Bed Bugs & Kidney Beans

Did you know that even though bedbugs keep evolving resistance to nasty pesticides, there is one thing that can stop them in their tracks?

bedbug

Kidney bean leaves… apparently bed bugs get trapped by the microscopic hook-shaped hairs on the bean leaves, stopping the bugs from making it to your bed or furniture. (Listen to the Scientific American podcast here)

And even though scientists made a synthetic version of the kidney bean leaf, the synthetic leaf just trips the bugs up for a minute, instead of actually stopping the bugs like their natural counterpart does.

The bad news is that the leaves work best when they’re fresh, so those of us without a kidney bean plant in our backyards are still going to have to wait until we figure out a natural way to stop bed bugs.

Fortunately, bed bugs are repelled by natural rubber, which is the main ingredient in most of Lifekind’s organic mattresses.  And for those of you who don’t yet have a natural rubber mattress, or have a sensitivity to natural rubber, we have the organic cotton bed bug and dust mite barrier cover.

dust mite barrier cover

 

This organic cotton cover is made of tightly woven organic cotton that zips on over your mattress and prevents bed bugs and dust mites from penetrating the fabric, therefore protecting your mattress from nasty little critters.  The dust mite barrier covers are 100%-certified organic cotton and are machine washable.  Not only are they available in many different sizes to fit all mattresses, but we also make them for pillows, too.

The bed bug and dust mite barrier cover is, hands down, our best-selling item.  Not only do our Lifekind customers sleep better knowing their mattresses are protected, but the barrier covers have a second use:  they keep everything clean!  Our customers, even those who have natural rubber mattresses and pillows, swear by our barrier covers to protect their bedding from spills and stains. Double bonus, right?

GOT GOTS? The Logo to Look For on Cotton Products

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By now it’s clear to most Americans that organic food is more healthful, and organic farming practices are safer for the Earth than conventional methods. When we shop organic it’s always comforting to see third-party organic certifications, because “natural” can mean whatever the manufacturer would like it to. If a food product is labeled “organic,” however, it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients.

Soft, breathable cotton — our favorite textile to wear and wrap up in bed with — has dirty secrets that have long gone unchecked, a fact about which most of America has no idea. Cotton is considered the world’s most toxic crop. (Check out the approximately 20 million results for “toxic cotton” on Google.)

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Organic cotton, like organic food, uses less water, doesn’t poison the soil and its farmers, and isn’t treated with toxic chemical finishing agents. In the U.S., the claim “organic” on textiles is protected by the government. Only textiles labeled with a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) logo can be claimed as organic.

Check out this simple GOTS video to learn more:

Below are some resources to help you learn about the toxic cotton industry.

Let’s start a clean cotton revolution!

How to get rid of chemicals in fabrics (Hint: trick question)

Chemical cotton 

Fact sheet on U.S. cotton subsidies and production

FTC Issues Warning About Deceptive Certifications

In this day and age, there’s so much information available that it can almost be detrimental when trying to make an informed decision. This is especially evident in the mattress world womens new balance 574
. The marketplace has become a “Wild West” full of claims, some of which the FTC has found alarming.

In an effort to offer consumers more transparency (and less greenwashing), the FTC has warned 32 businesses and five certifiers that certain claims, logos, and certifications lack information and miss the mark in complying with the FTC’s environmental marketing requirements.

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Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explains: “… if seals’ claims are broader than the products’ benefits, they can deceive people new balance cheap online
. We are holding companies accountable for their green claims.” The blog post,
Performing Seals, produced by the FTC, communicates to marketers what a legitimate claim is and what it is not.

If this has left you feeling a bit defeated, you’re not alone. But there’s hope! The FTC publishes its Green Guides to help consumers navigate through the confusion of endless claims and greenwashing.

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For a comprehensive guide to legitimate third-party certifications organic-mattress standards, check out Lifekind’s Purity Promise guarantee.

Be well and sleep safe!

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8 Misleading Claims about Organic Mattresses – Is Your Mattress Certified Organic?

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Misleading Claim #1: Merchants using organic logos, or statements that use the word “organic,” to describe their mattresses as “organic” or partially “organic.”
Incorrect Because: Under USDA National Organic Program regulations (USDA/NOP), there are no such categories. There is only “certified organic.”

Misleading Claim #2: Merchants claiming that since they use the same organic materials that are used in certified organic mattresses, why pay more?
Incorrect Because: Without submitting to an independent third-party audit, a consumer has no assurance that whatever organic component is claimed to be used was actually used in making a mattress.

