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Organic Mattresses: What to Look For

 

Pictured is the Naturepedic EOS Organic Mattress

 

I ran across this article and it has such incredible information I decided to make it today's post.  This is an interview conducted by the folks at www.organicitsworthit.org

 In this profile, Naturepedic co-founder Barry Cik explains the difference between organic mattresses and their non-organic counterparts, uncovers why organic mattresses are particularly important for babies and young children, and offers his top 5 tips on what to consider when you are in the market for a new, organic mattress.

Q: What requirements must a mattress meet to be certified organic? How does this differ from the requirements that non-organic mattresses must meet?

A: The only organic certification for mattresses is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

The GOTS certification program takes all the contents of the mattress and essentially divides it into two groups, fiber and non-fiber.

  1. Fiber– Fiber content includes all fabrics, filling materials, and any other mattress components derived from fibers.  For an organic mattress, GOTS requires that 95% of the fiber content come from USDA NOP certified organic fiber.  The remaining 5% may be non-organic per certain restrictions and per GOTS approval.  (GOTS also provides for a Made with Organic Fiber label if at least 70% of the fiber is NOP certified.)
  2. Non-Fiber - GOTS permits various accessories in an organic mattress.  These include, for example, steel innersprings for structural support and flame proofing in order to comply with government mandates.  All such accessories and chemical inputs must be approved by the GOTS program.  If a mattress complies with all the above, then it is eligible for GOTS certification as an “organic mattress.”

 

Q: What is the best way to verify that a mattress is organic?

A: There is only one way to verify organic mattresses and manufacturers, and that is to check the GOTS list of certified organic mattress manufacturers.  This is found at http://www.global-standard.org  Search under Public Database / Product Category (Other) / Manufacturing.

Consumers are easily confused between organic mattresses that are certified under the GOTS program versus non-certified mattresses made with organic materials.  In general, “organic mattresses” not certified under the GOTS program may only contain a small amount of organic fiber.  With GOTS certified organic mattresses, all the materials and ingredients are reviewed and approved by an independent GOTS approved certifier.

Q: Your Company specializes in making organic mattresses for babies. Why is choosing a mattress made from organic materials so important for people at such a young age?

A: Mattresses, particularly including baby and children’s mattresses, are made with questionable materials and chemicals.  For example, chemicals in mattresses may include phthalates, antimony, chlorinated or fluorinated compounds, etc.  Organic mattresses essentially eliminate virtually all the possible chemicals that would be problematic.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has recently gone on record in this regard stating the following:         
              
“A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than a child from any other generation in our history…Our kids are getting steady infusions of industrial chemicals before we even give them solid food…Today, advances in toxicology and analytical chemistry are revealing new pathways of exposure…There are subtle and troubling effects of chemicals on hormone systems, human reproduction, intellectual development and cognition.”

Q: Is it important for adults to buy organic mattresses as well?

A: Of course.  We live in a chemical laden society.  We don’t really know what all these chemicals are doing to us.  One (rather simple) way of reducing our chemical exposures is to sleep on an organic mattress.

Q: How does the price of organic mattresses compare to non-organic mattresses? What is the explanation for this price difference?

A: The price of an organic mattress is usually higher than a lower-end conventional mattress, but an organic mattress is not necessarily more expensive than a typical upper-end conventional mattress.  In any event, for example, the primary filling in conventional mattresses is polyurethane foam (or so-called soybean foam, which is really still polyurethane foam), which is made from petroleum.  (The American Association of Fire Marshals refers to polyurethane foam as “solid gasoline”).

The primary filling in organic mattresses, on the other hand, is certified organic cotton, which is far more expensive than polyurethane foam. 

Q: How easy is it to find organic mattresses? Are they widely available? If not, where is the best place to find them?

A: Organic mattresses are not difficult to find.  Once again, the GOTS directory is the best way to locate certified organic mattress manufacturers.

Q: What are the top 5 things people should consider when they are shopping for a new, organic mattress?

