Are there toxins in your mattress? – The Natural Mattress Guide shows you which materials to look for and which to avoid, helping you find a truly natural eco friendly mattress free from harmful toxins.
Standard Mattress Vs Natural & Non-Toxic Mattress
Most standard mattresses are made from a cocktail of potentially harmful chemical compounds which can release into our homes and the environment. This is because most mattresses, including expensive “luxury” brands often contain;
- Toxic Glues and Adhesives
- Chemical Fire Retardants
- Foams derived from petrochemicals
- Fabrics grown with pesticides and herbicides
These materials often off-gas a group of chemicals knows as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals which have a low boiling point and evaporate at room temperature – Easily polluting our indoor air. Most carpets, paints, furniture and mattresses release VOCs. Some VOCs are known carcinogens and have been linked to infertility, headaches, asthma, respiratory problems and a host of other negative health affects.
Creating a home without VOCs is next to impossible given the breadth of contaminants, but If you want a safer low VOC home one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is; Are there toxins in my mattress?
Buying a mattress which uses natural materials is the best first step towards improve indoor air quality and reducing your exposure to harmful VOCs in your home.
What is a Natural & Non-Toxic Mattress Made From?
Whats the difference between a normal and a natural mattress? Its all in the materialsIts. Most often natural mattresses will be a combination of organic cotton covers and fills, with 100% natural wool and/or natural latex toppers, supported with a base of either fabric encased pocket coils or 100% natural latex – Here is a breakdown of each;
An all natural mattress will use GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton for things like padding, fills and covers. So why organic? Is an organic mattress really necessary? After all, your not going to eat it…!
There are both health and environmental benefits to making sure your mattress only uses organic cotton;
Most importantly, organic cotton won’t be grown and treated with potentially harmful and polluting chemicals like pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, GMOs, petrochemical based dyes and anti-piling agents.
These chemicals can not only end up in the environment but in our homes as their residues remain trapped in the fibres themselves which can be absorbed through skin contact or by inhaling dust particles.
100% Natural Wool
Mattresses to be fire resistant. Fire retardants are often the most toxic chemicals in your mattress and contribute to that new mattress smell. Wool acts as a natural fire retardant, so no harsh chemical retardants are necessary. Wool is also antimicrobial, improves moisture control and temperature regulation. Look for pure wool which doesn’t have synthetic additives, as low grade wools are often bonded together with resins and glues.
100% Natural Latex – Dunlop and Talalay
Not all latex mattresses are created equal! 100% Natural Dunlop or Tally latex is manufactured using a water based non-toxic processes. Cheaper latex foams are synthetic blends which use petrochemical additives and fillers, and are often imported. You can read What Type of Latex Mattress is Best for a more detailed breakdown of the latex used in mattresses.
TIP – Indoor Plants will improve indoor air quality and reduce harmful VOC’s by soaking up toxins and purifying the air! – Find out which are the best species here
Beware of Fake Natural Mattresses
Its actually really hard to find out if there are toxins in your mattress because manufacturers large and small are taking advantage of the growing demand for natural and healthy alternatives. Many mattress companies are simply rebranding and repackaging virtually the same old products as ‘green’ or ‘eco’ to appear more environmentally friendly than they are.
In many cases natural materials are used in minute quantities just so products can be marketed as a natural/non-toxic. This makes it really confusing to identify fake and genuine claims, made worse by review sites which are also passing off standard mattresses as natural and non-toxic alternatives.
We as consumers must be more critical when people make claims about how sustainable or green their products are. If a company uses buzz words without any substantial evidence or certifications to back them up, they are more than likely exaggerating their “green” credentials!