Misleading Claim #3: Merchants claiming that since the materials they use are the same as those used by true organic manufacturers, what’s the difference?
Incorrect Because: Fast food and fine dining can include the same ingredients, but the outcomes are quite different—it’s about quality and purity, not just materials.

Misleading Claim #4: Merchants using someone else’s certification to infer it is their own, but somehow doesn’t have their name on it for a string of reasons.
Incorrect Because: USDA certification certificates are not transferable.

Misleading Claim #5: Merchants claiming their mattresses are “chemical free.”
Incorrect Because: This is scientifically impossible.

Misleading Claim #6: Merchants claiming their mattresses are “nontoxic.”
Incorrect Because: This is also scientifically impossible.

Misleading Claim #7: Merchants claiming their mattresses are “free of volatile organic compounds (VOCS)” or have no harmful outgassing.
Incorrect Because: This is also scientifically impossible, and without an independentUL/GREENGUARD™ or similar test for finished-product emissions, no one can possibly know exact outgassing levels.

Misleading Claim #8: Merchants claiming that their components have been tested for the presence of a long list of chemicals and that none were found.
Incorrect Because: What this means is that the mattress components may have been tested at one point, early in the process, by what is known as a “presence” test. True, these chemicals may not have been present at that time, but it gives absolutely no information as to what is actually emitting from the finished mattress. That is a consumer assurance UL/GREENGUARD™ testing provides.

Find out if a mattress is in fact listed on the certifier’s website.

Note: The name of the manufacturer or retailer must be entered precisely, such as “Organic Mattresses, Inc.”

http://www.global-standard.org/public-database/search.html

http://certification.controlunion.com/certified_companies_and_products.aspx

 

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FTC cracks down on “green” claims

Gratifying news today for advocates of truth in advertising: The FTC has blown the whistle on three companies for making false organic claims. The federal agency, which oversees advertising claims, has filed suit with Ecobaby, Essentia, and Southern California-based online retailer Relief-Mart for falsely asserting that their products are “VOC-free,” “chemical-free,” and contain “no chemical offgassing.” In addition, Ecobaby has been barred by the FTC from making false claims about third-party certifications after making up a fictitious organization and claiming to have their mattresses certified by it.

Read the full story at the FTC’s website.

Get up to date on Lifekind’s certifications here.

Is an organic mattress worth the money – A Peek Inside Mattresses

It’s no secret that Lifekind® is big on purity. It’s also no secret that other mattress makers claim to be big on purity too, so when consumers are searching for the purest mattress they can find, it quickly becomes a matter of sleuthing out the truth.

From the outside, most mattresses look about the same. I totally understand why people will see a mattress that claims to be “natural” or “organic” for a fraction of what a Lifekind mattress costs, and they purchase it.

Naturally, comfort is a big part of why people purchase the mattresses they do. But if you’ve found Lifekind, you’re most likely also interested in what goes into making our certified organic mattresses — what you will be sleeping on for the next 20 years. Let’s dig a little deeper and look inside a few different mattresses.

This first picture (below) shows a conventional synthetic foam rubber mattress, much like the ones you will find in mattress showrooms around the world. It looks pretty on the outside, nice and fluffy, and just begs you to climb into bed.

ConventionalMattressInterior

But once you look inside, you see something completely different.

The first layer is the cover material. Then there are several layers of conventional synthetic foam (notorious for offgassing, not to mention the petroleum it contains and the hardship it puts on the Earth to produce), bleached and highly processed cotton, more foam, and then a base layer that is made from cotton scraps.

CompetitorMattressInterior

This second picture is of a popular “organic” mattress brand that specializes in crib mattresses. Underneath the “food-grade” polyethylene mattress cover (made entirely from petrochemicals), you can see bleached cotton. The blue layer is a Tyvek-like material. Then cotton that is of an unknown grade (the specks you see in there are debris – stems from the cotton plant, along with other unknown detritus), then a plastic mesh layer. The cotton filling they use is most likely organic, but other than that, this mattress does not contain organic materials. Yet it is selling every day because the manufacturer touts the benefits of its “organic” mattresses, misleading consumers into believing that they are purchasing a pure, organic mattress without offering any clue about what is going on inside the mattress.  Naturally, most consumers won’t cut open a new mattress, so there is no way for them to know.

