How To Choose An Eco-Friendly Mattress
When it comes to creating a healthy home I think that for the most part we focus a lot of our attention in the kitchen, our beauty products, and cleaning supplies. But what about the one spot in our home where we are supposed to spend somewhere between 7-9 hours of our day...or should I say night?
Yep, I am talking about our bedroom, and more specifically our mattress. While I am thrilled to see that the conversation around organic linens has finally become more mainstream, most people still don't think twice about the materials our mattresses are composed of and it is time that that changed.
What Is The Issue With Most Mainstream Mattresses?
Mattresses generally speaking can be a big source of chemical exposures, especially since we are spending close to 1/3 of our lives asleep on our mattresses. Like I always talk about when addressing chemical exposures in textile products, while there may be little evidence to prove the degree to which they directly impact our health, there is also nothing wrong with not wanting certain well-known harmful chemicals to be a part of our daily lives.
I also believe that it is our responsibility as consumers to protect the health of the people and communities where our products are being made. If we are worried about our chemical exposure, just think about the exposure factory workers are experiencing mostly in the developing countries where the vast majority of our products are made.
But what kind of chemicals am I talking about? For the most part I am referring to flame-retardant chemicals like PBDE which are highly toxic, banned in Canada and Europe, and do not need to be disclosed by mattress manufacturers. These chemicals accumulate in the body through skin exposure and inhalation, and studies have found that they are linked to hormone imbalance, altered cognitive function, and are particularly concerning for pregnant women and children.
Additionally, most everyday mattresses also contain well-known harmful chemicals like:
Formaldehyde - Use in polyurethane foam based mattresses as an adhesive
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) - Have been found to cause lung and skin irritation
This doesn't even include the countless pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on the fibers which make up our mattresses. Needless to say our mattresses are anything but healthy for our bodies, or for the environment and it's time we changed that.
Sleep On Latex
When Sleep On Latex (an eco-friendly mattress brand made in Chicago) reached out to me to see if I wanted to try one of their mattresses, and then also went into a four paragraph explanation of how the company protects consumers, factory workers, and the environment I was all ears.
I can honestly say that I have never had a company research my values and then go into such specific detail to answer the questions I would have asked anyway. That kind of transparency is hard to come by and was the reason why I choose to try their product, and honestly I am so glad that I did.
Note: I was not paid for this post however I was gifted a mattress by sleep on latex to review. All opinions are my own and I only work with companies whose missions I truly believe in and align with my own.
What To Look For When Choosing An Eco-Friendly Mattress
When it comes to choosing an eco-friendly mattress there are a few factors to consider.
Like anything price is going to be a factor, but in my experience most eco-friendly mattresses are generally quite similar to other "high-end" mattresses. It also is important to consider the safety and comfort of the mattress since when it's all said and done even your eco-friendly mattress needs to be something that provides you with a great and safe nights sleep.
When it comes to choosing a mattress for our health the most important things to look for are a mattress company that is very transparent with the chemicals, materials, and sourcing of materials that are used in the making of that mattress.
For example when I was researching the Sleep On Latex mattresses I learned that they use a 100% natural latex foam, and do not use any synthetic latex, fillers, or fire-retardents. In researching what 100% natural latex actually means, the folks from Sleep On Latex informed me that all of their latex is sourced from a factory that holds the GOLS certification (Global Organic Latex Standard) an independent global certifying organization for latex.
This certification ensures that the factory's labor practices are in line with GOLS standards and follow the mandatory social and environmental regulations. To achieve GOLS certification a product must also contain more than 95% of certified organic raw material.
I was then informed that the team at Sleep On Latex also had personally visited the factories where the latex foam was being sourced to ensure that the GOLS certification (Global Organic Latex Standard) independent certification was inline with their own ethical and envrionmental standards. This level of diligence and transparency is something that made me feel much more comfortable as a consumer.
Some other certifications that are good to be on the lookout for when purchasing an eco-friendly mattress are:
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard. This refers to the fibers used in the making of the mattress and mattress covering. In order to receive this certification the mattress must use at least 95% certified organic fibers.
GOLS – This is the certification I just referred to and stands for Global Organic Latex Standard. It is the first third party standard for organic latex and including the ethical and labor rights of factory workers.
GREENGUARD – A certification that tests for over 360 chemicals. If a mattress has this label it ensures that the mattress is low in VOCs, formaldehyde, phthalates and other harmful chemicals.
Eco Institut Certification: The Eco Institut is an independent testing institution which is headquartered in Germany. Its purpose is to test products with chemical, analytical, and physical lab tests to make sure those products comply with national and international guidelines and standards. One of the priorities of the Eco Institut is to measure emissions.
Just because a mattress is considered a healthy, eco-friendly option doesn't mean that it will be comfortable. When it comes to comfort I would make sure that you can articulate what you are looking for in a mattress. Personally I like our mattress to be on the softer side, but still firm enough to provide adequate back/neck support.
After talking to the folks from Sleep On Latex they were able to recommend the best mattress and mattress topper for my personal preferences. I can honestly say that both my husband and I sleep so well with this mattress and it is just as comfortable if not more comfortable than my old Sealy spring mattress.
Buying a mattress is a big investment so I would do your due diligence and make sure that you read reviews and talk to the customer service staff to make sure that the mattress you are choosing is right for your needs.
Safety and health standards go hand-in-hand but when it comes to the overall safety rating of a mattress there is an independent certification that is good to look out for.
Oeko-Tex Certification: An independent testing and certification system which offers extensive guarantees of reliable safety. Every product certified by Oeko-Tex is verified to comply with stringent requirements to ensure safety.
Last but not least is price. Mattresses are big investments and especially mattresses that are made using the highest quality and safety standards are going to be an investment that will hopefully last you many many years.
When it comes to choosing your eco-friendly mattress I wouldn't rush out today and trade in your old mattress. Instead take some time to save and really put thought into what mattress is best for you or your family members.
What I loved about Sleep On Latex is that even though they have a strong social mission and work hard to never compromise on quality, they also want to make sure that more people can afford to sleep on a safe, and eco-friendly mattress. From my research their prices are some of the best out there, especially when it comes to their mattress toppers and pillows, which could be a great (and affordable) first place to start.
So if you are thinking about switching to an eco-friendly mattress I hope you take these recommendations into consideration and save this post to refer to in the future. There is something really calming about knowing that your mattress is free of any harmful chemicals and will support your health and a good night sleep. Feel free to leave any questions you may have in the comments and I will try to answer them as best I can!