One of the most frequent questions I get in a week is about mattresses and what is best. The honest answer is there is no perfect mattress. But I have brought in a guest blog post this week from sleephelp.org
This site is a great source for all things mattresses and this is an excellent article on “Green” mattresses and things to consider about a healthy alternative mattress.
Use Certifications to Get Past Misleading “Green” Mattress Claims
by: Amy Highland
Finding a “green” mattress is no easy task when you consider that there’s no governing body to set regulations or standards within the mattress industry. A complex manufacturing process and long lists of components make finding an eco-friendly mattress more challenging. Rather than relying on sales tags, look for certifications from independent organizations that monitor both environmental and human health. By doing so, you’ll get a better idea of the safety of the mattress materials and the environmental impact.
What Makes a Mattress “Green”?
Mattress tags may say “green”, “eco-friendly”, or “organic” but the tag may only apply to one aspect of the mattress such as the way the cotton was grown and harvested before making the cover. To get a better idea of the environmental impact of the mattress, check the materials list. A truly green mattress will have natural and/or organic materials in the support core, comfort layers, and cover like:
Natural Latex: Natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree, a sustainable resource.
Plant-Based Foams: Both polyfoam and memory foam can be made using plant oils rather than synthetic chemicals, which can give off harmful emissions. However, even these more environmentally-friendly foams are not biodegradable.
Organic Fibers: Organic cotton and wool should be grown and manufactured without the use of pesticides, reducing the amount of exposure to chemicals.
Eco-Friendly Fire Socks: Mattresses have to meet strict flammability standards. Rather than a mattress with chemical flame retardants, look for fire socks made of cotton, wool, thistle, or Kevlar. While Kevlar isn’t a natural product, it is not treated with any chemicals.
The more natural materials found in the mattress the more environmentally friendly the mattress will be. Keep in mind that even the most biodegradable, environmentally-safe mattress will only be 95 percent natural or organic because of necessary manufacturing processes.
Skip Labels and Look for Certifications
Rather than relying on sales tags look for certifications that indicate the mattress, including the raw materials manufacturing process, is a truly green product. There are many available certifications and some monitor human health issues while others evaluate environmental impact.
A few human health certifications to watch for include:
OEKO-TEX Standard 100: This certification comes from 18 independent research and testing institutes in Europe and Japan. It monitors the levels of chemical emissions to assure they don’t pose a human health risk.
Certi-PUR-US: To receive this certification, the mattress must pass tests for chemical emissions, lead, and other harmful substances in the polyfoam layer.
Eco-Institut: This German-based institute certification tests textiles and building materials for harmful emissions and chemical substances.
Along with human health is the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. A few certifications that focus on environmental impact include:
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): A GOTS certified mattress must be made of 70 percent certified organic materials.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS): GOLS only evaluates latex products. To receive this certification a product must be 95 percent organically produced. Mattresses with a GOLS certification will be one of the most biodegradable, environmentally friendly options on the market.
Cradle to Cradle: Cradle to Cradle certifications are often used to evaluate latex mattresses or the materials used in mattress covers. This certification monitors organic fibers and materials during the manufacturing process for carbon emissions, water conservation, and ecological impact.
Mattresses can have many other certifications. We, as consumers, can take responsibility for our purchasing decision by making sure we understand each certification. Taking that extra time can help preserve the environment and protect your family.
Thank you to sleephelp.org for a great article and resource for all things sleep.