Does anyone have any knowledge about viscolatex?

Is it really made from latex? I’d doubt it based on the product costs of the items below. Or maybe the walmart viscolatex is different than the back2sleep visco-latex.


Hi yogiyoda,

Whenever you see “green tea” combined with “activated charcoal” and “silver science” you know you are dealing with a product made by Zinus which is a Chinese manufacturer which produces many different brand names including Spa Sensations, Keetsa, Night Therapy, spirit sleep, Vivon and many others. All of them use lower quality/density memory foam (typically 4 lbs or less) and tend towards exaggerated “green” claims.

In the case of viscolatex, it’s quite probable that there is little if any latex in it at all (I remember seeing a walmart product recently which had “latex” in the name which had 1% latex in it). Their pillow is basically 2.5 lb memory foam with no mention of latex being part of the formula at all and they strongly imply here that there is none at all (when they talk about there being “none of the latex allergy issues”) or at the very best a small amount of synthetic latex. Memory foam with a density this low tends to have very little “memory” and of course is not nearly as durable as higher density products (which also explains the price). They punch holes in it to make it more breathable and lower density memory foam also is more resilient (comes back faster) and that (the fact that latex also has pincores and is very resilient) along with perhaps a tiny percentage of synthetic latex in the formula is probably what “justifies” the “latex” part of the name.

The bottom line is that it is basically cheap memory foam which has been misrepresented to take advantage of the perceived quality of latex products.

The only good news is that Zinus is CertiPur certified so at least it has been tested for harmful chemicals and offgassing and that WalMart has a great return policy.


Thanks Phoenix. That’s a lot of useful info. What you say makes sense. Also, maybe the product at back2sleep is different from the Walmart product. In some of their images I think they’re claiming a 4lb density for visco-latex.

And in a previous link they state “Visco-latexTM is a patented hybrid foam formed from Memory Foam and Natural Latex Foam… and more like latex is a reflexive type of foam that supports a person’s body weight” But I bet you’re right and there’s not much actual latex in the product. The prices are too low.

But whatever the stuff is, they aren’t charging much for it. And people really seem to like the Walmart version – if the user ratings a Walmart are to be believed.

Hi yogiyoda,

You’re right that 3-4 lb memory foam would be more typical for a Zinus mattress or topper while pillows will often use a lower density version of the same material. The same material can be made in different densities (like all polyfoam and memory foam). Because the same “type” of memory foam and polyfoam can be made in different densities, without knowing the density of a specific version of a product … the quality is unknown (and I tend to assume less rather than more).

The description on the Back2Sleep site conflicts with the Spa Sensations site (about having natural latex in the mix) and I don’t find it believable. The fact that the version of viscolatex in the WalMart topper includes the description “airfoam” (like the pillow) indicates to me that it is a lower density version. The shipping weight seems to confirm this because the product is 4.69 cu ft (73" x 37" x 3") and the shipping weight is 13.05 lbs. This means that the product is an average of 2.78 lbs per cubic foot and because the top memory foam layer density is probably higher than this average, the visco-latex is probably lower density.


Thanks Phoenix. Clever way to get the topper density. So it appears that the Walmart viscolatex has a density of around 2.5 and doesn’t really claim to be made from latex. The back2sleep product has a different spelling Visco-Latex (with a hyphen), claims to include Natural Latex and claims a 4.0 density. Could very well be different stuff. But I agree with you, I think it’s unlikely to have much (if any) real latex in it.

Still the reviews on the Walmart topper are very good (which is what caught my eye). So I guess “cheap” foam works for a lot of people. It’s funny the best selling topper on Amazon only has a three pound density but it’s user review are great. There are even people coming back 3-years later to still praise how good the topper is holding up. I’m beginning to question the idea that higher density foam is a superior product.

Hi Kevin,

I can understand your confusion. This is exactly the type of confusion that most of the industry works to achieve and is what allows them to “de-spec” their mattresses, charge whatever they think the market will bear, make whatever comparisons they think people will believe, and tell whatever stories they think people will trust enough to buy their mattress without ever being really held accountable. “This is just as good as that” is an easy story for many to believe when it is accompanied by “cheap” attractive prices and there will always seem to be “evidence” to support it. There are people who are happy with their 10 year old 3 lb memory foam topper on top of sagging innersprings with collapsed foam underneath it and they will tell the world that they have the best mattress in the world … and from their eyes it’s true.

