Purple’s attempt to change the focus from their product safety to me is a normal reaction from a company trying to discredit the source.  

This is an exact excerpt from the Reddit post, I simply copied and pasted it.  Please view the link above to see it’s original posting.

EDIT 4: I am not affiliated, or have ever been affiliated with Honest Mattress Reviews, or any mattress company for that matter.

EDIT 3: I have gone through the CTEH Report and have given my analysis in a comment below. The main problem I have with the report is that the actual “toxicity experiment” report is not referenced at the end of the report, even though it is referenced in the body. Also, the data presented looks strange, because there is a 14x discrepancy between two sample points. (To see this, go to page 7 of the report and look at Table 1. The first two numbers from the top of the column labelled “Terracon sample spheres/L” are the airborne concentrations of the powder for two separate mattress tests.) I would appreciate if /u/SavannahTurk could provide me with that report, as it would really help their case.

As someone familiar with nanomaterials and nanotoxicology, I’ve taken some time to look at the articles that you’ve linked in your post.

The other two links (https://onpurple.com/blog/non-toxic-plastic-powder, and https://onpurple.com/blog/studies-show-polyethylene-common-safe) are working for me.


The first link is to Cosmetic Info.

Purple

After reading their Safety tab, the particles in question seem to be microbeads, which can be very different from nanoparticles.


Purple

The second link is to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. After reading the information presented, the safety information does not seem to refer to nanoparticulate polyethylene co-polymer, but rather the bulk polymer. There is a fundamental difference from a toxicology viewpoint between bulk polyethylene and polyethylene nanoparticles.


Purple

The third link is to an EPA air quality guide, which doesn’t seem to reference polyethylene nanoparticles at all.


Purple

The fourth bullet point is referencing this article, entitled “Final report on the safety assessment of polyethylene.” The authors are not listed on the PubMed site, but it seems to be funded by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, which from a brief overview of their website seems to be an independent regulatory body under the FDA. I have gone through my University’s research database library to attempt to retrieve this journal article, but my access was blocked, which indicates that either the article has been revoked or is proprietary. However, the abstract is still available from the PubMed website (linked first in this paragraph). The study seems to do

However, the abstract is still available from the PubMed website (linked first in this paragraph). The study seems to do review of polyethylene, although it is unclear what exact form of it (bulk or nanoparticulate) is reviewed.

Additionally, the study specifically states that, “Specific assays for osteoblast proliferation and collagen synthesis demonstrated a reduction as a function of exposure to Polyethylene particles that is inversely related to particle size.”, meaning in layman’s terms that regular body function is reduced when exposed to smaller polyethylene particles.


Purple

I could not find the article on the fifth bullet point entitled “Practical toxicology of plastic” on google scholar.


Purple

Google search of the sixth bullet point again yields no results except an archived version of the Purple webpage.


Purple

Google search of the seventh bullet point leads to SafePharm, which is the Contract Research Organization (CRO) that Purple seems to use as an independent toxicology laboratory. Both the sixth and seventh studies are still nowhere to be found.


The eight and ninth bullet points result in the same conclusion.


Mid-TL;DR: The majority of Purple’s cited references are from a single independent CRO whose studies cannot be viewed publicly. The studies and/or websites that can be accessed either do not provide information on NANOPARTICULATE polyethylene, or have stated that small particles of polyethylene produce adverse effects in assays for osteoblast proliferation and and collagen synthesis. NO EVIDENCE OF INHALATION STUDIES ARE PRESENT IN THE ABSTRACT.

I’m going to attempt to bring all of this scientific jargon to a level where the majority of consumers can understand it, so please bear with me if I make some simplifications, and please point out any errors if you spot them.

First: Microbeads and nanoparticles are not the same from a toxicology standpoint. These terms to begin with are poorly defined and their labelling is not regulated by current FDA standards. From a quick Wikipedia search, a microbead in the cosmetics industry is defined as a bead which must be less than 5 mm in their largest dimension. This means that microbeads could be even smaller than this, but they cannot be larger than 5 mm in diameter. The safety information given by Purple’s first to third bullet points references either bulk polyethylene or polyethylene microbeads. These are fundamentally different from nanoparticles. Nanoparticles typically range from a few nanometers in diameter to a micron, and sometimes particles with diameters of 100 microns can be considered. These particles behave differently from particles on the millimeter scale: due to the fact that they are so small, their ability to stick to surfaces is exponentially greater than that of a microbead, meaning that they can stick far more easily to the surface of lungs than a microbead would. They are also able to pass through membranes far more easily than a microbead would, which means that their ability to be absorbed into the alveolar networks is increased compared to micron-particle powders.