The third picture shows the inside of a GOTS-certified organic Lifekind mattress.  Looking at the layers from the top down, you can see our organic quilting, which includes only certified organic wool and organic cotton cover material. Sandwiched between layers of certified organic cotton canvas is high-quality, certified organic cotton padding. No silica, Tyvek, or other synthetic, non-organic materials are included in its construction.  The innersprings used in the mattress are made of untreated virgin steel, wrapped in four layers of certified organic cotton.

LifekindMattressInterior

 

Textile Truth: A Parent’s Guide

{re-blog from OMI}

We are an organic company, so using organic products is a no-brainer for us.  But we have to remember that not everyone has the same immersion into the world of organics, and new parents need to know when it is essential to choose organic products.

This great info-graphic,  put together by our friends at Harmony Art, is a great visual aid for new parents, and puts the “how” and “why” of buying organic for your baby into an easy-to-digest graphic that takes away the guessing game:

TextileTruthsBaby

To read about how this piece came together, be sure to check out Harmony Art’s blog.

Positive Change Reduces Methyl Bromide Use

 

After reading an article from one of our local news services, I was inspired to share what appears to be a positive change about alternatives to using the highly controversial chemical methyl bromide for fumigating imported goods.

I was happy to learn that one alternative to the use of methyl bromide and other fumigants when importing fruits and vegetables is a technique called “controlled atmospheres,” which regulates temperature and atmosphere levels inside sealed shipping containers. Controlled-atmosphere technology is relatively inexpensive, highly effective, environmentally benign, and even improves the quality of shipped produce.

Methyl bromide (MeBr) is an odorless, colorless gas used as a soil fumigant and structural fumigant to control agricultural pests, and is the most widely used fumigant for quarantine purposes. Here at Lifekind we are well aware of the dangers of methyl bromide, and it’s one of the reasons why we do not import our cotton and wool from overseas. Most people do not realize that the cargo ships transporting raw materials are routinely fumigated with dangerous chemicals like methyl bromide.

There is confirmed scientific proof that the use of methyl bromide is one of the culprits contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, and after recent damage to the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, global warming is once again in the forefront of our national discussion. It’s important for people to know how much of an impact the emissions of methyl bromide have on the ozone layer. The ozone acts as a shield protecting life on Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays, which can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and cataracts. The rays can also harm marine life, and in the past two years, ozone holes larger than Europe have opened over the Antarctic Ocean.

I definitely recommend you read the article to learn about the changes that are helping to combat planetary ozone depletion.

 

Thirteen Scary Facts about Conventional Mattresses

It makes sense that an organic mattress would use organic cotton, but beyond that, most people may not be aware of many reasons that organic mattresses really are so much better than conventional mattresses. Lucky for you, we are experts in this area, and can break it down for you.

Warning: If you’re unsettled by things that are creepy, crawly, or contaminated, do not read before going to bed!


1. Bed bugs, dust mites, mold, and germs love your mattress
Bed-bugs and dust mites love to live in the dank, dark inside of a mattress online new balance shoes
. The environment also provides the perfect environment for molds & fungi to thrive in, along with bacteria, viruses, and contagious diseases. Because conventional mattresses are typically made with man-made materials like polyurethane foam, they don’t have the inherent dust-mite resistance that is a feature of the 100%-natural rubber latex used in the organic mattresses we make at Lifekind.

2.Your new mattress may not be new
Conventional mattresses can be sold, used, returned, and then resold as “factory seconds” or “refurbished.”  Even when they are “sterilized” with chemicals, many nasty things can be left behind.  A Dateline investigative report found bed bugs in all stages of life and death, blood, numerous forms of fungi and mold, and occasional traces of urine and fecal matter in refurbished mattresses that were in the same factory and sales-floors as new mattresses old new balance shoes
.  Only 26 states have laws on selling refurbished mattresses, and the government isn’t setting a standard on proper sterilization, which means it’s up to the mattress builder to determine whether or not a mattress is sterilized.  In the Dateline report, all of the mattresses tested were contaminated.

