Researching latex VOC content and outgassing, specifically Botanicore latex made by Lien A

Hi,
I am a new member here. This is my first post. I am a consumer, researching for myself and am not in the industry.

I take research to the next level

I have some observations and questions about latex core chemical composition.

Since there are so many definitions, marketing claims, and conflicting information about 100 % natural latex, 100 % pure latex, and 100 % organic latex, I decided that the only way to really weigh the health risks is to see what actual Volatile Organic Chemicals are in a specific finished product, and what and how much is actually outgassing, and decide for myself if that amount of exposure is acceptable to me or not.

And the best way to do that is to read the VOC test reports for that product.

So I am focused on a 2" latex Botanicore topper made by Lien A. (Retailer claims to be 75 Ild.)

More specifically I am looking at the content and outgassing of Styrene Butadiene (SBR), formaldehyde, flame retardants such as Halogenated chemicals, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) DCCA., TDCIPP(also known as “chlorinated tris”), TCEP Tri’s, Firemaster® 550, Flamebreaker TM Silica (which has Dimethyl Sulfate)

Boric acid fire retardant is in some cases replacing PBDE’s, which according to the EPA “is of moderate acute toxicity, and has been placed in Toxicity Category III for most acute effects including oral and 3 dermal toxicity, and eye and skin irritation.”

What I know so far about the product and the company.

Botanicore is the product.
Claim 100% tree rubber, no Petroleum, no synthetic latex, Dunlop manufacturing process. (Eco INSTITUT tested. Found this out by calling brand retailer/owner, and from Lien A Website)
botanicore.com/html/products.html

J and W marketing owns the Botanicore name.
jandwmarketing.com/brands.html

J and W Marketing owns / is Bedrooms and more. Article with more claims about botanicore.
bedroomsandmore.com/why-bedrooms-more-choose-botanicore-for-our-mattresses/

Lien A is the manufacturer. They are in Viet Nam. They claim 100% Natural Latex. Claim Latex was certified by ECO Institute,

Wow what a goose chase.

So I called Jeff the owner of J and W marketing and he read me some of the Eco INSTITUT test results for Botanicore on the VOCs. I am going to get a copy and look at it more closely as VOC testing is one of Eco INSTITUT’s specialties.

In fact there was VOC outgassing present such as formaldehyde. It was all below the safety limits for the tests, but I will have to look closer at the amounts.

I have read advice on this forum that if it is made by the Dunlop process it should be safe, and also if a product is tested and certified by Oeko-Tex, Greenguard, Eco INSTITUT, it should be safe.
I would like to point out that neither of these pieces of advice means that the latex is totally absent of carcinogenic VOC’s.

I even read here that certipur tests latex.
This is not true according to the Certipur website FAQ page.
certipur.us/faq/
ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint 1: botanicore.com/html/products.html| Archived Footprint 2: jandwmarketing.com/brands.html |Archived Footprint 3:bedroomsandmore.com/why-bedrooms-more-choose-botanicore-for-our-mattresses/|Archived Footprint 4: certipur.us/faq/

A: The CertiPUR-US® program only certifies flexible polyurethane foam for bedding products and upholstered furniture. Latex foam is outside the scope of our certification. It is possible for a manufacturer to include a layer of latex in a mattress that contains certified polyurethane foam. In this case, as long as the flexible polyurethane foam is certified, the manufacturer would be allowed to use the CertiPUR-US® seal. You should contact the mattress manufacturer to ask if your model contains latex.

Also I am aware of the sulfur and ammonia used in the manufacturing process, and that they are supposedly dissipated, or removed during the process.

Any info about Lien A, Botanicore, or knowledge of chemical specifics would be welcome. Such as opinions on health safe exposure amounts for formaldehyde.

.

Hi mattress strain,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! … and you are certainly taking on quite a research project that I hope is “worth it” to you :slight_smile:

[quote]In fact there was VOC outgassing present such as formaldehyde. It was all below the safety limits for the tests, but I will have to look closer at the amounts.

I have read advice on this forum that if it is made by the Dunlop process it should be safe, and also if a product is tested and certified by Oeko-Tex, Greenguard, Eco INSTITUT, it should be safe.
I would like to point out that neither of these pieces of advice means that the latex is totally absent of carcinogenic VOC’s.[/quote]

While there can certainly be exceptions to anything and there can be some people that can be sensitive to a material or ingredient (even in small amounts) that the large majority of people would be fine with … for the most part 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 certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, or Greenguard Gold 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.

