by guest blogger, Gary Lovelace
originally published March 2014
Companies know that more and more Americans are growing sick and tired of hazardous synthetic chemicals, unfair trade practices, cruelty to animals and GMOs. Some companies have taken the lead and have done their utmost to produce clean, safe and sustainable products.
Though the production costs may be a little more, people see the value and are excited to participate in a new healthier way of living and thinking. Unfortunately there are many companies riding on the coattails of these pioneers of industry.
Companies not willing to fully clean up their acts but want to cash in on the healthy-minded demographic. Furthermore, our legislation has made it incredibly hard to distinguish the pure from the ordinary. This practice has been dubbed "greenwashing."
Greenwashing, or making you believe a product is natural when it is not, is incredibly prevalent in the mattress industry.
Unfortunately in the US, manufacturers do not have to label mattresses with any indication of chemical content and the term natural has very little regulation as to what it actually means.
You will even find memory foam which is a polyurethane elastomer labeled natural just because they add a small portion of plant oil to the chemical process. Though this does reduce the off gassing by maybe 5%, it is not what most natural minded people would consider natural.
Even natural latex that comes straight from the rubber tree is being blended with chemicals and other additives by many manufacturers to reduce production costs.
So how do you know what is truly natural?
Know who you are buying from. Make sure they are as invested in being natural as you are. The Clean Bedroom only stocks the purest natural and organic items you can find.
Know what to avoid. Just because it says natural doesn’t mean it is.
Stay away from any memory foam or gel memory foam. There is no way to make natural foams except for natural rubber latex from the rubber tree. Memory foam is always at least partially synthetic, and in most cases 90% synthetic or more.
If you are unsure if the sales person is telling you the whole truth, call the manufacturer. They will tell you what and how many chemicals are in the product.
Natural latex, if produced properly, is the cleanest, longest lasting and most supportive material you can make a mattress out of. It also repels mites. That said, you still have to be careful. This category is the most confusing and misleading of all and can drive you crazy trying to get to an answer as to what your mattress is actually made of. There are many mattress vendors selling mattresses that claim to be natural latex.
Some even have organic certifications. Unfortunately these certifications may only apply to the cotton covering or one layer of latex and some are simply made-up certifications. We have seen natural latex mattresses with what are mostly natural talalay latex top layer but…as you work your way down…the lower cores are simply petroleum-based foam or blended latex. Make sure to ask if the latex is blended. Blended means just as it sounds – the latex is blended with synthetic latex foam. They will claim that the added chemicals add stability and makes the mattress last longer but that is simply not true. They do it to cut production cost.
The key here is question, question, question.