I would strongly invite Purple to provide us with a particle size distribution of their powder – that is, a graph that shows the maximum and minimum size of the particles in their powder, and how much of each sized particles there are. This data can be in the form of a Dynamic Light Scattering report, or from images taken with an Electron Microscope. This is crucial to determining whether or not the powder is safe to inhale or not.

EDIT: Their representative has stated that the average size of their particles is 1.045 microns. This is well within the range of nanoparticulate matter and should be considered under strictly separate safety guidelines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotoxicology

Second: It has been mentioned in the “Lack of Basis for Health Concerns” section of that Purple webpage that the plastic is in fact a polyethylene COPOLYMER, not simply a polyethylene polymer. Effectively, this means that the polymer contains ethylene building blocks, but it can also contain ANY OTHER MONOMER in its composition. In a nutshell, a copolymer is a polymer that contains two or more DIFFERENT monomer building blocks that are chained together in some sort of order (which can be random). For example, if I have monomers A and B, a copolymer of the two monomers could be ABBBBBAAAAAABABABABABABABAABA. A pure polyethylene polymer, where ethylene = C, would look like CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC. Essentially, any data that applies to a polyethylene polymer in terms of safety may not be valid for a polyethylene copolymer.

It is unlikely that Purple will indulge their formula, as is their right. However, even information on the size of the polymer or the pendant groups of the polymer would be helpful in determining the toxicity of the material. For now, all of the safety data that has been provided in those links is potentially invalid.

Third: Assuming that this plastic powder is a nanoparticulate powder, there comes the question of what chemicals were used in its synthesis. Polyethylene bulk polymer is very different from nanoparticle polyethylene in their synthesis methods. Typically, if you want spherical nanoparticle polymers, you would resort to a variety of methods, which might include things like Emulsion Polymerization where chemicals such as surfactants can come into play. Depending on how well Purple purifies their polymer product, residues of the chemical initiators, quenchers, and surfactants could be present in the plastic powder.

Due to this, I would invite Purple to provide Certificates of Authenticity (CoAs) of their materials so that we may know how pure their product is.

Final TL;DR: The safety information provided by Purple on their webpage does not deal with nanoparticulate polyethylene polymer, which is fundamentally different from microbead polyethylene polymer. Purple needs to confirm to us that their particles are indeed in the upper micron to millimeter range, otherwise none of their safety information applies.

POST EDIT 3 TL;DR: Purple’s plastic powder is indeed in the nanoparticulate range. The CTEH Report that was linked to me has weird data and the actual toxicology experiment reference is MISSING. We don’t know how safe this powder is.

Edit 2: Thanks for the reddit gold kind strangers! I will try to go through the CTEH report that was linked to me as soon as I can!

[–]ThealtenHeinder 166 points 4 days ago

I have looked through the CTEH report and unfortunately the information given is somewhat lacking. I will try to present my interpretation as objectively as possible, but do realize that multiple interpretations of the report would be better.

The first two sections of the report deal with the qualifications and scope of the author of the report and the general uses of polyethylene in general. You can effectively skip over these two sections since the polyethylene in question should be treated differently from common polyethylene, so it is effectively unrelated.

The first point of the report where I spot a problem is the fact that it states, ” It is in the form of ultra-fine, spherically shaped particles that are typically between 5 and 20 micrometers (µm, or one millionth of a meter) in diameter.” However, their representative stated that the particles in fact have an average size of 1.045 µm.