Of course as you pointed out a certification only confirms that a material meets the testing limits of the certification and not that there are absolutely no harmful substances or VOC’s that can be measured.

While it may not be as detailed as you wish … 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 for harmful substances and VOC’s 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.

There is also some information 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 and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here that may also be helpful.

[quote]I even read here that certipur tests latex.
This is not true according to the Certipur website FAQ page.
certipur.us/faq/

A: The CertiPUR-US® program only certifies flexible polyurethane foam for bedding products and upholstered furniture. Latex foam is outside the scope of our certification. It is possible for a manufacturer to include a layer of latex in a mattress that contains certified polyurethane foam. In this case, as long as the flexible polyurethane foam is certified, the manufacturer would be allowed to use the CertiPUR-US® seal. You should contact the mattress manufacturer to ask if your model contains latex.[/quote]

You are right that CertiPUR Us only tests polyfoam and memory foam and as you know whoever wrote that they also tested latex was incorrect. I would normally correct a member that posted this in my reply but I may have missed it.

Good luck in your quest and I hope you find all the information you are looking for and that is important to you :slight_smile:

Phoenix

Phoenix,

Thanks for the response.

As for the research being worth it to me, I do it because I enjoy it, of course knowing stuff isn’t always worth it, and usually raises even more questions.

During my research I read most of the referenced info before I posted.
Seems a lot of greenwashing, and claims can be made that are misleading. The terms 100 % natural latex, 100 % pure latex, and 100 % organic latex can all mean many different things and or nothing depending, Is all very frustrating.

Do you know anything about Lien A, or Botanicore?

If I run across that certipur statement I will post the link. I think I can find it again on the forum.

Hi mattress strain,

As you probably know already … when you spend a lot of time researching down to more and more granular details and more specific information it can lead down a rabbit hole and sometimes you may find that all the information you hope to find either isn’t available to you or that there isn’t any consensus about what some of the information you discover really means or how relevant it may be.

[quote]During my research I read most of the referenced info before I posted.
Seems a lot of greenwashing, and claims can be made that are misleading. The terms 100 % natural latex, 100 % pure latex, and 100 % organic latex can all mean many different things and or nothing depending, Is all very frustrating.[/quote]

You certainly won’t get any argument from me that there is a great deal of misleading or confusing information in the industry.

You can read a little more about “100% natural latex” in the first part of post #7 here. 100% “pure” latex really doesn’t have any specific meaning because the word “latex” doesn’t differentiate between whether it is synthetic or natural so 100% synthetic latex could also be considered to be 100% pure latex. Certified organic latex refers to foamed latex that is at least 95% natural rubber and also meets the other organic certification criteria that are in the previous posts I linked.

This would be 75 kg/m3 density … not the ILD of the topper. You can get a sense of how the density relates to ILD in post #2 here.

They are one of the major latex producers in Viet Nam (see here) and while you don’t see their latex as much in North America as Latex Green, Arpico, or CoCo latex … the few retailers or manufacturers that I’ve talked with that are familiar with them think highly of them. They make molded and continuous pour 100% natural Dunlop latex.

Phoenix

Have the Eco Institute test report for the Botanicore. This is where the rubber meets the bedframe.

I have a list of chemicals I am going to look for, especially fire retardants, and formaldehydes with various names. Then I will research formaldehyde exposure dosage risks.

I am curios if Cocolatex has similar Eco Institut test results for formaldehyde VOC outgassing in their latex core. Working on getting the full test results.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find some amount of formaldehyde content is present even in the most tested latex cores, and that it is an acceptable health risk.

The VOC outgassing information is knowable if there are test results, and it is relevant to this product and industry, and personal health. There might even be other people interested in knowing this information, or how to research it themselves.

I am not a chemist but I have had some classes and testing on Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response and also DOT hazmat, so I know how to make sense of the test reports by researching the chemical hazard and exposures. It is interesting.

