt down and jumping on top of it repeatedly, it came off the bed with absolutely zero white residue of any kind.

This indicated to me that this powder, as harmless as it was, was completely contained inside the bed. So unless you have habits of cutting open your mattresses and eating the contents, you aren’t going to be ingesting any of this harmless powder anyway.

This powder really is nothing to worry about. You are not going to be exposed to it at all with your Purple mattress but even if you were, it’s as safe as plastics come. If you are concerned about this plastic powder then you better be concerned almost every other plastic product in your house first. You are much more likely to be exposed to those plastics than you are this plastic powder which is fully contained inside the mattress.

If you would like to read more about this powder, there is a very in-depth independent study which completely confirms the safety of this powder. You can read the study here: Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health Report on the Purple Powder.

A Quick Link to the Amazon Listing for the Purple Mattress

Off-Gassing of the Purple Mattress

As far as I could tell from my research, there is no scientific way of measuring off-gassing that I could realistically perform at home. I am stuck to providing merely a subjective opinion. The goal here is to provide an opinion on the strength of the smell emanating from the Purple Mattress once it was freshly removed from its packaging along with how long that smell seemed to last.

I will not be discussing any possible health effects of off-gassing of plastics and whether the smell emanating from most newly unpackaged polymer based products is safe or not. That is a controversial topic and plenty of studies can be found online regarding this.

The first day that the mattress was unpackaged in my bedroom I did notice a slight odor of plastic from the packaging. It was not overpowering, I never felt light headed, and I did not feel like it was unsafe to sleep on that first night. On the second night, the smell was still present but it appeared to have faded and seemed to be about half as noticeable as the first night. On the third night sleeping on the mattress, the smell was undetectable.

Overall, the off-gassing smell was much less apparent than many other plastic products I have purchased. Considering the amount of plastics, glues, and other materials inside this mattress I can only guess that the mattress was either allowed to off-gas somewhat at the factory before shipping, or some other measures were taken to reduce the off-gassing. I am assuming this because the smell was quite subtle when compared to other polymer based products I have unpackaged.

If you still feel uncomfortable with off-gassing of the mattress allow it to air out in a spare room for two days before sleeping on it. After two days, you likely will not be able to detect any of that “new product” smell.

My Opinions of the Mattress

In the end, my concerns of the white powder and off-gassing of the mattress were completely unfounded. There was no white powder detectable on the mattress and the off-gassing was significantly less than most other products I purchase and use in my home. I was very happy that I could relax and just worry about whether the mattress was comfortable or not.

My husband and I have now slept on the mattress for about six months. My husband is just over six feet tall and weighs 245 pounds while I am significantly smaller. My husband is a stomach sleeper and prefers firmer while I prefer softer mattresses since I enjoy sleeping on my side.

The internal workings of the Purple Mattress. Note the unique grid like structure of the Hyper Elastic Polymer on the top layer. This is what makes this mattress so unique.
The internal workings of the Purple Mattress. Note the unique grid like structure of the Hyper Elastic Polymer on the top layer. This is what makes this mattress so unique.

I will say that this mattress seems to fit the bill for both of us. The Hyper-Elastic Polymer layer is the top layer of the mattress and you can feel this layer while laying on it. It feels like a very soft grid of thin rubber up on end. The result is a soft plush feel where light pressure is applied to the mattress and a firmer support where a heavier pressure is applied.

Overall, it is a very pleasant feeling and both my husband and I absolutely love our purple mattress. I have had long lasting back problems and this mattress has provided such an amazing amount of relief that it would be impossible to describe here. I suggest that everyone try this mattress because it really is a high end mattress but feels significantly different than any other mattress I have tried.

After my two solid months of research, I did not find anything better than this mattress on paper. Now after 6 months of sleeping on it, I can say without hesitation that I have also never felt any mattress as good as this one. I hope you appreciate this mattress as much as my husband and I do.

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    • Wolfy profile image
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      Kate Daily 8 days ago from California

      Thank you! I just hope other concerned parents out there will find it useful. The possibility of the "dreaded purple powder" was, at one time, pretty scary to me!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 13 days ago from the short journey

      This is a great review. Am surprised this is the first comment. Thanks for sharing your research and experience here.

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