DISCLAIMER: THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IS A LOGICAL SPECULATION

The disparity of the particle sizes is not that big; it doesn’t exceed an order of magnitude. However, I’m confused as to why their representative claimed that the particles were smaller than they supposedly are in the report. Smaller particles are generally more dangerous, so it would be better to claim larger sized particles. This leads me to believe that their representative is in fact correct, but leaves me confused as to why the report is claiming otherwise. /end of logical speculation

The next section basically states that because there are no studies on the safety of their specific copolymer of polyethylene, they have opted to use regular polyethylene toxicological studies instead. However, in my main post, I have already established that nanoparticulate polyethylene copolymer should be treated differently than regular polyethylene from a toxicological standpoint. But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt for a second and assume they can be treated the same.

The studies referenced were done by SafePharm Laboratories. It should be noted that the titles of these reports indicate that the studies done were acute toxicity tests. The term “acute” means short or one-off exposure. However, it is not outside the realm of possibility that consumers of the Purple mattress will experience chronic exposure, which is a different matter altogether. To put this in perspective, if I inhale some cigarette smoke from someone on the street one day, I probably won’t get ill from that. However, if I’m inhaling that same cigarette smoke every day for 6-10 hours while I sleep, that’s an entirely different story. So what I’m going to conclude here is that, no, I don’t know whether or not the chronic exposure of their “plastic powder” is safe or not. It could very well be safe, but it could also be harmful over the course of the lifetime of the mattress (10 years). And remember, this was giving them the benefit of the doubt; regular polyethylene and nanoparticulate polyethylene are different, so on top of the fact that these tests are only acute exposure tests, they are done with regular polyethylene, not Purple’s special powder.

The next section of the report basically says that because there is a lack of toxicological information on Purple’s plastic powder, they are using general Particulate Matter safety information instead. This is actually fine if you are looking at the physical hazards of the powder and not the chemical interaction. The polymer’s structure suggests that it wouldn’t be very reactive with biological matter anyways, so physical hazard is really where I would be concerned. The big takeaway from this section is that the EPA guidelines say you can’t have more than 35 µg/m3 of PM 2.5, or Particulate Matter that is average 2.5 µm.

However, there are two major problems that arise from the next section. The first problem is that the “experimental data” is taken from a report by Terracon Consultants, but the study done by them is not referenced. They “reference” this report in the body of this section, but at the end of the report the reference is entirely missing. This means that I have no way of knowing how the study was done, what parameters were tested, or how they arrived at the numbers given in Table 1 of the report. This is a huge unknown.

Aside from the fact that the source of the data is missing, let’s look at the presented data as is. In their analysis, they take the average sphere diameter, and then calculate the volume of the sphere from that. They then multiply that volume by a density of the polyethylene copolymer given by Purple (0.952 g/cm3) to find the average mass of each particle. Finally, they multiply that by the number of particles per volume which is given by the Terracon report to find the mass concentration of particles.

Here’s where things get weird. In the data table, there are apparently two mattresses being tested. In the first two rows, the data under “Terracon sample spheres/L” for “Unpacking Mattress #1” vs. “Unpacking Mattress #2” are 1,509.97 and 20,854.7 respectively. That is nearly a 14x difference between the two mattresses! Why is this? Did they test them differently? Does that mean that unpacking the mattress in certain ways causes more of the powder to be released? Unfortunately, the method of the experiment is in that Terracon report that wasn’t referenced, so I don’t know.

To illustrate how big of an issue this uncertainty is, let’s say that the 20,854.7 number was multiplied by 14 (the factor between Mattress #1 and #2), resulting in a concentration of 291,965.8 spheres per liter. Going through their math, assuming the particle size was the same as in the first row, this results in a final mass concentration of 178.1 µg/m3. That is 5x more than the allowed EPA limit. Of course, we have no way of knowing this, since the methodology of the report is not there, and the data might very well be cherry picked to present a good result.

The rest of the report deals with analyzing the data to find that the concentrations of the plastic powder are below EPA limits, and then it goes into a section about why the HMR guy was not right.

TL;DR: Studies referenced in the report refer to short-term exposure and not long-term exposure. More importantly, the data used in their calculations IS NOT REFERENCED, and might be cherry picked to present a good result.

To the first part, yes. Smaller particles tend to be dangerous like that. However, carbon nanotubes can’t quite be compared to Purple’s powder. The main reason is that their shapes are different. See, carbon nanotubes have a high aspect ratio – that is, they are long and stick-like, instead of being spherical. Because of this, it’s difficult for your immune cells to engulf them because of the shape. This is actually why asbestos is dangerous. Of course, this all depends on both the size and the shape, so I can’t make any snap judgements there.

