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Studies Show Polyethylene Powder Is Common and Safe for Consumers

There have been questions about the safety of the non-toxic plastic powder coating we use to ship our mattress and pillow.

The powder is a common plastic called polyethylene. In fact, it’s the most common form of plastic produced in the world and is found virtually everywhere in the U.S.

Polyethylene powder is used in cosmetic products such as mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, eye shadows, face powders, and foundations.

If you’re looking for more information about polyethylene and the safety of this plastic, you can find it in several scientific journals and health agency websites:

  • Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) –
  • Environmental Working Group (EWG) –
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) –
  • CIREP (Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel). 2007. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Polyethylene. Int J Toxicol. 26(Suppl 1): 115-127.
  • Lefaux, R. 1968. Practical toxicology of plastic, 48–54. Ohio: Chemical Rubber Co. Press. (as cited by CIREP, 2007).
  • Safepharm Laboratories, Ltd. 1997a. Acute Oral Toxicity in Rat. Project number 654/041. (as cited by CIREP, 2007). Safepharm Laboratories, Ltd. 1997b. Acute Dermal Irritation test in the Rabbit. Project number 654/042. (as cited by CIREP, 2007).
  • Safepharm Laboratories, Ltd. 1997c. Acute Dermal Irritation test in the Rabbit. Project number 654/086. (as cited by CIREP, 2007).
  • Safepharm Laboratories, Ltd. 1997d. Buehler Delayed Contact Hypersensitivity study in the Guinea Pig. Project number 654/090. (as cited by CIREP, 2007).
  • Safepharm Laboratories, Ltd. 1997e. Reverse Mutation Assay—Ames test using Salmonella Typhimurium and Escherichia coli. Project number 654/045. (as cited by CIREP, 2007).

Lack of Basis for Alleged Health Concerns

Honest Mattress Reviews posted their own “independent” study performed by a retired Harvard professor, Dr. John J. Godleski. An independent report commissioned by Purple by the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, LLC reviewed Dr. Godleski’s findings. Here’s what the report found:

Given the chemical nature of polyethylene co-polymer and the negligible potential exposure to consumers of Purple® mattresses, it is clear that any and all health concerns that have been raised are without any appropriate scientific basis. In particular, the potential health effects opinions of Dr. John J. Godleski stated in his letter dated March 8, 2017, are not scientifically supported. In his letter, Dr. Godleski states that, “Polyethylene is a common plastic formed into many structures. As inhalable microspheres, these have the potential to cause respiratory irritation especially when inhaled in large numbers as shown in my laboratory.” He did not address the available peer-reviewed lab animal data that indicate no toxicity, or provide any estimate of potential consumer inhalation or dermal exposure. He did, however, cite in vitro (i.e., tests in lab containers rather than a living organism) studies of guinea pig and hamster lung immune system cells (alveolar macrophage) responses to protein-coated latex particles (i.e. particles that have been modified to elicit macrophage phagocytosis) to measure oxidative stress responses. These studies used high particle exposure that are not representative of human exposures. He also stated that, “In addition, polyethylene has been associated with allergy in the form of either asthma or contact dermatitis in sensitized individuals.” However, the scientific literature that he cited for support of this statement are for polyethylene glycol particles, which are chemically and toxicologically dissimilar to polyethylene co-polymer. Thus, the opinions proffered in Dr. Godleski’s letter are not relevant to measured exposure data or in agreement with sound toxicological science.

We are happy to again confirm that Purple® products are completely safe, non-toxic, and 100% harmless for consumers.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact us:


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