Do You Know Which Mattress Is Right For You?
[AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER AWARENESS GUIDE]
If you are in the market for a new mattress and have started researching, you’ve probably noticed the vast array of options, from memory foam and latex to organic cotton. Mattresses are not created equal. Every mattress company has different goals and their own unique vision when it comes to what type of a product they introduce into the market. Some companies only focus on price, or they think about comfort but completely ignore the organic/chemical free perspective.
When shopping for a new mattress, it is important to know the facts. There are so many mattress manufacturers it can be difficult to figure out which one will not only provide you with a safe product that is suitably comfortable but will also align with your values around organic certification, ethical sourcing, truly chemical free, high production standards, clean transporting, and healthy living.
Peter, our founder, suffered severely from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), and Organature® was born out of a need to alleviate his symptoms, so we only work with products that are safe for his use and with those he has fully researched.
During his research, there is one topic in particular that Peter discovered to be full of misleading information, and that’s the Myth of 100% Natural Latex Mattresses.
What does this claim of 100% Natural Latex really mean?
But Their Website Says “100% Natural Latex”
Anyone claiming their mattresses to be 100% natural latex is misleading the public. People often say to us, “Oh I have a completely NATURAL LATEX mattress. They assured me of that when I bought it!”
There is no such thing as a “Natural Latex Mattress”… only Natural Latex IN a mattress!
What is Natural Latex Really?
Latex is the natural sap from a rubber tree … but the sap needs to be converted first, so it can be made into a mattress.
For latex to bake into the layers that form a mattress, curing agents must be added. This means that the final product is never truly 100% Latex. It’s impossible to turn raw sap into foam without these additives, so whenever you see that “100%” language, know that there might be a bit more to the story.
These additives used in Latex Mattress Production may not be harmful to the health of the general population, but they are there and should be accounted for when looking at purity, percentages and the “Natural Nature” of a product, which is especially important for people who are already susceptible to allergies, asthma, attention deficit, depression or other sensitivities effecting the immune system.
This brings us to the next question …
Why Is The Phrase “100% Natural Latex” Misleading?
Many companies mean well with this language and their products may indeed contain natural latex from the rubber tree. However, to create the latex layers used to produce mattresses, chemicals must be added to cure the product. Adding curing chemicals to the natural latex sap creates a serum. This serum is then whipped into a liquid foam, poured into molds, and baked. If you were to simply bake the sap and not add anything at all to the mixture, it would just be a runny mess.
The highest amount of natural latex possible in a mattress is 95-97%. This means the remaining 3-5% consists of the curing additives that initiate vulcanization, which is the technical name of the chemical process used to harden rubber.
What Chemicals Are Used In That Extra 3-5%
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is the first global standard set up by the Control Union for organic latex. One of the qualifications for this certification is that the product contains at least 95% certified organic raw material.
But what about the additional material?
We looked online and found this …; “The additives are mostly comprised of sulphur and zinc oxide. Heating the raw rubber with sulphur allows the latex to transition from a liquid to a solid. The zinc oxide helps protect the latex from early oxidation.”
Peter recently asked a Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) producer to disclose which chemicals are used in latex production. Here is a transcript of the conversation.
PETER: We are often asked what chemicals are used to produce our Organature® products. All our Organic cotton fabrics and filling we use, and products are to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which does not permit the use of harmful chemicals. Are you able to disclose those which are used to produce the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) latex?
ORGANIC LATEX PRODUCER: We are using the chemicals as per the attached list. This is the standard for latex foam production. See below …
PETER: If that is the standard for latex foam production, I have another very important question:
“What gives the GOLS latex an organic certification?”
ORGANIC LATEX PRODUCER: The method of farming makes it Organic. We are maintaining our plantations as per NPOP & NOP Standard. GOLS, like GOTS do permit the use of, maximum 5%, other product providing it is not harmful to human health.
Are The Chemicals Used In Latex Production Harmful?
We deal with a lot of people who have problems because of chemicals in the environment where they live and work. There are also many who may not have a distinct problem but want to avoid chemicals because they have become aware that exposure to chemicals (often ones you cannot even smell) are responsible for most of the ill health and general un-wellness in our society.
We Said We Will NOT Use Latex In Our Mattresses!
GENEVIEVE (Organature Business Manager): We looked into using a latex option as we have some clients who find our mattress too firm for them — Personally I love our mattresses just the way they are and hate sinking into a mattress when I stay in motels, where they are most likely memory foam, but after much research and for the health of ourselves and our customers, we decided against it.
That was a few years ago and after some research we have Changed Our Mind!
During one of my, (Peter), visits to our supplier in India I was introduced to some ‘Baby Cocoons/Shells’ in the showroom which I found out contained latex. I did not have any adverse effects when I entered, nor during the few days and hours, I was in that the showroom.
I queried the owner: ‘Why are you using latex in these baby cocoons together with the organic cotton fabric”?
His reply: “Because the latex has certification under GOLS”.
