Growing concerns about the environment and personal health and safety from harmful chemicals has led many people to switch to organic products. You sleep on a mattress for at least seven hours a day, at least you should be. That’s a lot of time to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins, dyes, and chemicals. Organic mattresses offer you an environmentally sustainable solution and peace of mind.
Choosing Organic for Better Health
Even if the raw materials used to make a mattress are organic, those materials could go through many processes before they become a mattress. Each step along the way increases the chances of exposure to substances you don’t want to sleep on. Less exposure to chemicals also helps allergy sufferers avoid potential reactions.
Finding an organic mattress requires a little knowledge before you start your search. When it comes to mattresses, there are no set standards that constitute an “organic” mattress. Researching and understanding the terms that are used can give you a better of idea of what the materials and substances you’re bringing into your home are made of.
Sustainability and Protecting the Environment
While health is a top concern so is protecting the environment. Organic mattresses are more likely to use sustainable materials and reduce the environmental footprint. Everything from the fabric used to make the cover to the process involved in shaping the innersprings have an environmental impact.
A mattress goes through many levels of processing before a finished product ends up in your home. Each step in the manufacturing process creates an opportunity to make choices that are environmentally friendly. Whether that be in how the raw materials are harvested or the industrial processes and substances used to construct the mattress, you, as a consumer, can make a conscious choice to protect the environment
How Do I know if a Mattress is Organic?
Labels can be misleading. You might see labels that state:
What those terms mean may change according to the manufacturer. They might only apply to some components or processes used to make the mattress, not the mattress as a whole. While labels like these are good, you’ll need to dig deeper.
Instead, look for certifications by organizations that promote human health and a healthy environment like ECO-Institut, CertiPUR-US, and the United States Department of Agriculture Organic (USDA). Some, like the USDA, are concerned with the environmental impact of the manufacturing process while others, like the ECO-Institut, test for hazardous emissions and substances. Additionally, many of these organizations check the conditions of the workers who harvest raw materials for a check on social impact too.
Organic Mattress Options
Complex manufacturing processes and the vast amount of materials needed to make certain types of mattresses make it difficult to meet strict organic standards. Foam, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses fall under this category. You may find these types of mattresses with some organic components, but an entire organic mattress might be difficult to come by.
Your best option may be a latex mattress. Latex starts as rubber cultivated from rubber trees. Because latex starts as a natural substance, it’s easier to avoid too many harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process.
Latex mattresses offer you a good organic option, but you’ll still need to know some terminology. Not all latex is organic such as the synthetic or blended varieties. However, natural latex offers a good option with a minimum amount of chemical processing involved.
There are two types of natural latex on the market, Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop latex is springy and dense making it more durable, but expensive. Talalay is softer and less springy, but it sacrifices long-term durability.
Latex mattresses may cost more than many other mattress types, but they offer you peace of mind and fewer chemicals in your home. If latex isn’t an option for you because of an allergy, look for a mattress certified by the organizations that protect human health and the environment.
Note from My Health Maven:
Mattresses are a challenging product to buy if you are chemically sensitive. While latex mattresses are an option for some people, those who are chemically sensitive, may find that latex mattresses have an odor which is not agreeable to their health. If you are chemically sensitive or have allergies, I suggest contacting the mattress company and requesting free samples of their bedding materials so that you can test them for your safety before making a purchase. I have done this with all of the organic beds I have purchased and it was tremendously helpful.
About the author:
Sara Westgreen is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She sleeps on a king size bed in Texas, where she defends her territory against cats all night. A mother of three, she enjoys board games and getting as much sleep as she can get her hands on.