Durability and toxicity: Natural VS. All-Natural latex

Latex Bliss offers both natural and all-natural talalay latex beds. Their natural talalay beds have a 20-year non-prorated warranty, and their all-natural beds have a 10-year warranty. Is there really that big of a difference in the durability of natural vs. all-natural talalay? You had mentioned in a post that in lower ILDs there is a difference in durability. Can you elaborate? And is it limited to only lower ILDs?

They use 40 and 36 ILD cores, with (it’s my understanding) 26 and 19 ILD in the “comfort layers.” I might be getting confused, and it may be the case that they use the 19 ILD in their toppers. However, I think I remember that they use a 14 ILD in their toppers and a 19 ILD in their mattresses.

Also- Synthetic latex is styrene-butadiene. Is this a petroleum product? Is it bad for you? Latex Bliss has the Oeko-Tex 100 certificate for both lines, which is supposed to be “safe for babies.” What is styrene-butadiene made from?

Love this site, by the way!

Hi Erroneous,

Differences in durability depends on many factors but in an “apples to apples” comparison then based on my research the difference in durability between them is real but in practical terms would be limited to the softer ILD’s which are used in the comfort layers of a mattress (and which are the weak link of most mattresses). How much this would affect any particular person would depend on how tolerant they were to the softening of the upper layers of the mattress and whether this put them over their threshhold of acceptable pressure relief and support.

You have probably read pros and cons article on the site which is here but there are more technical comments about this in post #2 here and more in post #2 here which is the basis for my belief for those who are more technically inclined. While there is no way to quantify durability exactly because there are so many variables (and there is more about the many factors involved in mattress durability in post #2 here) … in essence the lower the ILD you are comparing the more significant the differences would be up to the range that a materials would no longer be considered a comfort layer and used in the upper layers. So in the range of the upper 20’s … the difference wouldn’t be so much. In support cores … it probably wouldn’t make any difference. Once you get down to the low 20’s and high teens or below … then there could be a more significant difference in softening yes.

It would be rare for someone to notice a difference between them in thinner layers of say a few inches but in a complete mattress some people may notice a difference between the two materials.

As you mentioned … both materials are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 class 1 (safe for babies) certified and you can see the testing protocols here.

Latex international doesn’t provide the source of the chemicals used to make their SBR (Styrene Butadiene) but they are typically made from various petrochemical compounds … although this is not the only way to produce the raw materials. I believe that Oeko-Tex is a reliable test and that both materials are safe.

I am not a big fan of the confusing names they use for their 100% natural Talalay (they call it “all natural”) and their blended Talalay (they cal it “natural”). I think that they should be called natural and blended. The blend is about 70% SBR and 30% NR (Natural Rubber).

So the short version is that in an apples to apples comparison (all other factors being equal) … the Blended Talalay would be more consistent, more pressure relieving, more durable in the lower ILD’s, less dense and supportive, and less expensive. The 100% natural would be less consistent, less pressure relieving, less durable in the lower ILD’s, denser and more supportive and more expensive. Both would be equally “safe”.

The choice would really depend on how important having a natural material for either ethical or “green” reasons was for each person and whether the extra price of these natural/green benefits and any decrease in durability was worth having an “all natural” product.


Thank you, Phoenix!

So in comparing three of their models (one of which is too firm for me): The Pamper, the Nature, and the Beautiful:

The Pamper has a 6" core of 40 ILD and a 1" layer of 19 ILD. Sounds like there would be very little difference in durability?

The Nature has a 6" core of 36 ILD, a 1" layer of 24 ILD and a 2" layer of 19 ILD: Still over time not a big difference?

The Beautiful has a 6" core of 36 ILD, 2" later of 24 ILD and 3" of 19 ILD: Would you expect this to have a significantly shorter life if I were to buy the all-natural?

Also, will these mattresses really hold up for 20+ years? I’ve heard stories of solid latex mattresses lasting up to 35 years, but those were old probably 6" tall ones from decades ago.

I’m comparing these to some Organic Mattress International mattresses and liking the pricing on the Latex Bliss a lot better. I just want to know what exactly I’m getting myself into, and what to expect.

Thanks again, you are such a wonderful resource!

Hi Erroneous,

As you know … there are so many factors involved in durability that it’s hard to quantify exactly but your reasoning is exactly right that the differences would be much less in the Pamper, more in the Nature, and more yet in the Beautiful. There are too many factors to estimate if the beautiful would have a “significantly shorter” useable lifespan because it would depend on your personal tolerance to softening. It would be “more than a bit” though IMO yes and for some could be significant. This isn’t saying that 100% natural is a bad material either … it’s very high quality material compared to many other foams.

Bear in mind too that the ILD’s you listed are the ILD’s of blended talalay and that their “all natural” is different and usually rated differently. They are generally rated as N1 to N5 and the rough comparisons in terms of the average ILD of each is on the LI website here and ranges from 17 to 38 so the ILD’s of the “all natural” versions would be slightly different.

As you read in the durability posts I linked to … this will depend on many factors not the least of which is any particular person’s sensitivity to foam softening and how quickly this puts them outside of their individual range of comfort and support. For some it will and for some it won’t. It will not be likely to be a warranty issue (.75 exclusion) because the softening and the formation of impressions are different issues.

As you mentioned firmness and other factors are secondary issues in the durability of a mattress and the old mattresses that lasted for decades were usually just a single core without comfort layers. The current versions with a softer comfort layer and that are also often one sided won’t have a 40 or 50 year lifespan IMO but they will be more durable than the alternatives availalable.

If natural is truly important to you … then I would buy the model that was best for Pressure relief, Posture and support, and your Preferences (and the pamper doesn’t have a thick enough comfort layer to be suitable for most people) and buy it with the expectation that the odds are good that it won’t last as long as the blended. I would avoid the temptation of trying trying to make them closer together than they really are. The odds say that the differences between them will be “noticeable” and that’s just part of the tradeoffs that go with the “all natural” choice.