By Joanna LaPrade
(This article was graciously written by Joanna LaPrade for us to share with our followers. It is based on her experience of researching and purchasing an organic mattress. We thought it was extremely helpful, and we hope you will too!)
Verifying that an organic mattress is non-toxic can be a formable endeavor. Fortunately, the organic mattress industry has seen a rise in trustworthy certification standards. In identifying an organic mattress, there are a series of certification bodies that extensively test how individual components of a mattress are grown, manufactured, and packaged. Although this article does not review all the available certification bodies, it does distinguish the highest standards in the industry. So, if you are interested in a mattress made without harmful toxins, here are the standards and companion labels you should look for.
The GOTS or Organic Textile Standard is the preeminent and most stringent processing standard for organic textiles. Certification requires companies to meet globally enforced social and ecological criterion. Textiles are important because, as they often either comprise or encase your mattress, their toxicity level is easy to breathe in. Strict written conditions, testing, and on-site auditing are required to attain GOTS certification.
Similarly, OEKO-TEX 100 is an independent testing and certification standard for raw and processed textiles. The attention to detail present in this standard outshines the GOTS in regard to accessories, inserts, rivets, dyes, and a host of textiles. However, unlike GOTS, it doesn’t ensure that a mattresses fiber is organically grown. Likening to GOTS, OEKO-TEX 100 institutes rigorous tests for toxins deemed harmful to humans. To distinguish between various products, the standard brackets four product classes. Here look for certifications in Class IV and I, as their concern is with bed linens and upholstery covers.
The GOLS or Global Organic Latex Standard pilots an extensive standard for manufacturing organic latex. Here, the certification body monitors the production and processing methods of the latex for environmental sustainability and toxicity. All GOLS certified products contain 95% organic materials.
The CertiPUR-US standard monitors’ polyurethane foam. While the GOLS eliminates this foam completely, CertiPUR-US only prohibits polybrominated diphenyl ether, PDBE, flame retardants, and involves testing for formaldehyde. It is common in the organic mattress industry to replace polyurethane foam with Latex, often Dunlop, or Talalay.
The most common concern with non-organic mattresses is off-gassing. It is in this arena that GreenGuard Gold excels by focusing on emission standards. GreenGuard tests products for low volatile organic compounds, ozone, phthalates, and formaldehyde. To achieve this agenda, Underwriters Laboratories, the facilitators of this certification, claim to test for over 360 chemicals.
In the most basic form, these certifications mitigate numerous factors that have serious consequences for your overall well-being. Together, these standards test mattresses for PBDE flame-retardants, phthalates, heavy metals, colorants, allergenic dyes, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, methylene chloride, and, according to GreenGuard Gold, nearly 10,000 other toxins. Here some may argue that that the mattress industry actually lacks a 100% organic option. This is because organic standards can be met with 95% organic materials (Rae, 2018). While it is true that organic standards can leave room for minimal toxicity, what remains apparent is that the mainstream mattress industry is riddled with toxins. In this light, it seems important to actively mitigate exposure when possible.
There are numerous companies that provide quality mattresses that have been awarded all or some of these certifications. Leading companies with full credentials include Sleeping Organic, Avocado Green Mattresses, Nautrepedic, Saatva’s ZenHaven, Plushbeds, Lifekind, and Savvyrest. While this list makes up a spattering of the available options each company meets the recommended standards.
Reference: Rae, H. (2018). Organic mattress labels you can trust. Consumer Reports.