I decided to investigate further and as a consequence received the above information noted under:
What Chemicals Are Used In That Extra 3-5%
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is the first global standard set up by the ‘Control Union’ for organic latex. One of the qualifications for this certification is that the product contains at least 95% certified organic raw material.
Upon request the latex manufacturer supplied Organature with two Queen pads ‘GOLS latex’ wrapped in ‘GOTS’ organic cotton flannel fabric which I tested on an Innerspring unit: (not a complete mattress) by sleeping on it several times for some up to seven nights.
I found it rather comfortable, but BEST was the fact that, although I am chemically sensitive, I had no adverse effects from the chemicals in the latex and had good night’s rest.
The result is “GOOD NEWS” that we soon are able to supply GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) latex core surrounded with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Organic cotton filling and fabric outer cover innerspring mattresses, futons and toppers and continue to provide all customers with our tried and tested range of Organic Cotton Innerspring Mattresses, Futons and Toppers, which we have been producing for babies, children, teenagers and adults of all shapes and sizes, since 2004.
You can read about some misconceptions here:
How About Using Pocket Springs In Your Mattresses?
At this stage we will not be manufacturing pocket spring mattresses. Pocket spring units currently available in Australia, (imported from China), are made from Polyester Pockets which for obvious reasons we will not use. Furthermore, pocket spring mattresses are generally produced with a layer of synthetic foam or latex, in some instances also with a layer of synthetic felt on the springs.
If there was another way, we could make the mattresses to suit the requirements of all people, we would love to, but there is currently no way we can ethically do this. We could attempt to create a ‘partly organic cotton and partly toxic mattress’ but that is not a healthy option and not our desire to promote and sell, thus our current mattress range is still your best option if you require one which is TOTALLY TOXIC FREE.
Any natural product, be it wool, kapok, straw, or cotton, will compress to a firm surface over time. It is when manmade fibres are added that it then reduces the firmness and adds softness. Unfortunately it’s a necessity for these fibres to be converted with chemicals.
If we added any of these various toxic components to our mattresses it would also not be approved under our Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certification.
I hope that this has helped you to understand a little more about the process involved and why we cannot simply make a mattress to different comfort levels at this time, other than our new GOLS latex /GOTS organic cotton. We really are restricted by nature which I don’t think is such a bad thing.
Are Bio-Hybrid and Eco Foams any better?
Bio-hybrid and eco foams are not truly natural either. Adding the words ‘bio’ and ‘eco’ make them sound better again, but they are usually a blend of synthetic and latex, which means they can still include formaldehyde and an array of other harmful chemicals.
The only standard that is regulated properly are GOLS “Certified Organic,” so look out for those words when shopping for a mattress. A mattress that is also GOTS certified is always the safest choice.
What About Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a synthetic material that retains your body heat. It is this chemical reaction created by your body that allows it to move with you, relieving pressure points.
While this is effective at first, it is not a durable material and will not have nearly as long of a life as an Organature® Mattress. Then there is also the issue of harmful chemicals out-gassing from the memory foam itself, caused by heat from your body. Isn’t your health more important?
Why Should I Choose An Organature® Mattress?
WE IMPORT FROM A FIRM WITH GOTS CERTIFICATION; only our goods are transported in a clean container; transported to our storages by a family member, we manufacture to clean GOTS standard, we have no cross contamination.
Peter, our founder suffered for many years severely from M.C.S. (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). Knowing this makes it easy to understand why we only manufacture, produce, sell, and supply products that are safe for his use, and for the use of our customers who are ready to IMPROVE THEIR WELL-BEING, care deeply about THE HEALTH OF THEIR FAMILY or want to MAINTAIN THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE, long into the future.
Peter also feels that some standards are just not comprehensive enough to include details about what the organic fibres encounter during the storing, transporting, packaging and manufacturing process either. The existing standards do not cater for the needs of people with chemical sensitivity. Peter always aims to achieve above certification standards. This is the reason we make our own bedding and bed linen under our control in Australia.
You can have greater peace of mind knowing that Organature® aims for above organic certification standards,
in everything we do.
One More Thing …Be Wary Of Advertisers Using The Word “Organic”
To include ‘Organic’ in any advertising is easy, but make sure you find out what every component is first. As an example, some firms in Australia advertising Organic Cotton Mattresses; upon investigation only the outer fabric was claimed to be organic cotton but certification was not found.
So many people go blindly into purchasing ‘ORGANIC’, when in fact it is mostly used as a hyped-up marketing word! However, please be aware of the enormous lengths we go to, to provide you with genuinely cleaner, healthier, harmful-chemical free products. It all comes from a very personal level.
Organature® Mattresses are made with 100% Organic Cotton Filling and Fabric, (AND NOW also GOLS latex), Certified GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and this includes the fabric on the springs which you cannot even see. This provides you with the best, natural and non-toxic alternative for the entire family, delivered to your door Australia-wide.
We know that removing chemicals from your sleeping environment is essential for optimizing your body’s ability to rejuvenate itself.