Regardless of all of this though, once you get past subjective perceptions, opinions, stories, and the conflicting “evidence” that seems to support both sides of every story, there really are more objective facts behind all of this and while every fact may not be important to each person … the difference between these facts and the “stories” that are rampant in every part of the industry are there to know for those who want to and for those where knowing the facts can make a difference.

For someone who is happy sleeping on a mattress that sells and is only worth a few hundred dollars and where the foam softening or shorter lifetime doesn’t affect how the mattress feels to them (or how they feel about the mattress) … there is absolutely no point in spending more … no matter who else may think it is. My biggest issue though is when someone believes it is equivalent to something that is much higher quality and much more expensive and they believe the stories that convince them that it is.


I agree Phoenix. The way mattresses and toppers are marketed is kind of silly. Like the name “viscolatex” for a non-latex product is a little sneaky. And if these tactics are taken to the extreme and used to give people poor quality products at an unfair price, that’s wrong. If they don’t exist already, there should be some kind of “sunshine laws” in the mattress industry to prevent the worst instances of this deceptive marketing.

On the otherhand, I can’t really get worked up about the best selling Spa Sensations and Visco2 toppers of the world. Maybe they aren’t the highest density foam. Maybe they aren’t made in America. Maybe they’re marketing is a little silly. But they’re priced fairly. They last for years. They’re certified as relatively environmentally friendly. And most importantly, people like them. (If I remember correctly, Consumer Reports did an informal study and more testers liked the Spa Sensations topper than Tempurpedic. Also, the best-selling status and user reviews speak for themselves.)

Yes, you can buy an American-made 5 lb foam topper that will last twice as long. But if it cost 3 times the amount and sleeps hotter is it really worth it. It is if you can afford it and you happen to be in the group that likes the feel more. But I’m not sure that is the majority.

Then again maybe, as part of an evil Zinus scheme to take over the world, all the rave reviews are planted and the CertiPur rating is fake. In which case, I retract all previous statements :slight_smile:

Seriously, I don’t claim any expertise myself. I’m just a dude with some sleep issues. One of them is that I have a thin good quality spring mattress, but it is a little too firm for me now. I’ve tried latex and also a couple different high density memory foam toppers. Both were way too hot for me. And I didn’t like the bouncy latex feel. So next up is a Snugfleece Elite in the mail. If that’s not enough, I’m going to try a topper underneath (maybe a cheap breathable one first). …open to any suggestions.


Hi yogiyoda,

I agree with these sentiments for the most part. There is some evidence that about 75% of people will be happy with any mattress they buy at least initially because it is better than what they are sleeping on (which is their point of reference). I personally use about 70% “approval” in reviews as being the “norm”. I also take this with a grain of salt because it is only the people with the strongest opinions on either side of the spectrum who tend to write reviews so the majority of purchases that are in the middle ground of just “OK” are not normally heard from.

In addition to this many of the reviews are really reviewing the suitability or wisdom of their choice (it’s too hard, soft, not supportive, perfect etc) rather than the quality of the mattress itself which can’t really be known for a much longer time. How long the mattress gives them the pressure relief, alignment, and feel that is “perfect” for them is one of the biggest issues in quality and value but is not really dealt with in the majority of reviews. I sometimes find it funny when a reviewer talks about the quality of a mattress when they have no idea about the materials that are in it. This is where the knowledge of the relative durability and the different characteristics and lifetimes of different materials can be very valuable. Even the cheapest materials can be used to make a mattress that feels amazing … it just won’t stay that way for long. Because the changes are more gradual though and different people have different tolerances to sleeping on a surface that may not be the “best” for them or relate their gradual development of symptoms to other causes … they may not realize the effect their mattress is having on their overall wellbeing. Relating comfort and alignment to the quality of a mattress can be very misleading because it is more about how good a choice someone makes and how influenced they were by the highly managed perceptions of the showroom environment.