Thanks for the info on Lien A

Hi mattress strain,

As you probably know formaldehyde exists in nature and there are natural sources for formaldehyde that is at background levels in ambient air outside of any VOC’s that come from products or building materials (including plywood and engineered wood products … see here) that you may have in your home. There is some interesting information about formaldehyde exposure and background levels in homes and various cities here and here that may be of interest to you.

Some of the comments in posts #32 - 36 here and in posts #5 - #21 here may also be of interest.

Phoenix

Phoenix,

Thanks for the info. Read all of it. Some great info on formaldehyde.

I am familiar with formaldehyde in building materials, never took the time to study the health risks in depth though.

It is interesting the exposures in everyday life that you wouldn’t even think about that I studied in class.

Arsenic in pressure treated lumber,
Metal fume fever from zinc oxide fumes when cutting and welding galvanized steel,
Silicosis from exposure to dust from Perlite Vermiculite, and Zeolite expanded volcanic glass,
mesothelioma from Vermiculite dust
Pulmonary fibrosis and mesothelioma from exposure to fiberglass insulation fibers,
Synthetic vitreous fibers.
copper poisoning including Metal fume fever
Creosote.
asbestosis and mesothelioma from asbestos
Hanta virus from rodent droppings
Mold
Hydrogen sulfide (sewer gas) H2S
Lead

After reviewing the test report for the Botanicore, and reading up on formaldehyde health studies, I am not concerned about the amount of formaldehyde in this latex core. It is .002 ppm, well below the NIOSH Recommended exposure limits in air, for an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 0.016 ppm.

The test showed positive results for toluene, benzene, and xylene.
I am familiar with these and know that they are considered cancer causing (carcinogenic) especially benzene, and I really don’t like them being in there in any amount.

Doesn’t anyone make this latex without serious solvents like these?

At least I can tell from the report that it is a non synthetic latex.

Hi mattress strain,

After reviewing the test report for the Botanicore, and reading up on formaldehyde health studies, I am not concerned about the amount of formaldehyde in this latex core. It is .002 ppm, well below the NIOSH Recommended exposure limits in air, for an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) of 0.016 ppm.

The test showed positive results for toluene, benzene, and xylene.
I am familiar with these and know that they are considered cancer causing (carcinogenic) especially benzene, and I really don’t like them being in there in any amount.

Doesn’t anyone make this latex without serious solvents like these?

I think the amount of any particular substances would be more important than whether they are present at all since all three chemicals you mentioned are also in background amounts in outdoor and indoor air and have other sources as well besides just the materials in a mattress.

The only reliable way to know whether any latex material contains any chemicals you are concerned about and how much they may contain would be based on any available testing results.

Phoenix

Thank you for all the info on this site as I am researching for a natural bed that is good for allergies and for my whole family. I visited Bedrooms and More yesterday as they are located where I live in Seattle, and they sell Botanicore. I’m trying to decided if Talalay or Dunlop is “better”. Bedrooms and More claims that their Botanicore is 100% natural Dunlop latex since it does not have the synthetic chemicals added in the Talalay process. Their mattresses did seem firmer than the Talalay mattresses I tried at a different store, and also pricier. I’ll keep looking both locally in Seattle and also online.

Hi kgroth,

I switched your post to a new topic of it’s own so your questions and comments wouldn’t get mixed in with another member’s topic.

The most common allergies are to dust mite particles and other airborne small particles rather than the materials in a mattress. There is more information about dust mites and allergies and methods that can be used to control dust mite populations or other allergens in post #2 here and in post #3 here. There is also more about allergy encasements in post #2 here.

The choice between Dunlop and talalay is a preference choice not a “better/worse” choice. There is more about the differences between them in post #7 here but the best way to know which type of latex you tend to prefer will be based on your own testing and personal experience.

There is also more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here but both Talalay and Dunlop come in 100% natural versions (which don’t contain any synthetic rubber in the formulation) and in blended versions (which contain a blend of natural and synthetic rubber in the formulation). All latex formulations including 100% natural latex (Dunlop and Talalay) also contain other substances such as foaming agents, curing agents, antioxidants and others besides just the rubber that is used to make the latex core (see the first part of post #2 here).

You may have seen this already but just in case you haven’t … the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Seattle area (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here) are listed in post #2 here.

I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding … and of course any other comments or questions you may have along the way.

Phoenix