Interested in sleeping organic, what am I missing?

Hi faliciajohnson1945,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

Your concerns about chemicals in mattresses … particularly in mattresses that use materials that have a reliable certification … may not be completely justified and I would keep in mind that there is a lot of “fear mongering” in the industry that is designed to convince consumers to buy more costly mattresses than they really need to.

There are also many people in the industry that IMO exaggerate the risk (usually in an effort to sell some very costly mattresses) and seem to believe (or at least want their customers to believe) that every mattress except for an “organic” mattress (however they define this) is somehow “loaded with chemicals” which is far from the truth but this type of misinformation tends to scare people and lead people down a rabbit hole of conflicting and misleading information … and of course is exaggerated and somewhat ridiculous.

There are many complex issues that are connected to the safety of mattresses and mattress materials (and about the chemicals that are used in our society in general) and there is a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information on all sides of the conversation. There is also very little definitive information available because in most cases the approach of the regulatory authorities is more towards allowing the use of chemicals until the evidence that they are unsafe becomes overwhelming and then changing regulations after the evidence becomes available than “proving safety” before they are approved (see post #19 here). On the other side of the issue there are many sources of information that use fear mongering tactics and make exaggerated claims that almost everything is “unsafe” unless it is completely natural or organic which to me is misleading and exaggerated as well. I believe that any extreme position on either side of the argument is unlikely to be accurate.

If you are interested in doing more detailed research about organic, natural, chemical free, safe, and green materials there is more information in post #2 here and post #2 here and the many other posts and sources of information that they link to that can help sort through and differentiate the more factual information from the marketing information you will encounter about all of these interrelated topics and can help answer your questions about “how safe is safe enough for me?” because there are no definitive answers that would apply to every person.

Most people that are looking for an “organic” mattress are usually concerned more with “safety” than whether the materials have an actual organic certification. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a “safety” certification is enough.

While it may be more information than you are looking for … there is also a lot more information in post #2 here and the more detailed posts and information it links to about safe, natural, organic, “chemical free”, and “green” mattresses and mattress materials that can help you sort through some of the marketing information and terminology that you will encounter in the industry and can help you differentiate between them and answer “how safe is safe enough for me” or “how natural is natural enough for me” and that can help you decide on the type of materials and components you are most comfortable having in your mattress or on the certifications that may be important to you. These types of issues are complex and are generally specific to each person and their individual sensitivities, circumstances, criteria, beliefs, and lifestyle choices.

The only reliable way to assess the “safety” of different materials in more general terms is based on lab tests and the certifications they have for harmful substances and VOCs (regardless of whether they are organic or natural or synthetic) so that you have some assurance than the VOCs are below the testing limits for the certification. If the materials in a mattress or the mattress itself has a reliable “safety” certification, then for most people they would certainly be “safe enough” … regardless of the type of material or the name of the manufacturer on the label.

I’m assuming that you’ve read the mattress shopping tutorial (which is the first place to start your research) but two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase to exchange or return the mattress if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for … especially if you can’t test the mattress before a purchase).

There is also more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here but all of the latex you are likely to encounter (either Dunlop or Talalay that is made with either natural or synthetic rubber or a blend of both) will have a reliable safety certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, or Greenguard Gold (see post #2 here) and based on actual testing I would consider any type or blend of latex to be a very “safe” material in terms of harmful substances and VOC’s.

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet the mattress shopping tutorial also includes a link to a list of the members here that sell mattresses online (in the optional online step) and many of them sell latex and latex hybrid mattresses that use different types and blends of latex (Talalay and Dunlop) that have a wide range of different designs (including component mattresses), options, features, return and exchange policies, and prices that that would be well worth considering.

There is more about some of the factors that can affect the price of a mattress relative to different manufacturers or retailers in post #14 here.

OK, I know this is a lot to take in, but your statement was a bit general so I wanted to cover any potential topics with which you might have a concern. As you’re considering latex, I personally would be comfortable with the “safety” of most latex mattresses.

As you go through these links and read, let me know what other questions might arise and I’ll do my best to be assistive.