Written by KC Ennis
In July of 2007 the infamous open flame fire code regulations went into effect, requiring all mattresses to resist an open flame applied to the mattress on the top and side for 90 seconds. As a result, many consumers began to seek out mattresses free from excessive chemical fire-retardants. Over the last two years there has been a proliferation of mattresses from manufacturers labeled as “natural mattresses”. Unfortunately, most of these mattresses do not deliver as advertised.
The only mattress materials that have natural origins are organic cotton, organic wool and 100% natural latex (meaning no synthetic latex has been blended with the natural latex from the rubber tree). Mattresses which are constructed using only these materials have yet to make their way into models from major manufacturers, although a limited selection of 100% natural (sometimes referred to as organic) mattresses have become available on the internet. The claims by many major mattress manufacturers, and some of the boutique “natural” mattress manufacturers, for natural mattresses are often misrepresented by a common advertising tactic known as “greenwashing”.
“Greenwashing” creates a minefield that must be carefully navigated by the consumer in search of a 100% natural mattress, free from chemical fire-retardants and off-gassing from V.O.Cs. In a New York Times article, The Stuffing Dreams Are Made Of?, Julie Scelfo states: “No government agency regulates the labeling of mattresses as “organic” or “natural,” and trade groups like the International Sleep Products Association and the Specialty Sleep Association offer their members no guidelines for using the terms. Throughout the industry — as a number of people within it acknowledged in interviews — promotional materials are rife with vague or misleading information. “The whole thing is a smoke and mirrors industry,” said Ralph Rossdeutscher, the president and owner of Natura World, a manufacturer in
Stick to the basics, organic cotton and organic wool (a natural fire-retardant) for the mattress cover, with only 100% natural latex used as the supporting layers within the mattress and you can rest assured on a 100% natural or organic mattress. Natural latex provides the additional benefits of unsurpassed sleeping comfort combined with its natural properties: hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, resistant to mold, mildew and dust mites. The most durable of all mattress materials, natural latex mattresses generally carry warranties of up to 20 years, with almost no deterioration or body impressions during that time period.