What Makes an Organic Latex Mattress Organic?
The “Organic Mattress”
In the last decade or so, organic certificate standard has transformed from being the underdog to becoming peoples favorite. Organic certification might still be a somewhat new concept but it’s not staying there. It has gradually stretched out from fruit and vegetable to preserved foods to fabrics and like every other overachieving child is expanding into other end-user markets. Which brings us to the “organic bed”. What makes organic latex mattress organic?
Like everything else, when a new unique idea hits the marketplace, there’re ten new “knock-offs” in the morning. And the organic bed isn’t an exception. There have been tons of misinformation, misapplication, misunderstanding, and misuse about the organic mattress and like any good mother, we feel the responsibility to intervene, educate and clarify.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the ways the term “organic” has been applied and misapplied in the organic mattress world.
When it comes to organic certification, there’re two major bodies for organic manufacturers. The first one is the U.S. Department of Agriculture – short for USDA – and their certification is primarily focused and available in the US markets.
The second one is the Global Organic Textile Standards – short for GOTS certification. GOTS certifies materials and foods at two stages…
Organic: the contents must contain at least 70% organic ingredients and materials and on the other hand; “certified organic” which contains at least 95% “pure” organic ingredients and materials.
Even though it is not an officially-recognized USDA-approved certification, GOTS is widely used in European markets and on the rare occasion will appear in the American market. However, in the US market, only USDA’s organic standard is approved and deemed “official”.
Troubles with Organic Certification
Everywhere you look these days you will find one product to another claiming to be “organic” from fertilizers to preserved foods to mattresses. Take a closer look on the label. And if there’s no explicit USDA or GOTS certification, you’re more than likely dealing with a company trying to pass on their product as “organic” just so they could make sales.
According to The Washington Post, even when you see a strong USDA certification on some labels, it may not be completely accurate. Up to 5% of non-organic ingredients are approved by USDA as long as they’re also approved by the National Organic Standards Board. And sometimes few chemicals, that are anything but healthy, are allowed in approved products that are still labeled organic.
Sometime they will try to fool you with cross-talks about the latex industry and natural latex. The phrase “Organically grown” simply refers the processes involved in growing the rubber tree plant which brings liquid latex into being when tapped.
Organically grown latex is manufactured from a tree that is nurtured following organic agricultural standards. Be careful because this kind of latex can still be developed using harmful chemicals while camouflaging it as a quality mattress.
Organic Latex Mattress Production
It is possible – at least theoretically – to create completely organic mattress using the Dunlop method. Producing mattresses using the Dunlop method involves inserting the latex into a mold and letting it cool off. But in order to decrease particulate separation in the liquid, most Dunlop method used today add various stabilizers such as sulfur to give you the smoothest and strongest latex mattress possible.
It is impossible to have a 100% organic product, because latex sap alone can not be formed into the latex layers without using a few natural adhesives. Talalay latex is manufactured with specific equipment. And there’s no comparison to the incredibly soft and quality latex the talalay process offers.
Talalay Latex Process
After the sap from the natural rubber tree has been collected, the latex has to be transported from the rubber tree estate to the processing facility.
So, in order to preserve the latex in its fluid form, chemicals must be added to slow the liquid latex’s natural congealing process – usually ammonia. Some argue that ammonia completely evaporates or burns out in the vulcanization process may be open to interpretation, however, the strong proof remains that the final product cannot be certified as “pure” organic as ammonia has been added. A big factor to consider is where you bought you talalay latex mattress. With a number of manufacturers available, some have a very pure talalay latex.
Natural Mattress Matters carries the cradle to cradle certification on our talalay latex, which is one of the highest standards in the industry.
What Makes Organic Latex Mattress Organic
Manufacturing mattresses that are completely pure and chemical-free can be a challenging process. And it’s more than likely, that mattress you’ve been eyeing through the window that’s labeled “organic” is, in fact, have only one component like, a wool mattress topper or an organic Dunlop core that’s actually 100% certified organic.
So when shopping for “organic latex”, the safe cause of action would be to ask where the latex was originally grown, how it was transported and how it was treated during production.
As you can already tell most mattresses claiming to be “organic latex mattress” are not entirely telling the whole truth as most are not even entirely natural. If you want a natural mattress and bedding, the good rule of thumb is to make sure that you are buying from a trustworthy retailer.
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