Right now though, the main thing that we’re missing from Purple is the dosage of their powder. Even if immune cells can remove their powder particles, if there’s too much of it, your body might not be able to keep up with it.

I just wanted to clarify that I was not attempting to shift goalposts; my goal remains the same and that is to find out whether their material is truly dangerous or not.

In my initial post, I described the difference between microbeads and nanoparticles. Microbeads is apparently a term used by the cosmetic industry to refer to particles in the range of mm diameters. Nanoparticles is a general term used by scientists to refer to particles in the nano and micron scales. Some scientists will use this term in the strictest of definitions, where it refers to particles under 100 nm. However, nanotechnology still deals with particles on a micron scale.

In their response, the CTEH scientist was disputing my use of the word “nanoparticle”, saying that it does not apply to their particles because technically, their particles have an average size of 1 micron, which is outside of the strict regime for nanoparticles. I responded by saying that I was using this term to refer to the fact that their particles are not on the same property scale as microbeads, which are 3 orders of magnitude larger than their product (1000x larger). The applicable properties of small particles (referred to as “nanoparticles”) still applies to their product.

Regardless of how you wish to define nanoparticles, the more important point is that their Purple powder lies in a size regime where they could reach deep-lung. This was stated by Purple themselves in their CTEH report. Honestly, the main point is that we have to treat Purple’s powder with a different set of standards than we do with cosmetic microbeads or bulk polyethylene, because they have different physical and chemical properties due to their size.

I just wanted to clarify that I was not attempting to shift goalposts; my goal remains the same and that is to find out whether their material is truly dangerous or not.

In my initial post, I described the difference between microbeads and nanoparticles. Microbeads is apparently a term used by the cosmetic industry to refer to particles in the range of mm diameters. Nanoparticles is a general term used by scientists to refer to particles in the nano and micron scales. Some scientists will use this term in the strictest of definitions, where it refers to particles under 100 nm. However, nanotechnology still deals with particles on a micron scale.

In their response, the CTEH scientist was disputing my use of the word “nanoparticle”, saying that it does not apply to their particles because technically, their particles have an average size of 1 micron, which is outside of the strict regime for nanoparticles. I responded by saying that I was using this term to refer to the fact that their particles are not on the same property scale as microbeads, which are 3 orders of magnitude larger than their product (1000x larger). The applicable properties of small particles (referred to as “nanoparticles”) still applies to their product.

Regardless of how you wish to define nanoparticles, the more important point is that their Purple powder lies in a size regime where they could reach deep-lung. This was stated by Purple themselves in their CTEH report. Honestly, the main point is that we have to treat Purple’s powder with a different set of standards than we do with cosmetic microbeads or bulk polyethylene, because they have different physical and chemical properties due to their size.

If you believe in the right to a public opinion, I ask that you, please click the share button above.

March 9, 2017, Honest Reviews formally filed the following motion by way of our Legal Representation lead by Mr. Marc Randazza, Mr. Gill Sperlein, Mr. Andy McCullough, Mr. Jay Wolman, and Mr. Trey Rothell.

As there is still a Federal Temporary Restraining Order in effect we are not able to answer any specific questions submitted via social media or email at this time.

As our platform, Honest Reviews operates under full transparency we’ve elected to publish all publically available documents.

First, you will find the active Temporary Restraining Order that’s in full effect against Honest Reviews.

Below that you will see our motion, supporting exhibits, 3rd party articles, and most important the report prepared by world renowned leading Dr. John Godleski.  We highly recommend you read his CV and as equally important his preliminary findings regarding Purple’s use of powdered Microspheres Polyethylene.

Click On Each PDF Below To View In Their Entirety.

