January 18, 2022 – Tuesday
I will be publishing a full thread of all of my e-mails with the CertiPUR-US foam agency here on the website as soon as I have a moment (possibly later today). In the meantime, please read all three sections below AND if you have purchased a piece of furniture with CertiPUR-US-certified foam, and assumed that meant that the foam would be Lead-free (based on the marketing language around the product), please feel free to e-mail Michael about this directly. His e-mail is below in the letters and e-mails. I would also appreciate it if you would publish your e-mails here (as a comment on this article), so that we collect several such statements in one place. Thank you.
First I want to say that Medley has been doing an excellent job in responding to the concerns of Lead-contamination found in the CertiPUR-certified foam in their seat cushions. I have spoken with the owners (via Zoom) and been in fairly constant e-mail contact with them since I first published my findings (you can read those findings here on this link). Medley sent me a response to my readers to publish on January 9th, but I did not agree with all of the language and so we have been going back and forth a bit fine-tuning that for clarity and accuracy (while they simultaneously and quite deftly continue to remedy the situation with impacted customers.) My last communication with Medley was yesterday and they told me they are going to try to get me a letter to publish on my website today (and we will likely speak on the phone later today.)
Three important points of note:
- Medley’s own recent independent lab testing of the foam used on the seat cushions did confirm low-level trace Lead contamination consistent with my findings [“trace” in this case being over 100 ppm].
- One of my readers did dust-wipe sampling testing of her sofa (that I had tested and found to be positive); those dust wipes came back negative — so the good news is that the presence of the trace Lead in these cushions DOES NOT appear to have created a dust hazard concern at this point.
- Medley confirmed the issue is (consistent with my findings) only in the seat cushions – not in the other components – and they are offering replacement seat cushions for customers impacted. I believe they are likely also trying to identify a batch-specific range of products that may have been impacted.
The letter I received today from the foam folks:
Today I received an e-mail (a very formal e-mail — with obvious apparent input from a legal team) from the CertiPUR certification folks. Please realize this is a certification nonprofit founded to benefit an arm of the petrochemical industry (foam production), and needs to be understood within that context… Proposed new title for this post?: “Petrochemical industry representative attempts to mansplain to vagina-wielding [award-winning] environmental activist” (oh, I think I will make that my new headline on this if I reissue this post!)
The following point is very important:
I do not agree with many (most?) of the statements in their letter, and I especially do not agree with the words they have “asked” to be put in my mouth in response to their veiled threat – a threat in the form of an overt (and inappropriate) demand that I remove language from this website. [Side note: it sounds like they have done absolutely no research into my work!] I have addressed that in detail in a letter to Michael with CertiPUR-US which is below (in part three of this article), please read my full response.
You can click on any of these images below to see a full-size PDF of the original letter. I may respond in more detail soon – but I am on the road helping families this week, and felt it was prudent to get this letter and my response up immediately, given CertiPUR’s attempts to bully “the little guy” with their chosen language and “requests.”
Here is the e-mail cover note from CertiPUR this morning:
Here is the letter they sent with that cover note. The letter is two pages. If you click on the image below you will link to the full-two-page letter PDF:This is page 2 of their letter:
My response to the foam folks
Below is the text of my e-mailed response, followed by a screenshot of the e-mail.
You do realize that Medley confirmed my findings, right?
Click here to make a contribution in support of the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC: https://tamararubin.com/2017/01/chip-in/
Well put. Thank you for being so open and honest.
Hell yes. This makes me so mad. Shame on certipur!!!! Thank you for your advocacy and huge props to Medley.
We did buy a chair and a mattress that were Certi-PUR-US certified assuming they did not contain lead. That was all we could afford at the time, but those items eventually became garage sale fodder. We have since upgraded to latex, which hopefully doesn’t contain high levels of lead. I get that lead is in the environment, so a little is going to happen. (On a side note, the petrochemical companies of the world took part in putting quite a bit of lead into the environment themselves.)
Those associated with the petrochemical industry have always had such a fantastic reputation for being honest, caring, environmentally friendly, and open to debate. They would never sacrifice human health to increase profit margins. All joking aside, I find it disturbing that they would try to intimidate you into hiding the truth. Thank you for your perseverance.
Carissa Burk says
I do own one certi-pur certified mattress. I bought it because at the time I couldn’t afford an organic mattress and thought this was the best, least toxic option available to me.
This is deeply disappointing.
More reason to just finish replacing all our mattresses with mattresses from Happsy and Naturpedic.
Hey Tamara, thanks so much for your great work! As a new mom, I especially concern about those chemical stuff and your findings are certainly very helpful to my purchase choices. Would it be possible for you to recommend some brands? What about Savvy Rest? It’s said nontoxic but I checked Yelp that many people complained their services and especially their no-return policy. I also wanted to buy Medley but according to your research I will give up…would love to hear your suggestions!
Shame on certipur-US, when you say certipur certified foams are ‘made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals’ of course it means lead free ok????
Terri Hess says
The fiberglas escaping from foam mattress COVERS (not to be removed, yet zippered!) already has me wanting to toss mine. Unfortunately, I can’t replace a $189 mattress with a $2,000 one! But I will continue to pass all these concerns on to folks who can, especially if they have kids. Thank you for your strong voice and brave heart!
I was reading the recall info page from Medley and something didn’t sit well with their following statement:
“Therefore, to the best of our knowledge, and per the findings of Tamara Rubin, there is no immediate health risk from this. To place some context on the findings, the detected levels of lead of 150 ppm to 300 ppm are relatively low, especially compared to Tamara’s other findings on dishware that often come back with ppm results in the tens of thousands.”
Is this a fair comparison? Dishware that has an extremely thin layer of glaze that may have very high level lead (as described in terms of PPM) vs. an entire seat cushion ‘full’ of lead at the ‘much lower’ PPM value? Shouldn’t the overall amount of lead in the product be considered for a proper/true comparison? (Not saying I want to eat off thinly leaded glazed dinnerware, but…). So couldn’t there likely be a lot more overall lead ‘bound’ into/throughout the very large seat cushion vs a smaller amount of OVERALL lead in this dishware comparison?
Thanks for finding this issue and alerting everyone (and the company!)
So would you still recommend medley? Or is there another couch you feel safer?
They are doing a great job. I have never recommended Medley or any other furniture line. I think whenever possible people should go old school and get handmade furniture made by friends and family (or local artists) out of natural materials. If you have to buy something in the interim – Ikea is as good as most of the stuff out there (but it has toxicants too – Antimony in the stuffing, but generally not Lead.)