Non Toxic Mattress Guide – Chemical-Free, Organic Mattress

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Non Toxic Mattress

Which Mattresses are non-toxic and chemical-free?

 

We spend one-third of our life time in mattress. Our bedroom is supposed to be a sanctuary that provides relaxation, restoration, and peace. However, a bed mattress where we lie down everyday could emit toxic chemicals that are harmful to our health. We could be breathing in these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from full of synthetic mattress materials. Since we sleep every day, we are exposed to the mattress every single day as long as we use that mattress. If you are co-sleeping with your baby like I have, it is more of reasons that a mattress should be non toxic. However, most conventional mattresses contain toxic chemicals that could be released into the air we breathe in. In this post,  I share with you how mattresses could be toxic and what non toxic mattresses are available.

 

 

How Mattresses Can Be Toxic

 

Petrochemicals

Most mattresses contain a polyurethane foam (PU or polyfoam). Whether a mattress has all foam or has spring or coil, it can contain polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is made from a petroleum-based material that emits volatile organic compounds. The main chemical ingredient of polyurethane is made of an isocyanate which is derived from refined crude oil.  Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. An organic compound that with two isocyanate groups is known as a diisocyanate. Polyurethanes are produced by combining diisocyanates with polyols and other chemical additives. The most commonly used aromatic diisocyanates are toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). According to the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, toluene diisocyanate is absorbed rapidly through the lungs and exposure by inhalation causes respiratory and systemic effects while dermal exposure causes inflammation and irritation of the skin. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) considers TDI as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.  Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) can also have respiratory effects, including a decrease in lung function. These chemicals make up approximately two thirds of the weight of the finished foam.

Memory foam is also made from petrochemicals. It mainly contains polyurethane and additional chemicals to increase viscosity and density. Eco foams or soy foams marketed as being natural is also made with polyurethane foam with soybean oil mixed in. These foams are still full of harmful chemicals and far from being natural.  Mattresses that are made of synthetic latex can also emit VOCs. If you are planning to get a latex mattress, avoid mattresses made with a blend of natural and synthetic latex. Only 100% natural latex mattresses are non toxic, if synthetic latex is mixed, a mattress will still have toxic chemicals.

All of these mattresses off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over time. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are vapors or gases emit from chemicals of products. Toxic chemicals are released in to the air we breathe in. Short-term health effects of VOCs include headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment and irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. VOCs also have long-term health effects such as chronic headaches as well as loss of coordination and chronic nausea, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage and cancer.

 

 

Flame Retardant Chemicals

Flame retardant chemicals are used in furniture to slow the ignition and spread of fire. However, flame retardant chemicals are highly toxic. According to a report by The Department of Ecology State of Washington, halogenated flame retardants such as TDCPP, TCEP, TCPP V6, TBB, TBPH are found in polyurethane foam in furniture. Halogenated flame retardants contain chemicals that are brominated and chlorinated-based. The health effects of these flame retardant chemicals include carcinogenicity, endocrine and reproductive effects, and neurological and developmental disorders. In their report, Firemaster® 550, TCEP, TDCPP, and V6 are listed as chemicals that should be avoided or be discontinued as soon as safer alternatives are found. TCEP has a high concern for carcinogenicity, and acute aquatic toxicity. TDCPP has a high level of concern for carcinogenicity, reproductive, and chronic aquatic toxicity. Flame retardant chemicals can escape from a foam, get mixed with dust in the air and lands on household surfaces. If you have a baby or a toddler, they can easily touch household surfaces and toys and ingest flame retardant chemicals in the dust.

So why does polyurethane foam have flame retardant chemicals? Both polyurethane foam and memory foam is highly flammable. Because of its high flammability, foam-filled furniture was required to withstand 12 second open flame test without catching on fire by 1975 California standard in the past (TB117 open flame test).  Manufacturers used flame retardant chemicals in order to pass the test which was the only practical way to meet the standard. Since California’s economy had large market share, furniture products that were sold nationally often used flame retardant chemicals so they could be sold in California.