In addition to this … I place a high premium on some type of certification for safety … particularly in the area of memory foam where there is so much market confusion and there are so many products where their safety is questionable. There really is a health issue with various chemicals and offgassing with some materials and the quality control of different foam manufacturing methods that are used which can have both short and long term gradual consequences which most people will not relate to their mattress. Some people are more sensitive to this than others (both with short term symptoms they can identify and longer term symptoms they may not connect to their mattress) and in some cases even the testing threshholds are higher than some people’s sensitivities. The short term symptoms of a more “toxic” material can be very unpleasant and even frightening. The longer term symptoms are mostly hidden and usually not related to the materials in their mattress (or elsewhere in their environment). Because we spend so much time in such close proximity to our mattress … it is IMO the most important piece of furniture that we own and also can have a greater effect on our overall wellbeing than almost anything else we own.

Because of all this … my goal is not so much to try to get everyone to buy a more expensive or higher quality mattress but more to help give people a more objective way to measure the value of what they are buying according to their “value equation”. Part of this is also helping people identify sources where their odds of buying better value are much higher. Lower priced materials that are “safe” and can perform well for a particular individual for 3-5 years can be good value for one while for another person with different needs, preferences, or tolerances … even a slight bit of softening can lead to backache or aggravate other symptoms. A 2" layer of memory foam for example that “wears out” in a mattress that otherwise has good materials and the layers underneath are still performing well will be far less noticeable than a 3" layer of the same material that wears out and causes issues.

That’s funny :slight_smile: My only answer to that is here.

I think this can be a very good choice … partly because of a thicker layer of wool’s ability to cushion pressure points and partly because of wool’s other benefits including the sleeping microclimate and temperature control. If that’s not enough for the pressure relief you need … a low cost but reasonable quality polyfoam or memory foam topper can also be a good choice and changed out when it’s comfort degrades to a point where it isn’t working for you any more. If your mattress is still in good shape and the main issue is pressure relief … this can be a great option.


Thanks. Any recommendations for “higher value” foam that won’t sleep hot? Like you suggested, if the wool topper alone doesn’t work, I was even thinking of buying PU foam - maybe from some place like Looks like you can get a high range of different ILD and density PU foam there. Apparently, you can get even get densities from 1.8 to 3.0 lb/ft3 in “soft” and “very soft”. Of course with no reviews there’s no predicting as to what they’d actually sleep like.

Also, any tips on how to turn into one of those hybrid creatures without backbones. I imagine that makes finding comfortable sleep surfaces easier :slight_smile:

Hi yogiyoda,

There are basically 3 types or categories of foam. These are memory foam, polyurethane foam, and latex. As a subcategory of memory foam there is the emerging category of gel memory foam (and other gel infused foams). While there is a wide range of differences in each category, memory foam tends to be the warmest, polyfoam is next, and latex is the coolest and most breathable of the foams. Adding gel to a foam would in most cases make it slightly cooler than the base foam it was added to but this would depend on the particular version of gel foam that was used and where it was located in the mattress (closer to the surface would be better). Gel that is added as larger particles that can migrate out of the foam is the least durable version of the gelfoams IMO while the gel that is added as part of the foam matrix itself (such as the swirl type of gels) or that use smaller particles that are embedded in the foam struts are more effective and more durable based on all the discussions with “experts” and the feedback I have seen. There is much more about gel materials in post #2 here and the information and posts it links to.

The more open celled a foam is and the less you sink into it (regardless of the type), the cooler it will tend to be. Certain types of fabrication such as punching holes into the foam can also make a difference in certain circumstances (if the air can flow freely and the holes aren’t blocked by lying on it or by other layers of less breathable foam). The fabric that is used in the mattress ticking (cover) and the materials that are used in any quilting attached to the cover can also play a big role in how cool a mattress sleeps. Natural fibers will generally be much cooler than synthetic polyester fibers. There are also phase change materials such as Outlast or Coolmax which can slightly reduce the sleeping temperature. How hot a mattress sleeps is a combination of several factors part of which is the person on the mattress and part of which is how deeply you sink into the foam in the mattress, the breathability of the foam itself, the moisture regulation properties and breathability of the materials in the quilting and ticking, any special ingredients such as phase change materials that are added into the foam or the fabric, and the type of foam itself.

In terms of foam quality, outside of density (which is the most important aspect of durability), I would first make sure that a foam was CertiPur certified which means that it has a much higher chance of being safe. My second quality choice among CertiPur certified foams would be North American manufactured because I know that all of the major North American foam manufacturers are making good quality foams.