A: Certification – “Green-washing” is widespread, with many people making green or eco or organic claims that are questionable.  GOTS certification is the only way to verify whether consumer products, like mattresses, meet recognized organic standards.
•    Chemical Off-Gassing Verification – Although certified organic mattresses will be low in chemical residues, an additional certification for low chemical emissions can add verification.  The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute provides testing and certification for low-emitting products, including mattresses.
•    Allergenic Materials Avoidance – Some materials may be allergenic for some people.  For example, natural latex and wool can be problematic.  People with chemical sensitivities may wish to consider whether these materials are appropriate for them.
•    Firmness – Firmness is unrelated to organic or chemical considerations.  However, it is important to make sure that the mattress firmness is appropriate.  For adults, this is a personal and subjective matter, which means that when buying an adult mattress, it is best to be able to “test-sleep” the mattress.  For babies and children, the Consumer Product Safety Commissions only recommends firm mattresses.   
•    Price – While organic mattresses are not cheap, there are models that are much more doable for people on a budget.  A less-expensive organic mattress may essentially be just as good as one with more bells and whistles.

About Barry Cik


Barry A. Cik is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer with over a quarter century consulting experience.  He is also certified by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice and the Ohio EPA.  Mr. Cik is also a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and a Certified Diplomate Forensic Engineer.  Mr. Cik is the author of a text book published by Government Institutes.

In 2003, Barry was sent by his wife to a juvenile furniture store to buy a crib mattress and other items for their first grandchild.  Barry (who had never been in a juvenile furniture store) quickly realized that every single baby mattress was made from polyurethane foam and vinyl.  His response to this was “My grandfather slept on straw, and I’d rather put my grandchild on straw than on these materials.  This is not progress.”

Barry, together with his two sons Jeff and Jason (both magna cum laude graduates from Ivy League universities), then formed Naturepedic.  The company was organic-focused from the very beginning, using organic cotton fabrics and filling as the basis of all Naturepedic products.  Naturepedic joined OTA early on.  In 2009, Barry reached out to GOTS and Naturepedic became the first certified organic baby and children’s mattress manufacturer.

Barry, and the entire Naturepedic family, are particularly strong supporters of the organic community, and of OTA in particular.  Barry believes that the general public is more inclined to make the switch to organic products when their babies are the focus.  Naturepedic is taking the organic message to increasing numbers of people who might otherwise not have realized the value of organic products in their homes.

T.Y. Fine Furniture is a certified Naturepedic dealer.

 By http://www.organicitsworthit.org/

The Best Bedroom Air Cleaners

Ever think how contradictory it might be to use electric air purifiers to go “pure and natural” at home?

Many people who choose natural mattresses want the bedroom to be an oasis from pollutants of all sorts. Outstanding plan! However, especially in newer houses, dangerous off-gassing chemicals come from many sources.

Plywood and laminates, fabric treatments, synthetic carpets and foams, flame retardants, glues, cleaners and paints are just a few sources of toxic vapors you don’t want to be breathing. Indoor air quality is often worse than air quality outdoors, even in polluted cities.

In the late 80’s, NASA was tackling the problem of how to keep the air in space stations pure. They found that certain houseplants can clean the air as effectively as air-purifying machines. They’re quieter, too, last time we checked. Though ultimately the astro-plants stayed home, the list of plants NASA produced is a great resource for selecting green buddies for your bedroom—or all around the house.

Super-heroes in Pots

There are many other plant options, too, so if you’re fond of favorites such as spider plants, peace lilies, chrysanthemums or aloe (all excellent air cleaners), just mix up your choices to cover a spectrum of nasty gases. Formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, for example—these odorless gases are carcinogenic and also contribute to respiratory problems.

It takes at least one air-filtering plant per 100 square feet of space to do its job efficiently. While busy looking beautiful, increasing your connection to nature and uplifting your mood, these silent allies are seriously supporting your health.

One is good but more is better, because different plants are effective at eliminating different chemicals. (And small groupings look great.)

Picking and Placement

Some popular plants are toxic to children and pets, so be sure to read up on your choices before heading to your local garden center. Or consider some alternative placements. Golden pothos trails beautifully, for example, so you might display it in a planter hung from the ceiling in a corner. It’s happy in low light. Just trim it regularly to keep it out of reach.

