When it comes to green living, not many people consider the kind of mattress they are sleeping on. They will change most other things in the house to be more eco-friendly and forget the one place where they spend most of their time, the bed.
But there are environmental hazards and personal health dangers lurking in traditional mattresses. These dangers are also in some of the extremely popular home-delivery mattresses like the recently-famous Casper mattress, Saatva, and Tuft & Needle.
The primary culprit is that many mattresses today are made from synthetic foam or fibers. Even if they are made from wool or cotton, then they most likely are full of pesticides and other chemicals added during processing.
Some of these chemicals are potentially carcinogenic. A good example of dangerous artificial bedding material is the polyurethane foam used in most mattresses. Made from petroleum, polyurethane foam tends to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are linked to a range of health problems.
Another common culprit is in the flame-retardants used by manufacturers. To keep mattresses safe from fire, most manufacturers use polybrominated diphenyl ether better known as PBDE. This chemical, banned in some countries, is associated with health problems such as brain damage, low sperm quality, cancer, and thyroid levels.
Fortunately, a new breed of mattresses promises better and healthier sleep. They are called “organic mattresses” in the industry, and they are made in a completely different manner than traditional bedding made by more popular manufacturers like Serta.
About Organic Mattresses
Manufacturers of organic mattresses make an effort to remove most of the harmful materials and chemicals used in traditional mattresses.
The focus is on using as many non-toxic organic components as possible. An organic mattress ensures that as you spend hours sleeping on your bed, you are not breathing in toxic fumes.
Today, you will find organic mattresses made from a range of materials including organic wool and cotton.
Shopping for an Organic Mattress
Finding the right organic mattress is a challenge considering that every other manufacturer is now touting their products as eco- or natural. But these are just terms and there is no regulation governing what the real standards are.
For this reason, ignore mattresses that loudly proclaim themselves as eco-friendly and yet are not as open about what exactly is contained in the mattress. In many cases, you will find that only a small component of the mattress is anything close to natural.
When shopping for an organic mattress, focus on the specific materials used to make the mattress.
- Organic and chemical-free wool. Wool is a natural flame retardant. Additionally, it is resistant to bacteria and mold.
- Organic and chemical-free latex. Some people experience skin reactions to synthetic latex but not organic latex. Organic latex is also resistant to dust mites and mold and gives a mattress the required firmness with no need of springs.
- Organic and chemical-free cotton.
- Natural plant oils. If you buy a solid foam mattress, check that a large percentage of the foam (at least 30%) is made from plant oils instead of petroleum products. You can also go for foam made from natural rubber, latex or fibers.
To be sure that you are getting the right deal, it helps to check what certifications a specific organic mattress has achieved.
Third-party quality certifications are especially important since they guarantee that the cotton, wool or latex was prepared or grown in a chemical-free environment.
The four most common organic manufacturing certifications in the mattress industry are:
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is a popular third-party certification for chemical-free textiles.
- Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) provides certification that fiber is natural, was grown organically and processed in a safe and sustainable way.
- USDA Natural Organic Production (NOP) certifies that your cotton and other naturally grown materials were grown without overuse of pesticides.
- GreenGuard certifies whether a product produces hazardous levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), some of which are known carcinogens.
Top 3 Organic Mattress Picks
If you are planning to buy an organic mattress here are three suggestions to get you started and make your work easier. These three top picks have been chosen based on their level of eco-friendliness, health safety, and comfort.
1. Savvy Rest Serenity Organic Mattress
If you are looking for a mattress that is a perfect fit for you, the Serenity organic mattress from Savvy Rest is it.
When buying it, you have the option to order one that is customized in terms of size, shape, and firmness. Couples can even order one that is customized on each side to fit individual tastes and needs.
The Serenity mattress is made from natural Dunlop or Talalay latex (soft, medium or firm), a fully organic cotton casing and organic wool batting on the inside.
The latex creates the desired firmness, the cotton casing makes sleeping on the mattress comfortable and the organic wool helps in temperature regulation.
Savvy Rest Serenity comes with a 20-year warranty. Prices start at around $2,000.
2. Lifekind “The Traditional” Organic Innerspring Mattress
While latex in mattresses helps create a desired level of firmness, it is not the best fit for everyone. Some people might feel that it is not firm enough.
Others might be allergic to latex, even natural latex.
An innerspring mattress provides a good alternative to organic latex. Lifekind’s organic innerspring mattress (about $2,000) uses organic cotton and wool. No latex is used at all. Depending on your needs, you can choose the coil count you desire.
To guarantee the organic nature of the mattress, they have several certifications including GOTS-certified wool, NOP-certified organic cotton fill and GreenGuard-certified for low chemical emissions.
This mattress comes with a limited 20-year warranty and costs about $2,000. You can order it direct from the manufacturer.
3. Bella Sera Organic Mattresses (Nove 3 and Nove 4)
Like other organic mattress manufacturers, Bella Sera provides a level of customization for buyers.
In regards to firmness, you can opt for soft, medium or hard. You can also get a customized mattress that has two sides of differing firmness for sleeping partners.
The natural Dunlop latex interior of the mattress is enclosed within a natural wool and cotton cover. This provides high levels of comfort while also ensuring proper temperature control. No chemicals are used in the mattress.
You have two options of the Berra Sera Mattress; the Nove 3 or the Nove 4.
The Nove 3 consists of three layers of natural latex, with each layer measuring 3 inches. This means that the whole mattress is 9 inches deep.
Nove 4 has four latex layers; one of three inches and three of two inches. This also brings its depth to 9 inches. Bella Sera organic mattresses are backed by a twenty-year warranty and prices run from $2.300 to over $5,000.
While there are many considerations to make when buying the right mattress for you, it is time to include eco-friendly options among your considerations. Selecting an organic, ecologically-sound mattress is not just a matter of saving the environment. While that is super-important, this decision is also a matter of your personal health.