I have been reading a lot about blended latex vs natural latex articles and sometimes I wish I could punch the internet in the throat because of all the contradictory information I find. Some websites claim that blended latex does off gas since it is created with 60-70% petro materials. Then other websites say that it does not off gas because they clean the material before it is shipped. Can anyone put this to rest on some official studies that have been done? Also, even if it doesn’t off gas, can you body still absorb any of the chemicals? Also, is the blended latex still microbial and dust mite resistant?
My wife and I are trying to have a baby and I fear of chemicals being absorbed and affecting the pregnancy. Can anyone put my mind at ease?
P.S. Does Latex International or Radium produce superior latex products?
From a strictly scientific perspective it is inaccurate to claim that any material does not off-gas. They all do, even steel off-gases. It is really more about how much they off-gas and whether those materials are potentially harmful.
Blended latex typically is 50~70% synthetic petroleum based product by nature and therefore I would say that it is less than ideal compared to true 100% natural rubber based on the off-gasing as well as hypoallergenic properties of latex foam (the natural proteins in natural hevea milk are responsible in large part for these properties).
That being said, blended latex off-gases a LOT LESS than standard polyurethane foams so is still a big improvement. I will admit I am biased however I believe going to all natural latex product over synthetic usually is not that much more expensive. Perhaps you can shed some light on what options you are looking at?
I agree with you that much of the information on the internet is very misleading.
As Daniel mentioned, all materials offgas and the real issue is how much and whether the offgassing is harmful.
I think the only reliable way to know is through the various testing protocols that test for VOC’s and harmful substances that can leach out of a material. Once of the most stringent of these is OekoTex Standard 100 and you can see what they test for here.
Almost all the latex you will encounter is OekoTex tested and this or a similar testing protocol (where the testing standards are disclosed) is really the only scientific way to know with any reasonable certainty.
If a material is OekoTex certified or has been tested with a similar standard then I personally would have no worries with offgassing or the leaching of harmful substances (OekoTex tests for both).
You can read about some of the differences between natural rubber and synthetic rubber in post #2 here.
Both companies produce high quality blended Talalay latex (both are 30% natural and 70% synthetic) and 100% natural Talalay latex (where all the rubber in the product is sourced from the rubber tree and there is no synthetic rubber in the material).
There is no general consensus on which one is better and different manufacturers may prefer one over the other which means that they are very close although in the last few years it would probably be fair to say that Radium has had fewer sporadic quality control issues and has been more consistent than Latex International however LI has been committed to improving their quality control recently so hopefully some of the issues they have had in the past are behind them.