There is no doubt that the word “organic” has become synonymous with health, especially when it comes to food. But these days a lot of mattress businesses have started announcing the huge benefits of “organic” mattresses for adults and even babies. There are even some model mattresses that are made with soybeans, infused with green tea, and stuffed with coconut husks. The companies that are selling these mattresses claim that they can have a significantly positive effect on the user’s overall health.
Currently there is no government agency regulating the labeling of natural or organic mattresses, so you pretty much just have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. To make matters worse, trade groups such as the Specialty Sleep Association don’t offer members any guidelines at all when it comes to using these terms. Ralph Rossdeutscher, president and owner of Natura World, a manufacturer located in Cambridge, Ontario, stated that there is a lot of misleading information out there that consumers should be aware of. A lot of people agree that what is in the mattress they purchase is the most important thing, and the rise of these new “organic” mattresses has sparked a big discussion.
Debra Lynn Dadd, an author and blogger in Clearwater, FL, has dedicated much of her time to writing about toxic substances in household products for over 25 years now. Dadd says that those who are interested in organic foods and beauty products should realize that they are actually putting themselves at greater risk for exposure to toxic chemicals in the bed more so than anywhere else. While this seems to be a somewhat controversial view, there are quite a few scientists who back up her claim.
Over the past few decades, a majority of mattresses have been made with metal springs put between layers of polyurethane foam, or just foam. Most of the salespeople in showrooms tend to focus on the firmness of mattresses more than anything else. What most consumers are not told is that polyurethane foam is made from petroleum, which means that it can emit potentially dangerous organic compounds that have been linked to a number of health conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration both agree that traditional mattresses have the potential to be harmful to those who sleep on them.
Many green-minded advocates say that most salespeople are also hesitant to talk about the chemical makeup of the fire retardants used in the design of most traditional modern mattresses. Polyurethane foam was once seen as a fire retardant, especially in the 1970s when cigarettes were the main cause of mattress fires. While it’s true that foam doesn’t cost cigarettes to ignite, an open flame can. Cotton is one material that has been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture, and it is one of the few materials that pass stringent chemical safety tests. When it comes right down to it, organic mattresses are good for the environment as well as safer than most traditional mattresses for consumers.