3. It’s pumped full of hazardous chemicals
Even if your mattress is brand new and uncontaminated, you’re not in the clear yet.  Did you realize that formaldehyde and boric acid are just two of the chemicals commonly used in the manufacture of conventional mattresses?  When Walt Bader, our CEO, was writing his book Toxic Bedrooms, he had a memory foam mattress tested by an independent lab and it emitted 61 VOC chemicals?  The chemicals used in your new mattress can aggravate allergies, cause respiratory irritation or bronchitis, affect your hormone levels, and even limit the amount of oxygen your body is able to absorb. Some chemicals are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxins, with warning labels advising “Caution – do not inhale,” “Use in a well-ventilated area,” “Can cause irritation,” or “Avoid contact with skin.”

4.   It can adversely affect the quality of your sleep and health
Cellular repair, rejuvenation, growth and healing all take place while you sleep. The chemicals that are used in the manufacture of conventional mattresses can cause all kinds of discomfort, and even illness. The range of symptoms can be as varied as the people affected, but one thing is for sure: If you’re sleeping on a toxic mattress, you’re not experiencing optimal health. For more details about the effects of sleeping on a toxic mattress, check out chem-tox.com

5. The bed you sleep in can harm future generations through inherited toxicity
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones that are totally unaffected and have children who sleep well without allergies or complaints, you can be certain that your grandchildren will show detectable amounts of harmful chemicals – even before birth!  Scientists have confirmed that chemical fire retardants, such as those used in conventional mattresses, have been measured in pregnant mothers and passed through the placenta to their unborn babies air max cheap shoes
.  The danger of these chemicals is that they build up and remain in fatty tissue for years, waiting to be shared with your growing baby. Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, there’s no way to know how three generations of built-up toxic chemicals will affect your grandchildren.

6. Suspected to contribute to SIDS
A toxic crib mattress is definitely not what you want your brand new baby to start life on. Many of the chemicals used to manufacture crib mattresses, including chemical flame-retardants, are suspected to contribute to SIDS – a logical assumption. Taking into consideration that babies have less mass overall, breathe faster, sleep more, and can’t communicate sources of irritation except by crying, they are by default more sensitive to toxic chemicals. Although research supporting this fact is shunned in general by the mattress and medical communities, common sense and anecdotal evidence from astute parents should not be ignored.  Besides, how many mothers wouldn’t rather be safe than sorry?

7.  Not actually built to last…
It only makes sense that in order to stay in business, a company must sell more product.  Unfortunately, many mattress manufacturers prey on their best customers by employing a trick called “built in obsolescence”.  They basically build a product that is meant to wear out at a certain time interval (often using cheaper materials that will break down more quickly), which forces the customer to pay good money to purchase another mattress from them. (So how do we stay in business?  We focus our marketing on consumers that don’t yet know the benefits of organic mattresses, and we use the best salespeople on the planet: customers who love their organic mattress are always sending their friends and family our way!)

8.  …Except that they last FOR-EV-ER
And not in the “super plush and comfy for a hundred years” kind of forever (see Scary Fact #7), but they will last forever in our landfills.  Even with mattress recycling being fairly effective, there are only 11 mattress recycling facilities in the entire country cheap white nike air max
.  This means that most mattresses end up in the landfills (to the tune of 10 million mattresses a year!)  The polyurethane foams and synthetic materials and fibers that are used in the construction of conventional mattresses are not biodegradable, which means that they will be polluting our Earth for generations to come.

9. Damaging to our natural resources
Commercially grown cotton is a huge offender in polluting the natural world, as are the toxic components used in polyurethane foam and the petrochemical, plastic-based fillers commonly found in, and on, conventional mattresses.  Many people are unaware that cotton is treated with substances such as formaldehyde even before flame retardants come into play, not to mention the harm that GMO crops and pesticides cause the environment.  The production and processing of conventional products is known to cause harm to the environment, and is thought to contribute to global warming.

10. The chemicals can cause irreparable harm to wildlife
The chemicals used in conventional mattress construction that can harm human health are also harmful to wildlife and pets.  Many people recall how the harmful pesticide DDT was an effective bug killer, but that it was also responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds and fish that ate the poisoned bugs, prior to being banned in the 70s.  Clearly our precious wildlife doesn’t have the option to choose organic, nor do they have the option to relocate beyond nature.

11.  Built with sweatshop labor and shipped halfway across the world
Laborers in third world countries build thousands of mattresses daily, working for wages that are a fraction of what a U.S.-based company, paying fair wages, pays their workers.  The finished mattresses are then shipped halfway across the world, subject to fumigation, and sold in American stores.  Basic economics has taught us that price is a huge reason why we choose to purchase an item in the first place, so companies will go to great lengths to make the cheapest product possible.  More often than not, products imported from overseas are sold for a fraction of what a U.S.-based company paying fair wages is able to sell its products for, which is great for the guy profiting off of these mattresses. Even when mattresses are made in the U.S., it’s important to be sure the raw materials are U.S.-grown also – otherwise you’re missing a huge opportunity to improve your own economy.