In terms of value … this would depend on the price that I paid for a particular foam. the first place I would look is local foam outlets that assured me they carried North American foam. Because this is their business, they tend to be fairly knowledgeable about foams in general and usually have a range of different qualities (densities) available. They will also be able to tell you which of the foams they carry are more open celled and cooler. Aside from this … an online foam outlet such as foamonline would make a good choice. In their case I have talked with them and they were open and knowledgeable about what they carried and the differences between their different choices. Some of the options on their website are different from their current products though so a phone call to find out what they have would be helpful.

The highest quality foams are called HR which are made with “high performance” chemicals and have much higher performance levels than lower quality foams. These have a density of 2.5 or higher, a compression modulus of 2.4 or higher, and a resilience of 60% or higher. They are the highest quality polyfoam but are also more expensive. The next quality level down would be HD (high density) conventional foams which are generally in the density range of 1.8 lbs and higher. Both of these can be made in any firmness level from very soft to very firm. Foams that are lower than 1.8 lbs density are starting to go into the lower quality range and once you are down to 1.2 lbs and lower you are in the very low quality and durability range. This doesn’t mean that they are not suitable for use … only that they may need to be replaced much more frequently. One of the reasons that lower density foams are used (besides that they are cheap) are because they also tend to be more open celled (more air and less material). 1.5 lb foam is fairly common in the “better” low budget mattresses where the prices don’t justify the use of higher quality foams (although this and even lower density foams are also used in some very expensive mainstream mattresses). In support layers … I would not use anything less than 1.8 lbs. In the comfort layers … I would use softer foams with as high a quality/density as my budget allowed.

The foam outlets are usually pretty good at telling you the relative qualities of the foam they sell. There are also various places where you can buy toppers using various materials and some of these are also very low cost and often have partial specs on the site. A forum title search on “topper” will bring up lots of hits but this thread includes some good sources of various toppers (mostly memory foam but also many others).

I still remember when we were planning how to de-spec every mattress on the planet … but that’s another story. To this day though I keep looking over my shoulder just in case “they” find a way to dissolve my backbone with some new wonder potion they develop in their inhuman chemical labs. If they finally catch me (and “Latex” would have some things to say about that) … I’ll see if I can steal some of their potion and send it to you. I’ll put it in a red pill :slight_smile:


Wow, thanks for all the info. A few more questions. How do we know CertiPur certifcation means anything and that legit testing and inspections were done?

Also, if a foam manufacturer is mentioned on the CertiPur website, does that mean that all their foam has passed testing or maybe just some of it? For instance, if the Spa Sensation (Zinus) foam had been approved by CertiPur, you would think their product descriptions would brag about that. And if manufactures aren’t advertising CertiPur certification, how are you supposed to know what has it.

Also, are there other testing agencies besides CertiPur. For instance, the description for a 4lb topper at Amazon brags about being environmentally friendly with no mention of CertiPur (instead mentions PURGreen):

“Environmentally friendly processes used to make our memory foam. This makes our toppers more “green” and eco-friendly, by the use of earth friendly processes. Our toppers have also earned the PURGreen certification, which means they are manufactured, fabricated and packaged in the U.S.A. meeting all EPA and CSPC standards being safe and free from harmful chemicals. PURGreen uses independent laboratory results to qualify products and ensure they are manufactured without the use of ozone-depleting substances such as Chlorofluorocarbans, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether substances, Harmful Metals, Formaldehyde, Prohibited Phalates or any other unsafe materials. PURGreen also implements baseline requirements such as conserving water, energy and other natural resources in the manufacturing processes established through internationally accepted ISO standards and procedures in order to receive certification.***There may be a new foam smell associated with your new topper; however, this odor is not toxic or harmful passing all PURGreen, EPA and CSPC standards. MADE IN THE USA.”

Hi yogiyoda,

Good questions!

CertiPur* is an offshoot of the European EuroPur program and is an industry effort to differentiate North American and reasonable quality foam from the flood of cheap and inferior and often toxic foams (particularly memory foams) that are flooding the market from China. While there are some better Chinese manufacturers, there are many more that are quite frankly cheap junk.

ADMIN NOTE: *Removed 404 link|Archived Footprint: & replaced with latest CertiPUR page

The program involves testing for chemicals and offgassing and for durability* (using recognized ASTM standards) although in practical terms some of the foams they certify are not good quality or durable materials so I would consider them to provide some assurance about the relative safety of the foams they certify and not consider them as providing any assurance about the quality or durability of the materials that are certified. The certified foam manufacturers are required to prove that the testing has been done at an approved lab or in some cases give an affadavit about their production methods. There’s a great deal of information on the site. While the program is in house and not independent like Oeko-Tex, the testing criteria are fairly close to Oeko-Tex standards.