The purest air possible will ease your breathing and your sleep. And pollution-fighting plants are perfect companions for your dreams.

Written by Laura, February 6, 2015 www.savvyrest.com

Organic Mattresses Surpass the Comfort of their Toxic Cousins

Mattresses, like cars, are usually available at different price points featuring different options.  Today I want to touch upon the issue of organic mattress comfort.  I’ve done some reading about the level of comfort, or alleged lack thereof, provided by the typical organic mattress.  The truth is that, like cars, mattresses (organic or otherwise) come at those different prices for a reason.  The cold hard truth is that if you want your mattress to feel like a ride in a Rolls Royce you’re going to pay the price for that feel.  If your budget allows a Mercedes level of comfort then you’ll pay that price and, of course, if your budget will allow you to buy Toyota level of comfort then that’s what you will get.  The notion that organic mattresses are uncomfortable solely because they are made of organic materials and not man-made materials is false and any article making such a claim should be viewed with great skepticism. 

 

So, just how does the manufacturer of an organic mattress, design and build a mattress sleep system that is not only equal to a memory foam mattress but better?  They do it by at least doubling the coil count in their mattresses with springs that have a high chrome content that makes them stronger over the life of the product.  They then layer the top of the mattress (the comfort layer) with either organic latex or a layer of micro coils which are encased in PLA (Polylactic Acid: made from potato or corn starch) and then covered in organic cotton.  If you want a pillow top effect you can then purchase a topper made from organic latex, or a combination of latex, wool and cotton.  As an added comfort bonus, the buyer won’t experience head-aches, a burning nose or other side effects caused by the chemicals in typical mattresses containing man-made materials.  Finally, a reputable manufacturer will back up their products with a 20 year warranty.  I haven’t seen very many manufacturers of the toxic variety of mattresses who will give customers a 20 year warranty. 

 

By Wes Miller

Why Buy an Organic Mattress?

I suppose that I bought my organic mattress for the same reason that I buy organic produce; I want to make sure that I’m not putting chemically laden food in my body or my home.  We all know about the organic craze that is sweeping the country and a large number of us are trying to do the best that we can to eat healthy.  We want to know where our food comes from.  I have a strong feeling that this is not a passing fad like the low-fat debacle of the 90’s (Olestra and its’ unusual side-effects come to mind…unfortunately).  Rather, this is a realization occurring on a grass-roots level, by a huge number of us that we are tired of eating produce coated in pesticide residues and processed food that is created in a laboratory and made on an assembly line.  When you consider that you are lying in a bed for at least 8 hours a day, a third of your life, with your skin in constant contact with the bedding and your face buried in the fabrics; if you have a non-organic mattress you are quite literally enveloped in a cocoon of toxins.  Here’s a short list of chemicals commonly found in non-organic mattresses:  formaldehyde, used in the adhesives that hold mattresses together.  Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether is used in flame retardant compounds.  Xylene which is used in many mattress adhesives, the EPA has identified this compound as a cause of birth defects.  Toluene Discarnate or TDI is an ingredient in many visco-elastic and polyurethane foams and is known to cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.  OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has classified it as toxic.  The list goes on: Antimony Oxide, PentaBDE, Benzene, and Polyvinyl Chloride.  Personally, I simply do not see how lying on a bed soaked in these chemicals can be good for any of us. When I was shopping for my organic mattress I looked for a few key certifications from trusted third party testing organizations.  I suggest that you look for GOTS(Global Organic Textile Standard), GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard), OTCO (Oregon Tilth Certification) and CU (Control Union).  Certifications awarded to manufacturers from these organizations mean that the mattress is certified organic.  Steer clear of advertisements stating “eco-friendly,” “green” or “all natural.”  Those are slick marketing buzz-words used to try to convince consumers that non-organic mattresses are somehow healthy products for use in home.  The bottom line is if the mattress isn’t certified as such, it’s not organic.

 

By Wes Miller

May 30, 2015 by Wes Miller