Searching for the most comfortable mattress can be super challenging, whether you’re looking online or in stores or both. Make it an organic mattress search to avoid toxic chemicals like flame retardants and petrochemical foams, and you’ve got a multi-layered puzzle to solve.
With so many companies advertising “natural” and “organic” mattresses, there’s the added challenge of sifting through false claims. Use the search terms “certified organic mattress” instead of “natural,” “green,” “eco-friendly,” or even “organic mattress.”
Since Lifekind mattresses hold third-party organic certifications – GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) for our natural rubber latex mattresses, and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for our innerspring mattresses – there’s no way toxic chemicals can be used in the growing or processing of the materials or be added to the finish product. So that makes them a natural choice for those seeking the purest mattresses available.
Customers call us up and ask, “How can someone pick out a mattress over the phone?” The short answer is, “Have an in-depth consultation.” While there are a number of people who absolutely must try them in stores, most people feel very confident they’ve made the best choice after a 10-20 minute conversation with an organic-mattress product specialist. While we try our best to get it right the first time, we do offer a 90-night comfort exchange policy so you won’t end up stuck with a mattress that doesn’t fit your needs. Three months is a much better trial period than 5 or 10 minutes in a store!
If you’re ready for a free, personal sleep consultation, or simply have questions, please call our friendly product specialists at 1-800-284-4983.
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.
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.
For a comprehensive guide to legitimate third-party certifications organic-mattress standards, check out Lifekind’s Purity Promise guarantee.
Be well and sleep safe!
Answer: Yes. And verifying these requirements is the only way to make sure you’re not falling victim to fraudulent advertising claims when shopping for an organic mattress.
The government agency that controls use of the word “organic” is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Title XXI of the 1990 Farm Bill, otherwise known as The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.
This Act established national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products in order to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard and to facilitate fairness within interstate commerce.
USDA control over use of the word “organic” extends to non-edible agricultural crops such as cotton and rubber trees, and further extends to non-edible products derived from livestock, such as wool.
To call any of these raw materials “organic,” each producer must meet the requirements listed in the Act and subject its facility and products to annual audit by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.”
Furthermore, for a complex finished textile product, such as a mattress, to be called organic it must be composed of a minimum of 95% certified raw materials as listed above. Then independently, the company manufacturing the mattress must also meet the requirements as listed in the Act and to subject its facility and finished products to an independent annual textile audit to standards such as GOTS, by a USDA-approved certifying agent.
Therefore, to call a mattress “organic” or to sell it as such, the company producing the mattress must earn independent organic status and be awarded an organic certificate annually in their name. This means that a mattress cannot be called organic simply because it is made up of one, some, or even all organic raw materials. It is the “certifying agent” that substantiates that the organic claim being made is actually true. It must be a USDA-approved certifying agent, who through an audit process can give a company legitimate claim or right to use the term “organic.”
Legislation in the United States established the Federal Trade Commission Act in1914. Under this Act, the Commission is empowered to, among other things, prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive consumer acts or representations affecting commerce.
If a company calls its product “organic” and its facility, methods, and specific products have not been awarded organic status by a USDA-approved certifying agent, that claim is deceptive, and constitutes an unfair method of competition in the marketplace. Unfair marketing claims fall under the purview of the FTC.
Specific to environmental claims, the FTC has published the “Green Guide.” While the guide defines a number of environmental terms and correct use and association of logos and seals, the primary emphasis of the document is substantiation. Environmental marketing claims must be substantiated.
Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances and is material to consumers’ decisions. See FTC Policy Statement on Deception, 103 FTC 174 (1983). To determine if an advertisement is deceptive, marketers must identify all express and implied claims that the advertisement reasonably conveys. Marketers must ensure that all reasonable interpretations of their claims are truthful, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis before they make the claims. See FTC Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation, 104 FTC 839 (1984).
In the context of environmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliable scientific evidence. Such evidence consists of tests, analyses, research, or studies that have been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Such evidence should be sufficient in quality and quantity based on standards generally accepted in the relevant scientific fields, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate that each of the marketing claims is true.
James Kohm is the Associate Director for the Enforcement Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. In that capacity, he oversees enforcement of all consumer protection orders and the Commission’s Green Marketing program. When Mr. Kohm spoke on January 27, 2013 at the World Market Center, he made clear that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not define what is or can be called organic. The FTC can conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce and seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers and other businesses from unsubstantiated environmental claims. Review the following links that report FTC investigation of unsubstantiated claims:
At Lifekind, we’ve worked hard to establish and maintain a comprehensive organic program. This ensures the creation and assurance of certified organic goods. Testing, quality assurance, lot tracking, purchasing organic raw materials (despite the higher cost), and spending thousands annually on auditing are just a few of the ways in which we keep our rigorous organic program in place. Third-party certification is the only thing protecting us from companies that do none of these things, but would try nevertheless to reap marketing dollars by fraudulently associating the term “organic” with their products.