ADMIN NOTE: *Always check CertiPur site for the latest guidelines available

Each manufacturer has to test each different category of foam separately and their approved foams are listed here*. Almost all of the North American foam manufacturers are now approved even though the program is still relatively new. In addition to this there is a small but growing list of mattress manufacturers here* who have chosen to be certified as using CertiPur foams although this is a very small percentage of the total because the mattress manufacturer listings are relatively new. I usually find it sufficient to know that the foams that are in a mattress are certified because there are many mattress manufacturers who do use certified foams who aren’t on the CertiPUR list even though the manufacturers that make their foam are.

ADMIN NOTE: *Removed 404 link|Archived Footprint 1: | Archived Footprint 2:

At this point … with the mass confusion in the market especially with memory foams … this type of certification is really the only way to know that you are getting relatively “safe” foam … especially if they are made in China.

If a manufacturer won’t tell me or any consumer where their foam is made (to make sure it is made in North America) or if it is CertiPur certified, especially with memory foam, I would just pass them by because the odds are too high that it could be uncertified which means that you wouldn’t have any assurance about the relative safety of the foam. Sometimes this involves some detective work into foam names, trademark applications, import records, ownership records, patent applications, deep internet searches, industry publications, inside sources that I know that provide me with information, and other places as well to try and track down who makes some mystery mattress or the foams in it and where they come from.

There are too many who will provide this information though to spend much time trying to track down the ones that are unknown. This is one of the reasons I like local manufacturers because the better ones take the time to use materials that they would let their own family sleep on. I have spend many hours with some of this but it can be an ongoing and frustrating process sometimes and I’m just one person and it’s not my main priority of course to track down every one of the hundreds or even thousands of mystery manufacturers and foams.

There are a few more reputable agencies besides CertiPur and OekoTex such as Eco-Institut and LGA and greenguard but most of the “logos” you will see that look official are bogus or meaningless (such as PurGreen) becasue they don’t provide any information about the specifics of what they are testing for. If you look here you will see an ad by a group called the polyurethane alliance advertising for someone to make them a PurGreen logo. You’ll notice that none of them are CertiPur members.

It’s a jungle out there!!! :slight_smile:


CertiPur was also created by an “Alliance” of some players in the foam industry – the “Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam”. This Alliance also paid someone to create a logo. Maybe the difference is that the US based alliance also created a pretty website to advertise their pretty logo :slight_smile:

Also, I’m still confused as to why Spa Sensation etc wouldn’t brag about CertiPur approval if they had it. Maybe only certain memory foams for each manufacture pass the test.

Hi yogiyoda,

I would suggest that you read the CertiPur website to see what their standards really are and the level of information they provide. While the program is run by an alliance of polyurethane manufacturers, it is connected with the PFA which is a legitimate organization of American polyurethane manufacturers which provides good information on their website. If you can show me the same level of specificity about PurGreen or the “Polyurethane alliance” then I’d be happy to see one more legitimate testing standard that has open protocols whether they are inside the industry or independent.

I certainly don’t consider the CertiPur program as being perfect but it is a real step in a good direction of certifying foams for safety and reasonable standards of quality and more importantly giving consumers some reasonable assurances that what they are buying is “safe” for most people within reasonable standards.

I think as time goes on you will see more and more manufacturers advertising that they are certified in one way or another but the program is too new for it to have “taken root” throughout the industry. There are so many consumers who will “buy” almost any “convincing” story they are told under the belief that “they wouldn’t get away with saying that if it wasn’t true” that until the sales of uncertified foam start to decline there is little incentive for many “cheap” manufacturers to go to the expense or trouble of either having their foam or their mattresses certified. Consumers are also part of the problem when so many buy for cheap prices alone instead of buying for value. This is made worse because there is so little factual information easily available in the industry and so many “stories” that are so easy to “buy”.

As long as there are so many people who want to believe what they are told without doing their own research or asking better questions because they can feel good about the “deal” they got, the “cheap” industries will continue to thrive regardless of quality or safety. IMO … there is a difference between cheap junk and inexpensive quality and between transparency and stories and there is enough good information out there that consumers who take the time to do their homework can fairly easily avoid buying into the “stories” that are so common in the industry.

