Organic Wool
Organic Wool

Organic Cotton
Organic Cotton

Sorting Cotton
Sorting Cotton

Natural Rubber Harvesting
Natural Rubber Harvesting

Glossary of Standard Industry Terms

A - H / I - P / Q - Z

Airborne Particulates Total suspended particulate matter found in the atmosphere as solid particles or liquid droplets. Chemical composition of particulates varies widely, depending on location and time of year. Sources of airborne particulates include: dust, emissions from industrial processes, combustion products from the burning of wood and coal, combustion products associated with motor vehicle or non-road engine exhausts, and reactions to gases in the atmosphere. Environmental Protection Agency (
Allergen A substance that causes an allergic reaction in individuals sensitive to it. Environmental Protection Agency (
Allergy A state of hypersensitivity induced by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen) resulting in harmful immunologic reactions on subsequent exposures.
Animal dander Tiny scales of animal skin, a common indoor air pollutant. Environmental Protection Agency (
Antibacterial Anything that destroys bacteria or suppresses their growth or their ability to reproduce.  
Anti-microbial An agent that kills microbes. Environmental Protection Agency (
Ash Timber tree of western North America yielding hard light wood. The Free Dictionary
Bacteria Microscopic living organisms that can aid in pollution control by metabolizing organic matter in sewage, oil spills or other pollutants. However, bacteria in soil, water or air can also cause human, animal and plant health problems. Environmental Protection Agency (
Batting Layers or sheets of raw cotton or wool or of synthetic fibrous material used for lining quilts or for stuffing or packaging. Merriam Webster
Box springs A bedspring that consists of spiral springs attached to a foundation and enclosed in a cloth-covered frame. Merriam Webster
Buckwheat Buckwheat is a fruiting plant whose hulls and husks are used to stuff pillows. The hulls constantly shift to provide support to your head and neck while allowing air to flow freely through the filling. Buckwheat hulls are also considered hypoallergenic and are naturally resistant to dust mites. Buckwheat pilows are also ideal for people who sweat at night. It has been used as a pillow filling for centuries in Asian countries to relieve headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, muscle tension, stress, sleeplessness and snoring.  
Carcinogen Any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer. Environmental Protection Agency (
Chemicals Of or made from or using substances produced by or used in reactions involving atomic or molecular changes; "chemical fertilizer"
Chronic Toxicity The capacity of a substance to cause long-term poisonous health effects in humans, animals, fish, and other organisms. Environmental Protection Agency (
Coil count The specific number of coils in a mattress or box spring unit. The standard count is based on the coils within a full size piece.
Conservation Preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources. The use, protection, and improvement of natural resources according to principles that will ensure their highest economic or social benefits. Environmental Protection Agency (
Contaminant Any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter that has an adverse effect on air, water, or soil. Environmental Protection Agency (
Crop rotation The practice of alternating different crops in a field in planned cycles in order to regulate nitrogen levels, prevent soil erosion, reduce fertilizer needs and improve the overall long-term productivity of the land.
Dander Minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may be allergenic.
Defoliant A chemical spray or dust applied to plants in order to cause the leaves to drop off prematurely. Merriam-Webster
Dioxin Any of several persistent toxic heterocyclic hydrocarbons that occur especially as by-products of various industrial processes (as pesticide manufacture and paper making) and waste incineration. Dioxins are a man-made pollutant with an array of health risks in humans. Potent toxics, they act as endocrine disruptors (interfering with the body's natural hormone signals), damage the immune system, and may affect reproduction and childhood development. Tests on laboratory animals indicate that it is one of the more toxic anthropogenic (man-made) compounds. Merriam-Webster, and
Dunlop latex In the Dunlop process, air is not extracted, and there is no freeze stage. The latex cell structure is less "airy". If you prefer a firm mattress, this is the latex core for you. blog
Dust mites A tiny animal related to ticks and spiders. They thrive in places that are moist and warm, such as bedding. Their chief food is dandruff and other skin flakes. Mattresses provide an ideal environment for dust mites. Dust mite droppings are the most common trigger of perennial allergy and asthma symptoms. World Book Encyclopedia; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Duvet A soft quilt usually filled with the down of the eider. Websters online
Eco-friendly Having little or no impact on the native ecosystem.
Environmental Exposure Human exposure to pollutants originating from facility emissions. Threshold levels are not necessarily surpassed, but low-level chronic pollutant exposure is one of the most common forms of environmental exposure. Environmental Protection Agency (
Exposure The amount of radiation or pollutant present in a given environment that represents a potential health threat to living organisms. Environmental Protection Agency (
Fiber-reactive Fiber-reactive dyes are bright and long-lasting. The most permanent of all dye-types, it actually forms a bond with the molecules of the fabric.
Flammable Any material that ignites easily and will burn rapidly. Environmental Protection Agency (
Flange A projecting edge of cloth used for decoration on clothing.
Formaldehyde A colorless, pungent, and irritating gas, CH20, used chiefly as a disinfectant and preservative and in synthesizing other compounds like resins.
Futon A thin mattress of tufted cotton batting or similar material, placed on a floor or on a raised, foldable frame.
Garneting A method of combing or separating fibers.  
Genetic engineering The science of changing the DNA of a plant or animal to produce desirable characteristics.This is a very controversial science that many believe has not been adequately tested and studied.
Germicide Any compound that kills disease-causing microorganisms. Environmental Protection Agency (
Grommet An eyelet of firm material to strengthen or protect an opening or to insulate or protect something passed through it. Merriam-Webster
Herbicide A chemical pesticide designed to control or destroy plants, weeds, or grasses. Environmental Protection Agency (
Hypersensitivity Diseases Diseases characterized by allergic responses to pollutants; diseases most clearly associated with indoor air quality are asthma, rhinitis, and pneumonic hypersensitivity. Environmental Protection Agency (
Hypoallergenic Having little likelihood of causing an allergic response. Merriam-Webster