However, flame retardant chemicals are harmful and dangerous to our health. Many people have criticized over the years that flame retardant chemicals offer more harm than benefits. They not only carry harmful health risks but also could kill more people when fire actually happens. Due to their ineffectiveness and danger they carry, California finally revised the standard in 2014. (TB-117-2013)  Open flame test for filling material was eliminated from the standard and manufacturers no longer had to use flame retardant chemicals to meet the standard. However, this doesn’t mean flame retardant uses were banned. Manufacturers can still use flame retardant chemicals but they just have to indicate flame retardant use in the label if flame retardant chemicals are used.  Labelling the use of flame retardant chemicals was in effect starting Jan. 2015. Therefore, if you bought a foam-filled furniture before 2015, polyurethane foam will most likely contain flame retardant chemicals. Now, starting 2015, we can be informed if a foam-filled furniture was treated with flame retardant chemicals.

However, just because foam is not treated with flame retardant chemicals, that doesn’t mean the mattress is flame retardant-free. Flame retardant chemicals are also used in fabrics. Even when mattress manufacturers do not add any flame retardant chemicals to a mattress when manufacturing it, they could use synthetic fabric that has flame retardant already added. Unless the fabric is tested and certified, consumers wouldn’t know if flame retardant is integrated in the fabric of a mattress. The new standards TB 117-2013 eliminated an open-flame test for upholstery filling materials such as foam and it can be met with smoulder-resistant cover fabrics or smoulder-resistant barriers beneath the cover fabrics. Although filling materials such as foam do not need flame retardant chemicals any more according to the new standard, the new standard will require upholstery to have either cover or barrier fabrics that are inherently flame retardant with no chemicals, or use flame-retardant fabrics to be compliant. Often, flame retardant chemicals are typically mixed into the composition of synthetic fabric sleeve or barrier so that the flammable mattress can be in a fire retardant cover. Therefore, finding out what fabric was used for a mattress is equally important as finding out the use of polyurethane foam.

 

 

Solvent-Based Glue

Mattresses often contain solvent-based glue between the foam layers of the mattress. Solvent-based glues can release harmful VOCs. In addition, they often contain formaldehyde as a preservative. Formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen. It can be emitted into the air from a product. It is an eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritant.  Inhalation of formaldehyde vapors can produce narrowing of the bronchi and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

 

 

Non Toxic Mattress Certifications

 

Highly Valued Certifications

Certification of materials can tell us if the materials used are safe. However, not all certifications ensure that a mattress is non toxic. Some certifications test for certain things only so some toxic chemicals are not tested.  Highly regarded and valued certifications are Global Organic Textile Standard  (GOTS), Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and Oeko-Tex Standard 100. They test materials used as well as finished products for harmful chemicals.

 

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. A textile product must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibres to carry the GOTS label grade ‘organic’. Also, a product must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres to have the label grade ‘made with organic’.  All chemical inputs such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries used must meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria. The choice of accessories is limited as well. A functional waste water treatment plant is mandatory for any wet-processing unit involved and all processors must comply with social criteria.  GOTS ensures organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling. With this certification, you can be sure the fabric in mattress has no flame retardant chemicals or harmful substances used.

 

 

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is highly regarded standard for organic latex and finished latex foams. GOLS outlines requirements for latex products made from organic raw materials, as well as for material from non-organic origins. To achieve GOLS certification, a product must contain more than 95% of certified organic raw material. The GOLS standard limits harmful substances, has emission test requirements and has polymer and filler percentages. All processing levels of latex products including processing, manufacturing, packing, labeling, trading and distribution must meet the requirements to be certified.

 

 

Oeko-Tex Standard 100

Oeko-Tex Standard 100 tests for banned chemicals such as banned Azo colourants, formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel, etc., numerous harmful chemicals, even if they are not yet legally regulated and also numerous environmentally relevant substance classes. The use of any flame retardant products / finishes which are based on antimony trioxide/-pentoxide etc. or contain these substances is not possible for a certification. Brominated flame retardants (penta, octa, deca, others) are banned. This certification looks at all processing levels of a product from raw materials to finished textiles. All parts of the fabric including non-textile accessories, such as buttons, zip fasteners, rivets etc. must meet the requirements to be certified.

