• Mattress Regulations in the European Union: An Overview

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    Mattress

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    Planning to import or manufacture mattresses for the EU market? In this guide, we cover the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), EN standards, flammability, REACH, labeling, and other compliance requirements applicable to mattresses in the European Union.

    Mentioned products

    • Queen size mattresses
    • King size mattresses
    • Water mattresses
    • Air mattresses
    • Children’s mattresses
    • Upholstered bed bases

    General Product Safety Directive (GPSD)

    The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) regulates consumer products imported and manufactured in the EU.

    Specifically, the GPSD requires that manufacturers, distributors, importers should ensure the safety of the products before placing them in the EU market, even if it doesn’t specify detailed technical requirements for each product. In short, you must ensure that your products are safe for the consumers.

    EN Standards

    The European Commission established a list of harmonized standards for a broad type of consumer products covered by the GPSD, including EN 16890 – Children’s furniture – Mattresses for cots and cribs. We go into detail about EN 16890 further down in this guide.

    When a product is covered by one or more harmonized standards, such as in the case of mattresses for cots and cribs, manufacturers and importers can refer to the standard’s technical requirements in order to ensure product safety.

    That said, GPSD doesn’t reference standards for all types of mattresses. This does not mean that general safety (e.g. flammability) can be disregarded, as it’s then up to the importer or manufacturer to find a suitable standard instead.

    Documentation

    You can also create the following supporting documents to demonstrate general product safety and compliance:

    • Risk Assessment Report
    • User Manual
    • Technical File
    • Test Reports

    Labeling Requirements

    The GPSD requires mattresses to bear the following information (or on product packaging), in order to facilitate market surveillance and the traceability of the product:

    • Name of the importer or manufacturer
    • Address of the importer or the manufacturer
    • Batch number

    Other relevant information might also be included on the label, such as the size, or the fiber composition.

    Mattress EN Fire Safety Standards

    EN 597-1: Mattresses and upholstered bed bases – Ignition source smoldering cigarette

    EN 597-1 establishes a testing method to determine the ignitability of mattresses, upholstered bed bases, or mattress pads, and similar products when exposed to the smoldering ignition from cigarettes. The standard doesn’t cover air and water mattresses.

    EN 597-1 provides the technical testing standards and methods to determine the flammability of the mattress under the circumstances of occurring smoldering ignition from cigarettes. In this standard, the condition such as temperature, relative humidity, and ignition source are crucial factors.

    For example, the materials to be tested and the cigarettes shall be conditioned for at least 24 hours before the test in the following conditions:

    • Temperature: 23 ± 2 ℃
    • Relative humidity: 50 ± 5%

    The atmosphere for carrying out the test shall be:

    • Temperature: 10 ℃ – 30 ℃
    • Relative humidity: 15% – 80%

    This test should be conducted in an enclosure consisting of either a room with a volume greater than 20 cubic meters (which contains adequate oxygen for testing) or a smaller enclosure with a through-flow of air. Considering the potential danger caused by the test, this standard also specifies the health and safety means for the test operators to conform to.

    EN 597-2: Mattresses and upholstered bed bases – Ignition source match flame equivalent

    EN 597-2 sets up a testing method to determine the ignitability of mattresses and upholstered bed bases when exposed to the ignition is a gas flame. EN 597-2 also excludes the ignitability of air and water mattresses.

    The testing principles and conditions of EN 597-2 are very close to the EN 597-1, with the difference that the ignition source of EN 597-2 is gas.

    The test report should include the following content:

    • Reference to EN 597-2
    • Description of the mattress and other components
    • The record of whether ignition or non-ignition occurred during the test

    EN 16890 – Children’s furniture – Mattresses for cots and cribs

    EN 16890 specifies safety requirements and test methods for the following types of mattresses used in the domestic and non-domestic environment:

    • Children’s cots
    • Travel cots
    • Cribs
    • Suspended baby beds

    Requirements

    EN 16890 standard regulates mattresses used in cots and cribs from the perspective of:

    Chemical hazards, fire hazards, entrapment hazards, suffocation hazards, choking and ingestion hazards, structural integrity, label information, warning statements, and some other elements.

    This standard does not apply to the following types of mattresses:

    • Carrycots mattresses
    • Pram bodies mattresses
    • Inflatable mattresses
    • Water mattresses
    • Mattresses for medical purposes

    This standard provides testing methods and evaluation procedures for the requirements mentioned above. We will briefly introduce each of them in the following section.

    Chemical Restrictions

    Regarding the migration of the chemical elements of mattresses for cots and cribs, EN 16890 requires to apply the testing methods according to the standard of EN 71–3 Migration of Certain Elements. In particular, the migration level of the sleeping surface of the mattresses should not exceed the following limits:

    • Antimony: 560 mg/kg
    • Arsenic: 47 mg/kg
    • Boron: 15,000 mg/kg
    • Cadmium: 17 mg/kg
    • Chromium III: 460 mg/kg
    • Chromium VI: 0.2 mg/kg
    • Lead: 160 mg/kg
    • Mercury: 94 mg/kg
    • Nickel: 930 mg/kg

    Flammability requirements

    EN 16890 suggests two testing standards and requirements determine the flammability of the mattress:

    1. EN 71-2: When testing the mattress in accordance with EN 71-2 – Flammability of Toys, there shall be no surface flash and the rate of spread of flame of textiles, coated textiles, or plastic coverings shall not exceed 50 mm/s

    2. EN 597-1: When testing the mattress in accordance with EN 597-1, there shall be no progressive smoldering ignition or flaming ignition.

    Entrapment requirements

    In order to avoid entrapment hazards from gaps and openings of the cribs or the cots. EN 16890 requires that the margin of error of nominal dimensions of the width and length of the mattress shall be ± 10 mm. The referred testing standard should be 1334 – Methods of Measurement and Recommended Tolerances for Beds and Mattresses.

