What is an organic mattress?
An organic mattress is a healthful alternative to conventional mattresses, which often contain toxic flame retardants and other synthetic chemicals. Many toxic chemicals are used widely in the mattress and bedding industries, and their long-term effects are worrisome. Materials commonly found in organic mattresses include natural materials such as latex, wool, and cotton.
The term “organic mattress” is not heavily regulated, and many companies make organic claims with little evidence to back them up. Mattress components, however, can be certified organic. See the certifications section for more information.
Why buy an organic mattress?
Finding the right organic mattress will decrease your exposure to chemicals you breathe during sleep or that enter your home environment in the form of dust. There is growing concern about the adverse health effects associated with mattress chemicals—ranging from dangerous flame retardants to polyurethane.
Memory foam mattresses are made of polyurethane with additional added chemicals to increase viscosity and density. Unfortunately, most chemicals introduced into the market have not been thoroughly tested according to the processes outlined in the Toxic Substances Control Act. Buying a mattress made with natural materials will ensure more healthful sleep.
As with organic food producers, organic mattress manufacturers cannot cut corners or add cheap chemicals to reduce costs and create a lower-quality product. Organic mattresses contain natural materials that are minimally processed to create a more healthful sleep environment.
Organic mattresses will outlast most conventional mattresses. According to Consumer Reports, foams (latex and memory) create the most durable mattresses—and the denser the foam, the longer it will last. Foam-core mattresses will typically outlast innersprings, wool mattresses, air beds, and futons. Mattresses made with natural latex foam often have a 20-year warranty, and it’s not uncommon for them to last longer.
Natural materials are better for the environment. For example, conventional cotton production makes use of tons of toxic chemicals which contaminate soil and water. Conventional cotton uses 3-5 times more pesticides than soy or corn fields, and accounts for 35% of total pesticide use worldwide.
A mattress made with toxic chemicals will degrade as toxic chemicals, whether in your indoor air, your bedroom environment, or a landfill.