Mattress-makers Silent Night and Simba carry out emergency tests after a cancer chemical scare
- Chemical company BASF warns bad batches of chemicals used in foam manufacture shipped.
- Chemical contains unusually high levels of compound suspected of causing cancer.
- Silent Night, Simba, and Eve carry out emergency checks to make sure customers not exposed.
LONDON — UK mattress-makers have shut down production and carried out emergency testing after German chemical giant BASF warned customers it had shipped a bad batch of chemicals that could cause cancer.
Silent Night, the UK’s biggest mattress manufacturer, and startup bed maker Simba both shut down production at factories in Lancashire and Derby this week.
A spokesperson for online mattress retailer Eve Sleep told Business Insider on Thursday afternoon that the company was "checking as a matter of urgency" whether any of its products are affected.
SIMBAEmergency tests confirm that both Silent Night and Simba’s products did not contain any of the suspect chemicals.
The alarm was raised after BASF wrote to 50 of its customers this week warning 7,500 tonnes of a chemical it produced called TDI contained unusually high levels of the compound DCB.
DCB can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and throat and, according to a BASF letter seen by Business Insider, is "suspected of causing cancer."
TDI is mainly used to make elastic foam for mattresses, cushions, and car seats, BASF said in a statement. It is also used to make wood coating for furniture.
Silent Nights, the UK’s biggest mattress manufacturer, told Business Insider it shut down its Lancashire factory for two days this week to carry out emergency testing to see if it was affected, but concluded all was OK.
A spokesperson told BI:
"The UK furniture industry has been affected by a significant European foam supply issue, caused by a quality fluctuation from an ingredients supplier.
"As a precautionary measure, Silentnight Group suspended manufacturing for a short period of time while we investigated the situation.
"Following this thorough investigation, we can confirm that there has been no impact whatsoever on the quality or safety of any products manufactured at our Silentnight Group sites. While we have now resumed manufacturing, there is likely to be some disruption in the short term."
Startup Simba Sleep, which sells memory foam mattress online, told Business Insider it too had carried out checks to ensure its customers are safe.
Production was immediately stopped at Simba’s UK and Polish factories when news of the chemical scare broke and all of Simba’s foams were re-tested. The company concluded it is in the clear.
BASF said that the foam posed no risk for consumers. "BASF has come to the conclusion that, even at the highest load on mattresses with DCB after the accident at the BASF plant in Ludwigshafen, there is no risk for consumers of these products."
James Cox, cofounder of Simba, said: "At Simba, we take our quality control incredibly seriously. We consistently work with our producers to ensure we enforce the very best procedures throughout the manufacturing process.
"As such, we can guarantee that the foam we use to make our products has not been affected by the defective TDI supplied by BASF’s Ludwigshafen factory that has affected the wider industry."
Furniture retailer DFS declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider on the issue.
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