    Testing Standards

    EN 16890 sets up specific test methods and standards such as tension test, torque test, shrinkage test regarding the choking and internal suffocation hazards, body entrapment hazards, and other mechanical and structural integrity hazards of the mattress.

    In addition, EN 16890 refers to external standards to determine the safety of mattresses, including:

    a. EN 71-1: Safety of Toys: Mechanical and Physical Properties

    b. EN 71-2: Flammability of Toys

    c. EN 71-3: Migration of Certain Elements of Toys

    d. EN 597-1: Mattresses and upholstered bed bases – Ignition source smoldering cigarette

    e. EN ISO 2439: Flexible cellular polymeric materials — Determination of hardness (indentation technique)

    f. ISO 13936-2: Determination of the slippage resistance of yarns at a seam in woven fabrics

    Labeling and Warnings

    All mattresses that claim to comply with the EN 16890 shall bear a permanent label containing the name of the manufacturer or importer.

    In addition, other information that will facilitate the process to identify the product should also be included. Mattresses sold as standalone should be marked with the following information:

    • Width, length, the thickness of the mattress
    • Statement about the maximum internal size of the cot the mattress is intended for
    • Reference to the EN 16890

    Note that the length and width gap between the mattress and the sides and ends should not exceed 30 mm.

    REACH

    REACH regulates the level of chemicals and heavy metals in the consumer products, including mattresses. For example, products made using materials containing excessive amounts of lead, cadmium, or phthalates are illegal to sell in the EU.

    Restricted Substances

    REACH sets the limit for several types of chemical substances that could potentially be found in mattress products, such as:

    These chemical substances could be generated or blended into the products during the manufacturing or processing procedures.

    EU Ecolabel

    The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme for manufacturers and importers, which involves a wide variety of products, including mattresses. The purpose of the EU Ecolabel scheme is to develop eco-standards and criteria for products with a special focus on the stages where the product has the highest environmental impact.

    The EU Ecolabel criteria differ from product to product. Further, you can learn more about how to apply for the EU Ecolabel in this guide.

    Restricted Substances

    Latex Foam Mattress

    The EU Ecolabel criteria for bed mattresses mandates that mattress that contains more than 5% of latex foam should comply with the limits of the heavy metal as the following requirements:

    • Arsenic < 0.5 ppm
    • Antimony < 0.5 ppm
    • Cadmium < 0.1 ppm
    • Chromium < 1 ppm
    • Cobalt < 0.5 ppm
    • Copper < 2 ppm
    • Lead < 0.5 ppm
    • Mercury < 0.02 ppm
    • Nickel < 1 ppm

    It also limits the residue level of the several pesticides to be no more than 0.04 ppm in mattresses with latex foam contributing to more than 5% of the total weight, including the following:

    • Aldrin
    • p,p-DDT
    • Diazinone
    • Dichlorfenthion
    • Dichlorvos
    • Dieldrin
    • Endrin
    • Heptachlor

    The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emission limits for latex foam mattress required by the EU Ecolabel criteria for bed mattresses include the following:

    • Formaldehyde < 0.005 mg/m³
    • Styrene < 0.01 mg/m³
    • Toluene < 0.1 mg/m³
    • Vinyl chloride < 0.0001 mg/m³
    • Carbon Disulphide < 0.02 mg/m³

    Polyurethane (PUR) Foam Mattress

    For mattresses that contain more than 5% of PUR foam, the EU Ecolabel criteria for bed mattresses requires that manufacturers and importers should comply with the heavy metal limits as the following requirements:

    • Arsenic < 0.5 ppm
    • Antimony < 0.5 ppm
    • Cadmium < 0.1 ppm
    • Chromium < 1 ppm
    • Chromium VI < 0.01 ppm
    • Cobalt < 0.5 ppm
    • Copper < 2 ppm
    • Lead < 0.2 ppm
    • Mercury < 0.02 ppm
    • Nickel < 1 ppm
    • Selenium < 0.5 ppm

    Further, the concentration value of the following six types of phthalates should not exceed 0.01% of the total weight:

    • DINP
    • DNOP
    • DEHP
    • DIDP
    • BBP
    • DBP

    The criteria also forbid the intentional addition of other types of phthalates.

    Finally, the VOC emission limits value required are as follow:

    • Formaldehyde < 0.005 mg/m³
    • Toluene < 0.1 mg/m³
    • Aromatic hydrocarbons < 0.5 mg/m³

    Lab Testing

    Manufacturers or importers should ensure their mattresses comply with the relevant regulations before entering the EU markets. The verification process could outsource to a third-party lab-testing company, such as:

    • UL
    • QIMA
    • Satra
    • Intertek
    • TÜV SÜD
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    Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided for general information only. The content includes summaries written by our team members based on publicly available information about product safety standards, labeling, documentation, testing, processes, and other product compliance related topics. However, we don’t guarantee that we cover every single relevant regulation/standard/requirement, or that the information is free from errors, or covering every single scenario and exemption. We do make mistakes from time to time. We never provide legal advice of any sort.

    Changes/Updates: Product standards and substance restrictions are subject to frequent updates and changes. In addition, new regulations, standards, and/or requirements may also become effective at any time. We don’t update our articles whenever new standards/regulations/rules are added or changed. We recommend that you consult a lab testing company or other professional to get the latest information about mandatory standards/regulations in your market, country, or state. Lab testing companies generally stay up to date on new and updated standards and regulations.

    National/State-Level Standards/Regulations: Many articles don't cover all European national and US state standards, regulations, and requirements. We recommend that you consult a testing company or other professional to confirm all relevant (and current) national/state level standards and regulations.
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