I have talked with several manufacturers (more than just one or two) who have described some quality issues with their latex that has appeared in sporadic batches from time to time. When I talked with them about this (LI) they assured me that any issues were in the past (dating from some of the difficulties that they experienced with a past president convicted of fraud and possibly playing with their formulation several years ago) … but I still hear from manufacturers who are having issues at times which are persisting although they are not consistent enough to say they are a definite pattern yet. It does concern me to some degree and to the best of my ability I am keeping an eye on it and bringing it up in conversations and gathering feedback when I have the chance in my conversations.
On another possibly related note … I know that OMI uses their “all natural” Talalay latex and Pure Latex Bliss (owned by Latex International) has recently announced a new partnership with Yulex to produce all natural rubber based on Guayule instead of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree. Guayule is a low protein anti-allergenic form of rubber that can be produced domestically (see this video). See the articles here and here as well which talk about the new Guayule line of “Bio-Latex” mattresses. Perhaps OMI is now using Guayule based rubber in their mattresses which may also account for some changes in its properties and smell although I haven’t talked with either OMI or Latex International about this.
The Bed Times article is not loading (I linked to a cache version) so I’m adding a copy of the article after this post as a PS until the article link is repaired.
Pure LatexBLISS taps alternate rubber source
December 20, 2012 4:00 pm
Guayule plant parthenium argentatum
Guayule plant (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Mattress maker Pure LatexBLISS has entered into an exclusive partnership with biomaterials supplier Yulex Corp.
Phoenix-based Yulex manufactures and markets “biorubber” derived from the guayule (pronounced “y-u-lee”) plant, which the company cultivates in the American Southwest.
Yulex currently sells into a range of consumer, industrial and medical markets. The product is known for its natural elasticity, durability and softness.
According to the Yulex website, the species Parthenium argentatum is the only other plant, aside from the Hevea brasiliensis tree, that is used in commercial rubber production. Guayule is indigenous to the semi-arid American Southwest and Mexico and requires little fertilizer or pesticides.
The deal with Pure LatexBLISS marks the entry of foam rubber derived from guayule into bedding components. Pure LatexBLISS plans an introduction of mattresses, pillows and toppers at the winter Las Vegas Market Jan. 28-Feb. 1.
“When we discovered Yulex, we were convinced that this was an innovation we needed to bring to our product collections,” said Kurt Ling, president of Atlanta-based Pure LatexBLISS. “Not only does Yulex produce a high-performance biorubber, we were excited to learn that it is derived from a plant grown in the United States.”
Jeff Martin, Yulex president and chief executive officer added, “Yulex’s partnership with Pure LatexBLISS represents a new standard for creating sustainable, renewable and low carbon-footprint sleep products. This validates the growing demand from manufacturers to use renewable, health-friendly and local materials.”
According to a guayule Wikipedia entry, the plant’s use as a rubber source dates to pre-Columbian times. Guayule was intensively cultivated in the United States during two periods in the first half of the 20th century—when a leaf blight decimated the Brazilian rubber industry in the 1920s, and during World War II when the Japanese cut off U.S. access to Malaysian rubber.