 

 

Certification With Limited Testing

These certifications can tell us some information about a material or product but they don’t test everything. Therefore just because a mattress has these certifications, that doesn’t mean it is non toxic. While these certifications certainly helps us identify if a mattress is safe in some way, having another certification such as GOTS, GOLS or OEKO-Tex would be the best.

 

Greenguard & Greenguard Gold

Greenguard certified products must have low chemical emissions into the air. Greenguard Gold has stricter certification criteria and considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly). Greenguard Gold standard includes health based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total VOC emission levels that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities. However, this certification measures emission of VOCs, not the chemicals a product contains. Therefore, this certification does not mean the product has no harmful chemicals such as heavy metals or phthalates.

 

Certipur-US

Certipur-US certifies polyurethane foams or memory foams. Certipur-US certified foams are made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and have Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). This certification process was developed by the foam industry.  It only limits certain flame retardants in the foams, not all flame retardant chemicals. While the Certipur-US certification bans some harmful flame retardant chemicals, it is common for polyurethane or memory foams to have flame retardant chemicals. Therefore, if you want to avoid all flame retardant chemicals, this certification has very limited value.

 

 

Organic Content Standard 100 (OCS 100) 

Organic Content Standard 100 (OCS100) certifies products that contain 95% or more organic material. While OCS 100 traces organic fibre throughout the entire supply chain in the final textile product, a final product can be certified without adding environmental or social criteria in processing.  With GOTS certification, this criteria is included.

OCS Blended certifies products that contain 5% minimum of organic material blended with conventional or synthetic raw materials. When a mattress says it is made with an organic material, find out what type of certification is done or how many percentage of a material is organic. Some mattresses may call their products organic or made with organic because parts of it is made with organic material, even when the percentage of organic material is very small.

 

 

Non Toxic Mattresses

So what are some non toxic, organic mattress brands? Non Toxic Mattresses will use materials that are not petroleum-based, have no flame retardant chemicals in the foam and fabric, use non toxic, water-based glue and have low VOC emission. You can check for mattress’s material or product certifications to ensure no toxic materials are used. Let’s take a look at some non toxic mattresses.

 

Savvy Rest

Savvy Rest mattresses are all GOTS-certified and manufactured in a GOTS -certified facility in Virginia, USA. All of their latex mattresses have casings that are made of GOTS-certified organic cotton and GOTS-certified organic wool. Inside the mattress are layers of natural latex. Savvy Rest offers two types of latex in their mattresses: Dunlop and Talalay.  The Dunlop latex is GOLS-certified. The Talalay is not but it is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified and follows sustainable forestry practices.  To achieve the GOLS standards – Dunlop passes at more than 95% of certified organic raw material. The rubber plantations as well as processing units up to the final retailer are certified according to the standard. Cradle-to-Cradle does serve similar purposes in utmost material health, renewable material use, and renewable energy just to name a few necessary details.  Regardless of which latex you choose, the finished mattress as a whole is indeed GOTS-certified organic. That means GOTS has evaluated their manufacturing facilities, the purity of their materials, and the finished product as a whole. Their mattresses are also customizable, so you can choose an exact configuration to fit your specific needs.

GOLS Certified Latex: yes (Dunlop is GOLS certified, Talalay is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified)

GOTS Certified Organic Cotton or Wool Casing And Batting: Yes

Polyurethane Foam: No

Flame Retardant Chemicals: No

Made in : USA

Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard Gold, Eco Institut, Cradle To Cradle Gold, Verified Sustainable Appalachian Hardwood, Green America

They carry different mattresses as follows.

 

 

Savvy Rest Serenity Natural Latex Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

 

 

Savvy Rest Serenity Natural Latex Mattress is made of natural latex and has organic cotton casing with organic wool batting quilted inside. You can customize firmness on each side.

More Info

 

 

 

 

 

Savvy Rest Unity Organic Pillow Top Mattress  – Non Toxic Mattress

Savvy Rest Unity Pillowtop Natural Latex Mattress has four 3″ layers (3-layer Serenity organic mattress with the Harmony latex topper on top). It has organic casing. This is ideal for side sleepers and those who need extra pressure relief. You can customize on each side for couples.

