You said you’ve done quite a bit of reading on this site, so then you’re aware that certifications don’t necessarily equate to “safety” or test for harmful substances. Certain certifications certainly are valid, but they don’t necessarily always equate to what one person might consider a “safe product.”
As you know, 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 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 or whether the materials are natural or synthetic or have an organic certification.
Most people that are looking for a “heavily-certified” or an “organic” mattress or materials are usually concerned more with “safety” than whether the materials have an actual organic certification but they have come to believe that “organic” latex/wool is somehow “safer” than latex/wool that doesn’t have an organic certification. Much of this can be based on some aggressive marketing about “organic” latex/wool which implies that it’s somehow “better” than non organic latex/wool. 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 such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also 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 you may have already read this, 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” 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.
The development of latex allergies tends to be an issue of repeated contact over time, usually with some sort of a transfer agent (such as talc in latex gloves), and deals more with dipped latex versus foamed latex. However, if you personally feel that having latex foam within a mattress is too much of a “risk,” then this makes the discussion of latex moot and you can cross that off of your list of items to consider based upon your personal preferences.
All 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 certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold or C2C and based on actual testing I would consider any type or blend of latex (regardless of whether it is natural or organic) to be a very “safe” material in terms of harmful substances and VOC’s (offgassing).
[quote]2. So was leaning toward buying a Cotton/Wool Futon from Soaring heart and this came with some questions like:
*The futon is made up of organic cotton/wool but not GOTS certified like their latex mattress. Does this mean the cotton/wool could have been processed with chemicals I don’t want my kids exposed too?[/quote]
The wool used by Soaring Heart is USDA certified and GOTS certified, and their facility is GOTS certified as well. Their certifications page [/url]lists this information here and their certificates.
You are best served by phoning Soaring Heart directly and having a nice conversation with them regarding all of your questions. Make a list and I’m sure they’ll be happy to address any of your concerns regarding certifications and the sourcing of their products. They are very helpful and take pride in their products.
When a company has a good reputation, backed up by objective third-party certifications, I would tend to take their word for it. At a time were the virtual anonymity of the internet allows anyone to post virtually anything online and have it be represented as fact, many times needlessly destroying the reputation of ethical and quality companies, it is imperative that businesses put out quality and accurate information. And as a business that is very focused upon strict quality guidelines for their products, and based almost entirely upon the accuracy of these guidelines, businesses like Soaring Heart by default are held to an even higher level of scrutiny, and a deviation from that would destroy their reputation.
There comes a time when you have to trust the information you’re being presented, based upon your own research of the product and proper vetting of the business itself (I encourage a phone call). After all, that’s what I do.
They use no flame retardant chemicals to meet the federal flammability guidelines, so if the product is certified then the wool would have ben enough to meet the standards.
Final product testing has to do more with the facility where the product is assembled being GOTS certified (Soaring Heart is). Individual component testing, depending upon the test, could/would test for harmful substances and VOCs. The Soaring Heart certifications page is here. Again, I think a nice phone call with your questions listed would certainly assist you in acquiring the information you desire to put your mind at ease.
What the GOTS home textiles standard covers is listed here. It focused on compulsory criteria and doesn’t ban anything. You can see that some of the standards are social in nature and have nothing to do with the “safety” of the product. Oeko-Tex is an actual test of the product for harmful substances and VOCs. Some of the other certifications Soaring Heart already maintains already certify many of the things with which you have a concern, so adding the redundancy of an Oek-Tex certification is quite possibly an extra expense that they don’t wish to pass along to the consumer. But again you’d have to ask them that question and the reasoning behind the certifications that they maintain (which are quite numerous). An omission of a particular certificate doesn’t necessarily equate to a particular product containing all of the products for which that particular certification tests.
As you know, Soaring Heart is a member of this site and I think highly of their knowledge and experience and their mattresses and futons all use high quality materials (including organic Dunlop latex, wool, and cotton and innersprings). They are very knowledgeable about the materials they use and are committed to educating their customers rather than “selling” them. I personally wouldn’t have a concern having my children use any of their products.
I hope that information is helpful!