Learning the Lingo of Natural Mattresses
"Organic," like “natural,” is an evolving term. Most consumers want to understand not just labeling, but what actually makes a product safe and healthful. Here’s how to sort through the meanings of various terms.
Rubber trees are grown and harvested organically. Rubber tree sap, or serum, is processed into natural latex foam. Be wary of absolute descriptors such as “100%”—as in “100% rubber” foam or “100% natural latex.” Although appealing, these describe impossibilities. Usable foam cannot be made with 100% rubber serum as its sole ingredient.
"Natural latex" is an accurate term that means non-blended or non-synthetic latex. “Bio-hybrid” foams contain some rubber or plant oils, but are mostly synthetic. “Memory foams” are all synthetic; “natural memory foam” is a misnomer.
“Natural mattress” is a descriptive term. "Organic" is a descriptive term that can be broadly intended and interpreted. “Certified organic” is a legal term that specifies regulated and inspected organic growing, processing, and production methods. “Certified organic latex mattress” is not—yet. Agencies such as the USDA and various organic certification organizations are working to finalize specifications and requirements for various product labels.
For more information, please review our Certifications page, which includes links to independent authorizing agencies. Detailed articles about organic certification of latex can be found here and here.