More Info

 

 

 

 

Savvy Rest Tranquility Natural Latex Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

 

Tranquility Natural Latex Mattress is made just like the Serenity, but with two 3″ layers of natural latex. It’s a good choice for toddler beds, bunk beds, or for smaller adults who like a quite-firm mattress. Firmness can be customized on each side for couples. It is available in any dimension or shape. It is not recommended for people weighing over 160 pounds.

More Info

 

 

 

Savvy Rest Serenity Spring Natural Latex Mattress With Customizable Pocketed-Coil Springs – Non Toxic Mattresss

 

Savvy Rest Serenity Spring Natural Latex Mattress is Savvy Rest’s newest customizable organic mattress. It has 8″ of pocketed coils made from recycled steel and one 3″ layer of natural latex. You can choose between Soft, Medium, and Firm layers of Dunlop or Talalay latex. Split pocketed coils in Queen, King and CA King allow you and your partner to have individual configurations. The SerenitySpring is covered in certified organic mattress casing, with organic cotton and organic wool batting.

More Info

 

 

Savvy-Rest Hand-Tufted Certified Organic Wool and Cotton Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

Savvy Rest Pastoral Hand-Tufted Certified Organic Wool And Cotton Mattress is filled with organic wool batting inside a tufted organic cotton cover. It does not contain latex. The Pastoral is flexible enough to serve as a futon. Each is handmade and tufted with natural linen thread. Custom sizes (width and length) are available.

More Info

 

 

 

 

Savvy Rest Earthspring Natural innerspring mattress with recycled-steel spring – Non Toxic Mattress

Savvy Rest Earthspring Mattress is an affordable innerspring mattress with a difference. The recycled-steel spring (by Bonnell) is topped with a 3″ layer of soft GOLS-certified Dunlop natural latex. Above and below the innerspring are 8 cm sheets of coir (coconut fiber blended with natural latex). The mattress is encased in the Savvy Rest Organic quilted casing, made of certified organic cotton fabric with certified organic wool batting. The Earthspring is not customizable.

More Info

 

 

 

 

Naturepedic

All Naturepedic mattresses meet the organic and non-toxic standards of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and/or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Naturepedic uses only U.S. grown and certified organic cotton filling in its mattresses. GOTS certified organic wool facilitates healthy, well treated sheep and the elimination of harmful chemicals in the processing of the wool. Their finished latex is certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Their mattresses are made in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA.

 

GOLS Certified Latex: Yes

GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Or Wool Casing and Batting: Yes

Polyurethane Foam: No

Flame Retardant Chemicals: No

Made in : USA

Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, Non GMO Verified, OCS 100 Organic Content Standard, Made Safe, Greenguard, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Environment Certification Program to meet the UL formaldehyde-free standard, Forest Stewardship Council® / Rainforest Alliance, Green America

 

Naturepedic Serenade Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

Naturepedic Serenade Mattress is made with 8″ of supportive encased coils, a layer of 2″ organic latex (finished foam is certified to GOLS), U.S. grown and certified organic cotton filing and casing, organic wool batting and PLA comfort layer made from non-GMO plant starch.

More Info

 

 

Naturepedic Vegan EOS Trilux Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

Naturepedic Vegan EOS Trilux Mattress is made with U.S. Grown and certified organic cotton filling and casing, organic wool batting, PLA comfort layer made from non-GMO plant starch and GOLS certified, 3 layers of 3″ organic latex. This mattress doesn’t contain wool. With a 10″ profile, this vegan mattress can transform from an extra-firm all the way to a plush, with the option of adding an organic latex topper for an ultra-plush all-latex design. This mattress can be customized to your exact comfort needs.

More Info

 

Soaring Heart

All of Soaring Heart’s American grown long-fiber cotton, wool, and synthetic free latex is certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture. All of their latex is also certified organic and chemical free by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Mattresses are made in GOTS certified workshops using 100% GOTS certified organic wool. All of their organic wool is certified organic by Oregon Tilth, one of the most respected organic certification agencies in the world. Every Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company organic mattress, futon, and shikibuton has been tested by the CPSC and meet all federal, state, and Canadian flammability requirements without the use of any chemical or synthetic fire retardants.  All Soaring Heart Natural Beds products are handcrafted in their Seattle workshop.

