OEKO TEX 100 vs Organic Mattresses Chemical Levels

Phoenix -

In your opinion if a mattress is OKEO tex 100 certified with non-organic components vs having organic components will their be an actual difference in the chemical levels in the beds and/or effect on your health?

We are trying to decide on non-organic European Sleep Works mattress (no fire retardants, but with glues) that is OEKO Tex 100 certified vs an organic GOTS Naturpedic mattress that is more expensive and isn’t quite as comfortable. This is for long-term use for our 3 year old.

Thanks, Dan

Hi danwynn31,

Organic certifications (such as USDA certified organic and GOTS and GOLS) and “safety” certifications (such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard gold, or CertiPur) are completely different types of certifications that certify products based on completely different criteria.

Organic certifications start with raw materials that are USDA organic certified (such as cotton, wool, liquid field latex etc) and then if the raw materials are USDA certified organic then GOTS or GOLS certify the rest of the production chain from raw materials to a final product based on any additional chemical inputs and the rest of the criteria that are summarized here including fair trade and labor practices and the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes. They don’t do any testing on the final product for harmful substances or VOC’s after it is manufactured although it would be fairly safe to assume that they would be “safe” because of the restrictions of the organic certification process itself.

Oeko-Tex and other safety certification services on the other hand tests specifically for harmful substances and VOC’s on an actual sample of a finished product. Depending on the results of the testing it’s possible that a non organic product that is Oeko-Tex certified may actually may have less harmful substances or VOC’s than an organic product that is Oeko-Tex certified.

In most cases though … products that are certified organic will also have some type of “safety” certification such as Oeko-Tex as well because the only way to know whether a product is below the testing limits of a specific safety certification would be based on actual testing. The testing certifications only certify that a product is below the testing limits for the specific certification so it’s not possible to know which of two products would be lower in harmful substances or VOC’s regardless of whether one was organic and the other one wasn’t.

In other words … if organic farming and production methods are important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons then an organic certification may be more important to you and if “safety” in terms of harmful substances and VOC’s is your main concern then I would look for a safety certification and if both are important I would look for both.

There is more about the 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.