Indoor air pollution Chemical, physical, or biological contaminants in indoor air. Environmental Protection Agency (
Inhalable particles All dust capable of entering the human respiratory tract. Environmental Protection Agency (
Innerspring Having coil springs inside a padded casing. Merriam-Webster
Insecticide A pesticide compound specifically used to kill or prevent the growth of insects. Environmental Protection Agency (
Irritant A substance that can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, or respiratory system. Effects may be acute from a single high level exposure, or chronic from repeated low-level exposures to such compounds as chlorine, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric acid. Environmental Protection Agency (
Kapok A mass of silky fibers that invest the seeds of the ceiba tree and are used especially as a filling for mattresses, life preservers, and sleeping bags and as insulation.
Lanolin A substance obtained from the greasy coating found on sheep's wool. Lanolin is classified chemically as a wax. Lanolin helps the skin retain water and is an emollient or moisturizer. World Book Encyclopedia
Latency Time from the first exposure of a chemical until the appearance of a toxic effect. Environmental Protection Agency (
Latex A milky usually white fluid that is produced by cells of various seed plants and is the source of rubber.
Loft The thickness of a fabric or insulating material (as goose down).
Managed Forest A multiple-use forest where sustainable harvesting, thinning, pruning and reforestation are done.
Maple The hard light-colored close-grained wood of a maple used especially for flooring and furniture.
Microbes Microbes are single-cell organisms so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle.
Nontoxic Not producing or resulting from poison or other toxic chemicals
Oak Oak is one of the most abundant hardwoods found in the U.S. Heavy, very strong and very hard, stiff, durable under exposure, great wear-resistance, holds nails and screws well.  
Organic cotton Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming. Organic Trade Association (
Organic farming System of crop cultivation employing biological methods of fertilization and pest control as substitutes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Brittanica
PBDE PBDEs are used as flame retardants in a wide variety of products, including furniture, upholstery, textiles and other household products. Traces of PBDEs have been detected in samples of human tissue, human blood and breast milk. Studies on mice and rats have shown that exposure to PBDEs and PBBs causes neurodevelopmental toxicity, weight loss, toxicity to the kidney, thyroid and liver and dermal disorders. Studies on animals and humans have shown that some PBDEs can act as endocrine system disruptors and also tend to deposit in human adipose tissue.
Pesticide Substances or mixture there of intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Also, any substance or mixture intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. Environmental Protection Agency (
Plywood A structural material consisting of sheets of wood glued or cemented together with the grains of adjacent layers arranged at right angles or at a wide angle.
Pollen The fertilizing element of flowering plants; background air pollutant. Environmental Protection Agency (
Pollutant Waste matter that contaminates the water or air or soil.
Pollution Generally, the presence of a substance in the environment that because of its chemical composition or quantity prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects. Environmental Protection Agency (
Polyurethane Any of various synthetic resins used to make tough resistant coatings, adhesives, foams, and electrical insulation. American Heritage Science Dictionary
Pressure point An area on the skin that is highly sensitive to pressure.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) A white, water-insoluble, thermoplastic resin, derived by the polymerization of vinyl chloride: used chiefly for thin coatings, insulation, and pipings.
REM sleep A state of sleep that recurs cyclically several times during a normal period of sleep and that is characterized especially by increased neuronal activity of the forebrain and midbrain, depressed muscle tone, dreaming, and rapid eye movements. REM sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. Merriam-Webster, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes/NIH
Renewable resource A resource that is capable of being naturally restored or replenished (e.g. trees).
Sateen A smooth durable lustrous fabric usually made of cotton in satin weave.
Sustainability The ability to provide for the needs of the world's current population without damaging the ability of future generations to provide for themselves. When a process is sustainable, it can be carried out over and over without negative environmental effects or impossibly high costs to anyone involved.
Sustainable A product can be considered sustainable if its production enables the resources from which it was made to continue to be available for future generations. A sustainable product can thus be created repeatedly without generating negative environmental effects, without causing waste products to accumulate as pollution, and without compromising the wellbeing of workers or communities. It is more of a philosophy or way of life than a label.
Sustainable Agriculture Farming that provides a secure living for farm families; maintains the natural environment and resources; supports the rural community; and offers respect and fair treatment to all involved.
Synthetic Man-made: not of natural origin; prepared or made artificially.
Talalay latex In the Talalay process air is extracted from the latex foam and the latex is flash frozen, resulting in an "airier" latex. If you like a softer mattress, buy one made with Talalay latex. blog
Thread count Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads woven in one square inch of fabric. In general, the higher the thread count, the softer the fabric feels and the more pill-resistant it is.
Toxic Extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful and containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation. Merriam-Webster
Trundle Bed A low bed usually on casters that can be rolled or slid under a higher bed when not in use. Merriam-Webster
Tufting To make (as a mattress) firm by stitching at intervals and sewing on tufts. Merriam-Webster
Tung Oil Used as a finish for wood, tung oil is a powerful drying agent. World Book Encyclopedia
Twill weave A textile weave in which the filling threads pass over one and under two or more warp threads to give an appearance of diagonal lines.
Urea Formaldehyde Formed by the condensation reaction of formaldehyde [HCHO] and urea [CO(NH2)2]. These thermoset resins are clear water-white syrups or white powered materials which can be dispersed in water to form colorless syrups.
Veneer A layer of wood of superior value or excellent grain to be glued to an inferior wood.
VOC Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.
Wool The fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property.