Strong demand for natural non-toxic products has many manufactures adopting certified standards to let customers know how green and safe their mattresses are. However, some certifications are more meaningful than others, and many only address one specific layer within a mattress. Genuinely safe non-toxic mattresses will typically have several certifications which address different layers and components.
5 Common Mattress Certifications
CertiPUR-US is an organisation set up by the polyurethane foam industry, for the polyurethane foam industry. Foam products displaying its logo do not contain chlorofluorocarbons, PBDE flame retardants, mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde and some phthalates. CertiPUR-US certified polyurethane foam may be much better than foams without the certification, but doesn’t mean the mattress is necessarily healthy or eco-friendly. Polyurethane is still a synthetic petrochemical, and best avoided if your after a natural non-toxic and environmentally friendly mattress.
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is an international organisation setting standards for the processing of organic fabrics. The GOTS standard oversees everything from production and manufacturing, through to packaging and distribution.
GOTS itself does not regulate the growing of organic crops, but does dictate that products called “organic” must contain a minimum of 95% organically grown fibre, and products labelled “made with organic” must contain a minimum of 70% organically grown fibre.
- No Dyes with amine compounds
- No Heavy metals
- No genetically engineered fabrics
- No formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, phthalates and PVC
- No Polyurethane
- No child labour
- Living wage for employees
- Responsible treatment of wastewater
- Residue testing
GOTS certification also requires that the entire supply chain complies with GOTS standards. This is a highly regarded standard, just be sure to know what your buying; Is it labelled organic? (95% organic fibre) or is it labelled made with organic? (may only be 70% organic fibre)
GOLS – Global Organic Latex Standard
The Global Organic Latex Standard sets standards for organic latex production for those who want to display GOLS certification. There are provisions for the environment, workers and end users that everyone in the supply chain from farmer to manufacturer through to retailer, must comply with. Mattresses displaying GOLS certification must contain no less than 95% certified organic latex and there are strict rules as to what the remaining 5% may contain, with no allowable toxic chemicals.
- Pollution & waste management
- Ensures a living wage for workers within reasonable work hours
- No child labour
- No chemical fertilisers or pesticides
Confidence In Textiles
Established in 1992, the OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 claims all certified products are harmless to health by restricting and limiting the use of various chemicals.
Banned substances include but are not limited to:
- Heavy metals
- AZO and carcinogenic dyes
- Brominated flame retardants
- Chlorinated Phenols
- Phthalates (in baby products)
- Organotin compounds (TBT) and (DBT)
Annual independent lab tests on all certified products cover ALL elements used in a certified product, including zips, threads, buttons, prints and coatings. Be sure that the product your buying has up to date certification.
The Eco Institut is a highly regarded German based organisation, who emission test products to a very high standard. Uniquely this organisation certifies products as a whole, which will ensure the entire mattress is safe, not just a specific part of it! They only certify products which do not off-gas or contain residues of harmful chemicals. This is a comprehensive and voluntary certification which companies can choose to apply for. To do so products have to undergo a rigorous lab testing procedure. If you see the Eco Institut label, you can be sure the whole product is not harmful to your health and goes above and beyond meeting legal requirements.
Most certifications only deal with specific components within the mattress. Ideally, a genuinely natural mattress will have various certifications to address its different layers! Look for what components of the mattress have been certified. For example, the mattress cover might meet OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 standards, but the inner structure could be made from toxic low quality foam. Many mattress manufactures are trying to pass off their products as healthy non-toxic alternatives by using certifications, when in fact only a small fraction of the overall product is safe!