Cheap can be very expensive in the long run in more ways than just price. Sometimes there is no way to know every data point that someone may want to know (as I mentioned in the last post) so then “preponderance of the evidence” and making choices where the odds are in your favor is the most effective direction. As you mentioned, many manufacturers only have some of their foams certified (Zinus for example only has their memory foam certified not their conventional polyfoam) and in some cases this may be why they don’t list themselves or meet the standards. My main concern personally is the quality and safety of viscoelastic memory foam (which is the biggest issue IMO from both a safety and quality perspective) rather than all polyurethane foams although I would prefer to see them certified as well.

So hopefully this will help you understand that the stories you “want to believe” are also worth researching and aren’t always as good as they sound on the surface once you have discovered some of the facts behind them :slight_smile:


Thanks for the info.

I hope CertiPur is a step in the right direction. But it seems to still be run by people who have an interest in selling PU foam. If there isn’t already, seems like there should be an outside agency regulating things. Especially, if there are legitimate concerns about the safety of some of these products. Ever make a call to Ralph Nader? He may be able to give you a few pointers on how to take on the powers that be and look out for the consumer’s interest :slight_smile:

Hi yogiyoda,

I personally prefer accurate information and transparent self regulation that addresses legitimate concerns than outside “regulators” but that is more of a political and philosophical preference than anything else. I have no wish to be a “Ralph Nader” or to see more “regulators” become part of our lives.

If you read the details and standards on the CertiPur site … I can’t imagine that you or anyone wouldn’t see it as a step in a “good” direction. Of course there are legitimate arguments against anything and specific concerns by some individuals that apply to a smaller group of people who may be either more sensitive or have different preferences (and reasons for them) about what they may want to include in their mattress. The industry as it now stands is far from perfect to say the least :slight_smile:


Yes, CertiPur is a step in a good direction. But when I look at the some of things they are checking it causes me concern.

Low Emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality
Made without ozone depleters
Made without PBDE flame retardants
Made without mercury, lead and heavy metals
Made without formaldehyde
Made without pthalates

They are checking these things because they are unhealthy. And they must be checking for this because some products are being made with those things. So, this organization can be seen as implying that if people today are buying non-CertiPur foam that they could be buying dangerous products.

Not every consumer has the time or desire to spend hours researching every purchase they make. There should be (and hopefully are) laws to prevent people from selling unsafe products without clearly disclosing the fact. There should be (and hopefully) are laws prohibiting blatant lies in marketing. Organizations like CertiPur should be around to indicate that some products are of superior quality. They shouldn’t be needed to indicate that products are safe. That part should already be handled.

To get less “political” for a sec :dry: Just an update on my sleep situation. I now have the Snugfleece. It feels nice, but doesn’t help with the pressure points. If anything it’s worse. It also, made my topper free mattress warmer, but still within acceptable range. I may next try putting some foam under the Snugfleece to see if the Snugfleece prevents the overheating issue. But at the moment I’m experimenting with a very large Mayan hammock. It seems pretty promising so far. Plenty of support with zero pressure points.

Hi yogiyoda,

[quote]Yes, CertiPur is a step in a good direction. But when I look at the some of things they are checking it causes me concern.

Low Emission (VOCs) for indoor air quality
Made without ozone depleters
Made without PBDE flame retardants
Made without mercury, lead and heavy metals
Made without formaldehyde
Made without pthalates

They are checking these things because they are unhealthy. And they must be checking for this because some products are being made with those things. So, this organization can be seen as implying that if people today are buying non-CertiPur foam that they could be buying dangerous products.[/quote]

I think CertiPur and other testing standards came about because most people just don’t know what to believe and it provide a means to know that something has an objective standard. In essence … it “forces” more and more manufacturers to provide some objective standard for their claims rather than “getting away” with saying whatever people want to believe because what they are buying is “cheap” or “sounds good”. In general people tend to “want” to believe that something that is cheap is “almost as good” or “probably safe” when it may not be. The problem is that they have no way to really know without at least some objective standards. Standards that are not yet “ideal” are at least better than none at all.