GOLS Certified Latex: Yes

GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Or Wool Casing and Batting: Yes

Polyurethane Foam: No

Flame Retardant Chemicals: No

Made in : USA

Certifications: GOTS, GOLS, USDA Certified Organic Cotton, Wool, & Latex, Oregon Tilth Organic Certified Wool, Texas Department of Agriculture Certified Organic Cotton, Made In Seattle

 

 

Soaring Heart The Linden Organic Latex Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

Soaring Heart The Linden Organic Latex Mattress is made of 6” Certified organic Dunlop latex core, Certified organic cotton canvas inner encasement, Certified organic felted wool fire barrier, 1632 & 1633 compliant. Multiple layers of Premium organic wool batting are layered inside of a silky-soft organic cotton sateen case and then hand-tufted.

More Info

 

 

My Green Mattress

My Green Mattresses makes latex mattresses with a coil innerspring base.  There are no synthetic foams in any of their mattresses. 100% Natural Eco-Wool from California and Oregon acts as a natural flame barrier, allowing their beds to pass all federal requirements without the use of flame retardant chemicals.  The wool is washed in a GOTS Organic Compliant soap which is mild and biodegradable. Their mattresses are handcrafted in La Grange Highlands, Illinois, USA.

 

GOLS Certified Latex: Yes

GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Or Wool Casing and Batting: Yes (Their organic cotton is GOTS certified but wool is not.)

Polyurethane Foam: No

Flame Retardant Chemicals: No

Made in : USA

Certifications:  GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard

 

 

My Green Mattress Natural Escape Organic Latex Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

My Green Mattress Organic Latex Mattress is made of a 3-zone pocketed coil innerspring base, topped with three inches of 100% Natural GOLS Certified Organic Dunlop latex under a GOTS Certified Organic Cotton quilted cover with All-Natural Eco-Wool.

More Info

 

 

 

My Green Mattress Pure Echo Organic Mattress – Non Toxic Mattress

My Green Mattress Pure Echo Organic Mattress is made with a 3-zone, pocketed coil innerspring,  GOTS certified organic cotton and all natural eco-wool. This mattress does not contain latex.

More Info

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

Since we sleep on a mattress every day, finding a non toxic, organic mattress is important. Otherwise, we could be breathing in toxic chemicals on a daily basis. When choosing a mattress, it is best to avoid polyurethane foam which is the most commonly used foam material for mattresses. Polyurethane foam is made of petroleum-based chemicals and contains toxic chemicals that could be harmful to our health. It can also contain flame retardant chemicals which is highly toxic. Flame retardant chemicals has been used for most polyurethane foams due to its high flammability in the past.  Although manufacturers are not required to use flame retardant chemicals in their foam s with the newly revised government fire standard, they can still use flame retardant chemicals since the use is not prohibited. A mattress can also contain fabrics that are already treated with flame retardant chemicals.The only way to ensure a mattress is not toxic is to look at its materials and its certifications for those materials.  The most highly regarded and valued certifications are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for textile and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Other certifications such as Greeguard or Centipur-us have limitations on what they test, therefore, you can can not ensure mattress is non toxic or organic with these certifications alone. The best organic mattress options I have found are mattresses made with GOLS certified latex mattress with GOTS certified organic cotton casing and organic cotton or wool batting. GOLS or GOTS certifications can ensure the materials contain no harmful chemicals or flame retardant chemicals. Therefore, any of organic mattresses I listed above would be a great non toxic mattress option.

 

If you are interested in non toxic cookware, please read my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Cookware Guide – What Is The Healthiest And Safest Cookware?

For non toxic sofa companies that you can shop from, please read my next post, ‘Non Toxic Sofa Guide – Which Sofa Brand Is Non Toxic?

Read my post ‘Non Toxic Dinnerware – Which Dinnerware Is Lead-Free?‘ to see how dinnerware can be toxic and what non toxic dinnerwear is available.

If you want to find out which bottled water brands are safe, please read my post ‘Safe Bottled Water Guide: Which Bottled Water Brands Are Safe?

 

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIENDS OR LEAVE ME A COMMENT! 🙂

 

3 Comments

  1. Mallory February 15, 2019
    • go_new_mommy February 22, 2019
      • go_new_mommy February 22, 2019

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