Motion Filed On Behalf Of Honest Reviews

028 – Motion to Dissolve and Stay.pdf – 1.32 MB

Motion File By Honest Reviews, LLC

028-2 – Exhibit 2 – Polyethylene.pdf – 1.11 MB

“Polyethylene” The Essential Chemical Industry Online

028-3 – Exhibit 3 – Article.pdf – 1.31 MB

David Perry | “Purple’s clever egg test racks up online views, wins fans” – Furniture Today (Mar. 14, 2016)

028-4 – Exhibit 4 – Article.pdf – 596.91 KB

“Powder used in Purple mattress?” – THE MATTRESS UNDERGROUND (Jun. 30, 2016)

028-5 – Exhibit 5 – Forum.pdf – 4.9 MB

“GhostBed vs Purple Mattress Review” – MEMORY FOAM TALK

028-6 – Exhibit 6 – Article.pdf – 1.52 MB

“Purple Mattress Unboxing” – SLEEPOPOLIS (Feb. 1, 2016)

028-7 – Exhibit 7 – Article.pdf – 2.02 MB

Holly Fletcher | “Is the #ColorRun Hazardous to Your Health” (May 8, 2014)

028-8 – Exhibit 8 – Article.pdf – 1.21 MB

Tim Cushing | “Utah Judge Won’t Let The Constitution Get In The Way Of A Little Prior Restraint” – TECHDIRT (Mar. 6, 2017)

029 – Rothell Declaration.pdf – 302.66 KB

DECLARATION OF TREY A. ROTHELL IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS HONEST REVIEWS, LLC AND RYAN MONAHAN’S EMERGENCY MOTION TO STAY AND DISSOLVE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

029-002 – Exhibit B – Webpage.pdf – 10.04 MB

“Purple Launches the World’s First Bamboo Based Ultra-Stretchy Sheets” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-005 – Exhibit E – Webpage.pdf – 17.62 MB

“Take A Tour Through Purple’s Mattress Factory In Utah”- HonestMattressReviews.com

029-006 – Exhibit F – Webpage.pdf – 7.65 MB

“Purple Pillow Raises $2,640,852 On KickStarter” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-007 – Exhibit G – Webpage.pdf – 8.61 MB

“Purple Pillow Raises over $2M Dollars On KickStarter” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-008 – Exhibit H – Webpage.pdf – 5.78 MB

“Only 70 Hours Left to Back the Purple Pillow KickStarter Campaign!” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-009 – Exhibit I – Webpage.pdf – 6.9 MB

“Update – Purple Mattress Raises over $1M on Kickstarter and Still Has 14 Days Left” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-010 – Exhibit J – Webpage.pdf – 7.38 MB

“With 23 Days to Go Purple Pillow Has Raised over 639K on KickStarter” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-011 – Exhibit K – Webpage.pdf – 10.04 MB

“Harmon Brothers, The Creative Geniuses Named Sales & Marketer of the Year” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-012 – Exhibit L – Webpage.pdf – 6.33 MB

“We Found the Real ‘Goldilocks’ from the Raw Egg Test Video” – HonestMattressReviews.com

029-013 – Exhibit M – Webpage.pdf – 2.87 MB

Screen-capture of YouTube video posted on Plaintiff’s webpage

029-014 – Exhibit N – Webpage.pdf – 13.24 MB

Honest Reviews Company Homepage

029-015 – Exhibit O – Webpage.pdf – 5.51 MB

Honest Mattress Reviews Homepage

030 – Monahan Declaration.pdf – 144.12 KB

DECLARATION OF RYAN MONAHAN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS HONEST REVIEWS, LLC AND RYAN MONAHAN’S EMERGENCY MOTION TO STAY TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

030-1 – Images.pdf – 2.43 MB

Images of Purple Mattress

031-2 – Mattress Reviews.pdf – 2.11 MB

Mattress Reviews <honestmattressreviews.com>

031-1 – Blank.pdf – 38.02 KB

Intentionally Omitted

What Do You Think? Share Your Opinion

Join The Cause. Share The Truth.

I am trying to raise a legal defense fund to protect the rights to provide consumer opinions.

As a small review platform, I generate on average less than $50 per day from Google AdSense;  my website’s only source of monetization.

Any dollar raised over and above the cost to defend my case will be 100% donated to the Make A Wish Foundation.

As the son of a decorated deceased Vietnam Veteran, I launched Honest Reviews Platform around one core question,“What’s best for consumers?”

If you believe in the right to a public opinion, I ask that you, please click the share button above.

Load More By honest mattress reviews
Load More In Industry Talk
Comments are closed.