12.  Every “vote” for conventional mattresses perpetuates the problem
Beyond economics and financial support, it’s important to realize that every dollar spent makes a difference. You wouldn’t cast a ballot in favor of increasing pollution, or to support foreign labor or poor health. However, that’s what happens when you vote with your dollars and purchase mattresses made with conventional methods new balance casual shoes
.  Every dollar that goes towards the conventional mattress industry encourages their practices, strengthens their lobbying power and keeps the public uninformed and in a potentially dangerous position.  Every time a consumer selects a more healthful choice, we can chip away at the old-boys club that is the mattress industry.

13. We don’t know what we don’t know…
Even all of this information is just the tip of the iceberg, a scattered few facts that reflect the limited tests and research that have been done concerning conventional mattresses.  Most of the chemicals used have been deemed safe by default, since they are already in products, but lack the research to show what the long-term or more immediate effects are.  Mattresses are today, where cigarettes were 50 years ago.  As our knowledge increases about the chemicals used in conventional mattresses, we are sure to learn even more dangerous effects they could have on consumers.

It’s a scary thought that your mattress, which should be a safe-haven in your home, could actually be bad for you.

Washed Away

Imagine seeing an advertisement in the paper for a new Corvette, at the cost of a generic sedan. Pretty exciting, right? Like most people, you’d probably be tempted to go check it out. When you arrive at the car lot, however, the salesperson shows you what actually appears to be a shiny new Honda Civic. While there’s nothing wrong with a Civic, it certainly isn’t comparable to a Corvette. This particular Civic has Corvette brake lights, and is therefore being advertised as “Corvette Certified.” You, my disappointed friend, have just been a victim of carwashing.

Ok, I made that term up. Greenwashing, however, a similar concept that’s frighteningly popular in the mattress world, is very real.

As a Product Specialist, part of my job is to research and be informed about our competition so I can better assist customers who have questions about those companies and how they compare with Lifekind. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no one else who does what Lifekind does. There are imitators and companies that come close, along with those who blatantly lie to make themselves look like they come close, but I wouldn’t want to trust “close imitation” or “blatant lies” with my sleep.

As a consumer, it can be daunting to sift through the marketing baloney and find the real thing. There are “organic” mattress companies who post logos of trusted certifiers on their website because one of the many ingredients they use might pass that standard, even though the final product does not. Others display logos of “certifiers” that in fact do no such thing, but are merely membership organizations. (I’ve seen, for instance, companies claiming to be “National Geographic Certified,” even though National Geographic is merely the parent company for The Green Guide, a consumer organization that doesn’t certify materials, finished products, or anything else.)

I’m personally vexed by companies that make what I like to call “natural-lite” products, such as the “20% natural-core” mattress I saw advertised the other day. While it’s commendable that someone is making a product with 20% natural ingredients, what exactly is the other 80% made of?

Be cautious and ask questions. I have seen companies use a GOTS logo to infer that their manufacturing plants and products are GOTS certified, when in fact just one raw material component is able to boast GOTS certification. GOTS certification for a facility is not obtained easily; they are very, very strict about their standards, and they conduct random inspections, so there is virtually no room for error. We conduct business in accordance with their standards because we want to be able to show that we make the purest mattress, not that it’s just our opinion that we make the purest mattress.

Many companies claim to support American industry, but outsource the production of anywhere from one to all of their raw materials to other countries. This not only takes away potential green American jobs, but also risks contamination of the raw materials by fumigation when they are imported to the U.S. Add this to the uncertainty about organic standards from country to country, and there is ample room for doubt in exactly how pure outsourced materials really are.

On a similar note, beware of companies that use words like “Organic” or “Natural” in their company names to make them seem purer than they actually are. Without certification to back up the name, it’s simply the name of a company, like Bob’s Mattress Factory.

The moral of this story is to look before you leap into that new bed. Ask the tough questions of companies who want your business. Ask where their raw materials come from, who certifies them, and what has been added. Ask about their manufacturing processes and who certifies the final product.

Ask as many questions as you can, because an educated consumer base is the best defense against greenwashing.