It does not fall to the consumer or retailer to judge what is or is not organic. For a company to call its products “organic” it must have been granted organic status by a USDA-approved “certifying agent.” The consumer need only confirm a valid certificate with the company’s name and products listed, not a certification showing he name of a grower or producer. At Lifekind, we’ve covered all the bases, so you can “rest” assured you’re purchasing a TRULY organic mattress.
This great blog from our sister company OMI, (who manufacturers all of Lifekind‘s mattresses), touches on a “hot“ topic in the organic mattress industry. Since we don’t use any chemical flame retardants, customers often ask how we can pass the flammability requirements with just wool. Well, we worked hard to make it possible. Be sure to watch the video below, which is of one our mattresses during an actual open-flame mattress flammability test (which we pass with flying colors!)
Although we know how important it is to reduce your chemical exposure during sleep (since you spend 1/3 of your life in bed), most of the country doesn’t understand the risks associated with sleeping on a traditional mattress.
As is the case with most specialty products, there is a fairly limited customer base of people who are aware of, and ready to purchase, an organic mattress. This means that there are companies out there that will say anything in order to take a mattress sale from their competitors.
Since we opened our doors, we have been fighting an uphill battle against greenwashing. Other mattress companies have thrown in a handful of eco-friendly ingredients and called their products “natural,” trying to charge a premium for something that isn’t much better than mainstream.
Now that the country is becoming more aware of the greenwashing epidemic, we have seen mattress companies telling flat-out lies and mistruths, with the hope of seducing a customer with promises they can’t back up.
One fallacy that you will see promoted is that wool alone can’t be used to pass flammability tests. This argument is often used in a company’s justification for using chemical fire retardants because it is “the only option.”
I am here today to tell you “yes.” Yes, wool can be used as the sole fire retardant for a mattress to meet federal flammability requirements. And that, in fact, we have been using wool (without any chemical treatments) as our only fire retardant for years.
The purpose of a flammability test on a mattress is to make sure that the mattress doesn’t flame up in the event of a domestic fire. We don’t claim to make fireproof mattresses (I can’t even imagine the kinds of chemicals that would go in to that!) We make mattresses that won’t turn into a six-foot fireball if your house catches fire.
Our competitors have shown photos of a piece of wool yarn that is set to fire, and predictably, the fire travels up and burns the piece of wool yarn.
Well, of course it is going to burn. It is a natural material that has been shaped into a “wick” and a flame has been set to it.
Of course, you don’t have to just take my word for it. The video below is an actual open-flame flammability test of one of our mattresses, which shows just how well our chemical-free design works.
The only raw materials used to make this mattress (or any of our mattresses) are organic cotton, wool, and 100%-natural rubber. The mattress is sitting on a wood-slat foundation. Both pieces are built in our organic mattress Eco-Factory™ and are GREENGUARD® certified. There are no added chemicals, no silica barrier, or any other methods employed to assist in the flame test.
So there you have it: It is possible to pass the open-flame mattress flammability test without chemicals. And we do it every day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Organic mattresses aren’t just a fad. Why? Most people are concerned about their health, and it makes sense to avoid unnecessary chemical exposure. After all, we spend about a third of our lives in the bedroom. Why would you want to poison your body with chemicals, flame retardants, other toxic ingredients if you didn’t have to?
Our opinion is that if you’re going to invest in a nontoxic mattress, you should invest in the best. Here at Lifekind®, we’re setting the purity standard for our industry.
No regulations monitor the manufacturing, marketing, and advertising of organic mattresses. This means that an “organic” mattress found on a website may contain a percentage of organic ingredients, but also a plethora of undisclosed synthetic ingredients — Tyvek®, recycled newspaper, polyester, boric acid, and formaldehyde. This tactic is known as “greenwashing.” Even if a mattress does contain mostly organic ingredients, the components can be very low grade. (We’ve dissected quite a few “organic” mattresses to find cotton fibers that look similar to what you’d find in the lint screen of your clothes dryer.)
Lifekind is different. You’ll never find undisclosed ingredients in our mattresses, and our Purity Promise guarantees that if you can find a purer mattress, we’ll give you ours for free.
We hope you’ll take us up on it. Your body will thank you.
Rowena, Product Specialist