Independent, third-party certifications from reliable authorities are the best way to verify the safety and healthfulness of mattress materials. While there are some certifications not on the following list, these are the most recognized organic mattress certifications.
GreenGuard evaluates mattresses for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Finished products are placed in vacuum chambers and air samples are tested with gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and similar technologies. To meet GreenGuard standards, formaldehyde, total VOCs and individual VOCs must be below allowable limits. The GreenGuard GOLD standard requires the highest level of purity, and certifies products as safe for the most vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
GOTS is the most reliable standard for certifying a mattress material as organic. A GOTS-certified material has passed proper and thorough inspections throughout the supply chain. Third-party agencies such as Oregon Tilth and the international Control Union certify materials to GOTS. Look for GOTS-certified organic wool and cotton.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
GOLS certifies finished latex as organic. Some latex producers who use the Dunlop processing method have been awarded organic certification for their natural latex foam. Achieving GOLS certification means that the producer uses organic growing and harvesting methods on rubber tree farms and that the processing of the rubber serum into foam is also certified organic.
Oeko Tex Standard
Oeko Tex tests raw, intermediate and end (finished) textile products for hazardous chemicals. A material or whole product with illegal chemicals will not pass the rigorous Oeko Tex 100 standard. Other toxic chemicals are tested for as well.
Cradle to Cradle
Created by Europe’s Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA), Cradle to Cradle certification represents a powerful and profound revisioning of the goals of manufacturing. It requires that a product or material meet standards for five sustainability categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy, water stewardship, and social fairness. It reflects commitment to the entire life cycle of a product and its impact on human and environmental health.
Certipur-approved foams may not contain PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ester) flame retardants, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, or ozone depleters. The Certipur certification also ensures low VOC emission levels.
Organic Content Standard
This standard uses the Content Claim Standard (CCS) as a guideline for determining compliance. The CCS gathers supply-chain information to determine whether or not a given material complies.
TIP: Some companies provide consumers with independent testing for VOCs and other toxic chemicals. Reports from third-party labs detail and further support the findings from certifying authorities.
The Control Union, an international organization, is a materials certifier that evaluates compliance with given standards. The Control Union inspects and evaluates rubber tree growing operations for compliance that meets the USDA’s National Organic Program standard and the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).
A nonprofit organization, Oregon Tilth is the best-known organic certifier in the United States. Oregon Tilth inspects materials and manufacturing facilities according to a variety of standards, including the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the USDA’s National Organic Program standard.
Based in Cologne, Germany, TUV Rheinland’s mission is to develop a positive relationship between manufacturers and the environment through the assurance of product safety and quality.
The Eco Institut tests materials for a variety of harmful chemicals including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, pesticides, formaldehyde, and phthalates.