The fact is that there are many materials that are used in mattresses sold here that include substances, heavy metals, and chemicals that are now banned in the US. Even in the US these chemicals were used for years before what was previously thought to be “safe” was recognized as having the potential or even likelihood of causing serious health issues in certain people over periods of time.

While this general topic is outside of just the mattress industry itself … it is clear that “regulatory agencies” in almost every area have done a completely inadequate job of preventing health issues or enforcing reasonable standards. Their fundamental premise in many cases is that it’s OK until the evidence is overwhelming that it’s not. It should be the other way around.

Any basic research on the internet in many different fields (agriculture and the medical industry are two that instantly come to mind) will show innumerable instances of materials that have been used for years or generations and were only banned in some countries when the evidence that it was causing serious issues became overwhelming. There have been many cases of products that are imported with toxic materials that have been sold for years until they were discovered. This is in spite of the fact that evidence existed all along that these chemicals or materials or products were likely to be unsafe. The evidence that they are unsafe tends to be minimized in the pursuit of “cheap products” or “vested interests” while the evidence that they are “safe” tends to be exaggerated or in many cases is incomplete or uses testing standards that are too low.

I wish these laws were on the books or even more importantly were enforced … but in general they aren’t. The belief that all the major products we can buy are “safe” is naive IMO when there is so much overwhelming evidence that this is not the case in so many industries (and again a detailed discussion about this is outside the scope of a mattress forum but the evidence is easy to find). There are also marketing standards or laws “on the books” but they are also notoriously difficult to enforce and usually require examples that are so far over the line that they are ridiculous.

CertiPUR-US is more to make sure that a product is not harmful (although some people may still be sensitive to CertiPUR certified materials) and to differentiate the “worst” from the “rest” rather than being some assurance that a product is superior. Just because a product is CertiPur certified doesn’t mean it is high quality … only that the odds are greater that it is not “junk” and that it is more likely to be “safe” for most (but not all) people.

Objective reference points along with more and more consumers learning how to tell the difference between price and value and insisting that what they buy is not based on claims that can’t be validated but on real information that is transparent is the only way to really increase the odds that what you are spending your money on is “worth it”. It seems somewhat odd to me that you are putting so much effort into “challenging” one of the very sources of this more “objective” information that could save you the very hours of research that has already been done. I believe your faith in the integrity of much of the information out there or in the effectiveness of the “regulatory system” that is in place or in “claims” that are unsubstantiated is misplaced.

Nobody wants to research every purchase in every micro detail but the information about how to do so if someone wants to should be available. This is especially important with major purchases that can have a significant effect on quality of life and mattresses are without doubt among, or IMO the single most important furniture purchase that someone can make.

What “should” be happening is very different from what “is” happening in many industries (including mattresses) and in the end it is only the efforts of people who spend their money to insist on certain standards or transparency and their willingness to be more skeptical than they are that will be the main engine of “change” in this and many other industries. If consumers were more willing to insist on more complete disclosure and were more willing to spend their money in the direction of value rather than just price or “claims”, then IMO … changes would happen much more rapidly than they are. This is as much a “cultural” issue as it is a “regulatory” issue.


Hi yogiyoda,

If the wool isn’t enough to give you the more localized pressure relief that you want or need … then a foam layer would be the logical next step. The degree of pressure relief that each material will provide will also depend on what is underneath it. Wool on top of very soft foam may actually reduce pressure relief (because it can compress and prevent sinking in as much which can reduce how evenly weight is spread over the body surface) but on top of firmer materials can improve it in certain areas (such as a sensitive hip joint).

Because wool can also wick away moisture into the core of the wool fiber (30% of it’s weight) rather than allowing it to remain close to your skin and is also much more breathable than foam and the moisture evaporates more gradually… it can certainly help to regulate temperature for those who sink too deeply into heavy density foam which is lower on the “breathability” scale and tends to be more insulating and sleep warmer. Of course each person can have a different temperature range in which they are more comfortable and some people even like the fact that most memory foam sleeps hotter than other materials because they tend to sleep colder. Wool tends to even out temperature though in both directions which is where the “cooler in summer and warmer in winter” descriptions come from. How it affects each person depends on how hot they are sleeping and on which direction the temperature regulation of wool moves their sleeping temperature.

I’d love to hear the results of your experiments in the Mayan Hammock. It’s an intriguing idea as compared to more “traditional” hammocks but your feedback about how it affects your alignment on an “everyday” sleeping basis would be interesting.