How "chemical-free" can "pure" Latex Be?

Good morning, folks. Thank you for the assistance in helping me choose the type of bed I need.
I am going with coils plus latex on top.

There could be a “snag” in the local manufacturer making my mattress. I mentioned to them again that I have allergic reactions to formaldehyde, phthalates and PBDEs. I can stand some VOCs (volatile organic compounds) but not too much. For instance the off-gassing from a new car or perfume is too much for me but I can sleep on a little memory foam if it’s 2 years old.
This is why my choice is “true”, “organic” latex - and I wanted to ask again and be sure they understood I have these allergies.

The manufacturer was going to use latex from Mountain Top but MT’s website says they only offer up to 85% organic latex. The manufacturer says the only chemicals in the latex is “a little ammonia”. Is this the case in “85% organic”? Or maybe Mountain Top has a more “pure” type I don’t know about. Manufacturer says they are asking MT’s chemists and lawyers to look into this for me to see if their latex contains the chemicals I am allergic to.
Manufacturer says if need be, he could order it from Latex International (do THEY have what I’m looking for? Does anyone? Does it even exIST? lol.) But he would only be ordering this 1 piece, for me, for a full-size bed. I’m concerned the cost will go way up beyond what I’ve already paid them to make me a “true, organic” latex mattress.

Thank you!

Hi LookingNow,

The most effective way to know the “safety” of a material is with the results of any testing and certifications for harmful substances and VOC’s because all materials emit VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), even fruits and vegetables, so the question is more about the “safety” of VOC’s and the specific type rather then whether a material has any at all.

All “chemicals” are not harmful.

PBDE’s aren’t used in North American foam manufacturing any longer and foams don’t generally contain them or phthalates. Some pthalates are also more harmful than others and the low molecular weight pthalates that are most commonly found in some vinyl or glues (or some of the other things mentioned in the Wikipedia article) are generally being replaced or banned in some countries. Formaldehyde is also not generally used in foam materials but all of these are part of what is tested for with testing protocols and certifications such as CertiPur (in the case of memory foam or polyfoam) or with the more stringent testing standards such as Oeko-Tex or Eco-Institut (in the case of latex). All of the latex you are likely to encounter has been tested through Oeko-Tex or Eco-Institut to be essentially free of these types of substances and VOC’s regardless of whether it is organic, 100% natural, or synthetic.

Mountaintop foam is now making 100% natural latex that has no synthetic latex in the formula. All of their latex though (regardless of whether it uses synthetic or natural rubber) has been certified to the same Oeko-Tex standard 100 certification (regardless of whether it uses natural or synthetic rubber).

All latex foam manufacturing uses some chemicals in the formulation to foam and make the latex (whether it is synthetic, 100% natural, or organic) which includes foaming agents, curing agents, antidegradents, gelling agents and others) and the GOLS organic certification for latex only requires that the foam core uses 95% organic rubber raw materials. There is more about organic certifications including for latex in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

The subject of mattress “safety” is very complex and and there is a great deal of misleading and inaccurate information all over the web (on both sides of the argument) but post #2 here may be a useful starting point that can help each person answer the question of “how safe is safe enough for me?” on an individual level because each person may be have different levels of sensitivity or be sensitive to different substances or levels of VOC’s and it’s generally not possible to find out all the chemicals that are in every material that you are considering. Some chemicals may also be fully reacted with others and be “bound” in the final product when they are combined (such as sodium and chlorine in salt aren’t harmful when they are reacted together but chlorine can be harmful by itself).

For those who are unusually sensitive or have medical conditions such as MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) asking for a sample of the material can be a good idea as this can tell you if you are likely to react or be sensitive to the material you are considering.



Thank you for your reply. I read all the links and information which helped educate me and also spoke to someone in the industry and it seems that given my body’s dislike for the chemicals I listed, “natural” latex, as pure as possible, would be what I’m looking for. So the 95-98% natural, since there’s no such thing as 100%…there has to be some curing package in it.

Mountain Top’s website is not updated to reveal that they do have such a product. They only list up to 85% natural. This confused me. I understand they do not cater to the consumer so they perhaps haven’t bothered to change their site. At least this is what I am told.

Organic cotton cover with wool, also.

Hi LookingNow,

You’re right on both counts. Mountaintop does make 100% natural Dunlop latex (100% meaning that 100% of the rubber in the formulation is natural and there is no synthetic rubber in the formulation) and it’s not listed on their site.


Thanks Phoenix

Although I was told that MT’s 95-98% natural is continuous pour, and that’s yet a third type of natural latex (the first two being talalay and Dunlop.) not sure if this is correct.

Hi LookingNow,

Post #6 here has more information about the different types and blends of latex. Continuous pour is a variation of the Dunlop method (which can also be poured in a mold).


Got it.
Also, I re-read your explanation of the 100% and see that too now.