Are Vinyl Mattress Protectors Unsafe?

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When searching for a new mattress protector, you may see many brands marketing their protectors as “Vinyl-free.”

Concerns over the toxicity of Polyvinyl chloride or PVC (a type of vinyl) have many manufacturers producing plastic products – like waterproof mattress protectors – with alternatives.

So what exactly is the deal with vinyl? Is it harmful and should we avoid buying vinyl products?

We’ve done the research and put together your guide to making healthiest, and safest, mattress protector choice for you and your family.

What Is Vinyl?

Vinyl is a synthetic resin or plastic material. It is one of the most common plastics available and can be found in many products, including waterproof mattress protectors, shower curtains, and even children’s toys.

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What Makes Vinyl Unsafe?

Health warnings are focused around a hazardous type of vinyl called Polyvinyl chloride or (PVC). PVC is known to release toxins into the air and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and other serious chronic diseases.

You’ll know if something has PVC because of its #3 recycling code.

The toxins in PVC contain high levels of chlorine and exposure to such high levels can be hazardous to your health.


PVC also contains a group of chemicals called phthalates to make the plastic flexible. Exposure to phthalates, especially in children, is discouraged as limited studies have linked the chemical to cancer.

Because of the health risks associated with the toxins released by PVC, it is recommended that you avoid purchasing or exposing yourself or a child to products made with the plastic material.

What Are Some PVC Alternatives?

Non-chlorinated types of vinyl are being used as alternatives for PVC in many products. These may include:

  • Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • Polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA)
  • Polyvinyl acetate (PVA)
  • Polyvinyl butyral (PVB)

Many waterproof mattress protectors that are vinyl-free use another plastic material called Polyurethane as a waterproof material.

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What Mattress Protectors Are Vinyl-Free?

The good news is that there are plenty of Vinyl (PVC) – free mattress protectors on the market. Some include the Casper Mattress Protector and the Purple Mattress Protector.


Katie Golde

Katie Golde

Katie previously managed the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news. She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.