Don't be fooled.
Organic latex that is available is a USDA certification of rubber trees and latex sap. However, certification for the sap does not mean that the finished latex mattress is certified organic. There is a GOLS standard for cores and final product that must be approved before anyone can claim their latex mattresses are certified.
You also may have seen companies advertising a mattress that is “100% chemical-free.” Beware of such claims. Nothing in the world can be chemical-free, since chemicals are the building blocks of our planet. Even the purest wilderness landscape can't be chemical-free!
It's also impossible to build a mattress that has “no chemical outgassing.” The ultimate goal is extremely low, virtually minimal emissions offgassing. We've achieved that goal year after year with our certification from the prestigious UL/Greenguard Environmental Institute. Our mattresses easily passed UL Greenguard®'s most stringent certification in 2006, for Children and Schools (now called Gold certification). We were the first organic-mattress company to earn the certification, and we're proud of it.
The materials used by a mattress company are of the utmost importance, but factors such as where a mattress is made and whether the materials are sanitized naturally to prevent mold or mildew spores from traveling from the field to your mattress are also crucial parts of the equation.
A few things to keep in mind when shopping among organic-mattress companies:
There's a difference between testing for substances only and true emissions testing. Testing for the presence of a specific list of predetermined chemicals is not as effective as testing the finished mattress to determine precise chemical emissions.
There's a difference between being an assembler and an actual manufacturer. Over 95% of all websites selling organic mattresses purchase these products from contract manufacturers and then place their private brand on it.
And there's a BIG difference between using terms such as “natural” or “green” and “certified organic.”
The bottom line is, all “green” mattresses are not created equal. There's a lot of greenwashing going on, and it's important to keep your eyes open for signs that all is not as it appears.
Click here to read about how logos can be used to greenwash. It's a classic case of “buyer beware.” If you're paying more for a mattress that's supposed to be “organic,” isn't it important to get the real thing?
We Challenge the Competition
39 years of what?
“Celebrating 39 Years of Natural, Pure, Cozy Sleep Systems”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: For most of the 39 years they've been in business, the company making this claim produced waterbeds using mostly petrochemical ingredients such as PVC vinyl. On their website they admit that “even though water was a natural element, many of the other components in our beds were synthetic.” They state that “around 1995 we finally completed our first natural bed.” While we applaud them for moving toward more natural materials and admitting they used to use synthetics, claiming that they're “celebrating 39 years of natural, pure” anything is false.
Blended or 100%-natural?
“Although there are more chemicals used to produce the blended [latex] version, nothing toxic or harmful remains in the finished product after going through the freezing, then super heating, 5 stage washing and drying processes.”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: It is impossible to have “nothing toxic or harmful” remain in the finished product when synthetic petrochemical foam is produced.
Nothing can be TRULY chemical-free
“Choosing chemical-free organic and eco-smart materials...”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: Nothing in the world can be truly “chemical-free.” Chemicals are the building blocks of life on Earth; everything contains them. To claim otherwise is greenwashing, pure and simple.
Untested and unapproved
“In research conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), they concluded that a number of commercially available flame retardant materials that can be used to meet the new standard 'are not likely to present a hazard to consumers, workers, or the environment.'”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: Numerous studies have been done that show mild to very severe consequences associated with the chemicals commonly included in mattresses and other furniture as flame retardants. These health effects include anything from eye, nose and throat irritants to carcinogens. They have never been tested by the CPSC, however. In addition, many chemicals go completely untested, and virtually no testing has been done for how the chemicals will react with other chemicals and materials in the mattresses to affect human health — in low level, long-term studies.
“Organic Talalay”: An idea whose time hasn't yet come
“Mattresses of Organic Talalay with Chemical Free Wool and Organic Cotton Quilt Top”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: There is no organic certification for Talalay rubber cores. Recently, organic rubber trees have entered the market, making it possible to have a talalay rubber core made from organic rubber sap, but some amount of chemicals must be added in order to make the sap into a mattress core. (All currently available GOLS-certified latex cores are made using the Dunlop process.) For this reason, no organic certification exists to back up the claim being made. Furthermore, the Latex International Talalay core manufacturer does not use certified organic sap as a raw material.
Bogus claims from Savvy Rest
“To manufacture the finest nontoxic, comfortable, and durable alternative to conventional mattresses. Our mattress: Savvy Rest Organic. A Savvy Rest means healthful sleep with no off-gassing chemicals.”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: There is no such thing as “no off-gassing chemicals.” Even the purest organic mattress contains extremely low detectable levels of offgassing (see greenguard.org for more information).
Keetsa: Made in China
“Much like the Prius, Keetsa is helping to redefine the industry and challenge how mattresses are manufactured, utilized, delivered and ultimately disposed...”
WE CHALLENGE IT BECAUSE: Keetsa's products are manufactured in China. Apart from the considerable carbon-footprint impact, the safety of products made in China should be a huge concern for consumers.