Concerned about what goes into the making of your mattress? Many organic mattress manufacturers insist that their products are safe and natural. While this may be true in some cases, how would you discern the truth?
The market category of the organic mattress and bedding items is still niche and growing. However, the question remains as to how to determine whether the mattress you like is completely or partially chemical-free. For instance, let’s take the terminology “natural”. Without an industry label or standard to back the claims, it is just a word, that anyone and everyone is free to use.
Similarly, with “organic” products it cannot be determined whether some or all materials used in manufacturing the mattress is organic. So, if you are scouring the market for a mattress devoid of harmful and toxic chemicals, here are all the labels you need to know and look out for.
Mattress Certifications for the Organic Customer
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
All mattresses containing at least 95 percent certified organic materials and have not used certain toxic chemicals for the remaining 5 percent can carry the GOTS label while distributing and trading. Chemicals like polyurethane and flame retardants cannot be used even in the most minute quantities if a manufacturers aim for the GOTS label.
There are further categories of the GOTs label. Firstly, there is the organic category where the products need to have more than 95 percent organic fibers. The second category of products can be made with X percent organic content that can range anywhere between 70 to 95 percent.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
This label sets the industry standard for latex mattresses. GOLS-certified mattresses need to be manufactured with at least 95% organic latex. Apart from that, there are many restrictions on the remaining 5 percent as well. Organic latex mattresses can carry both the GOLS and GOTS labels.
Manufacturers have to keep in mind several restrictions when producing a GOLS certified mattress. They must ensure that there is no emission of specific VOCs when the mattress is in use. Additionally, the covering and the cotton fills used in the mattress must also carry the Organic Content Standard-100 or the GOTS label. Furthermore, the manufacturer must refrain from using any form of synthetic foams.
Oeko-Tex Standard 100
This label does not necessarily ensure that the fibers used are grown organically but more importantly, it sets restrictions on the emission of toxic chemicals like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde.
These harmful chemicals have been found to adversely affect the ozone layer, create smog, lead to respiratory health conditions and also increase the risk of memory impairment. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 also prohibits the use of colorants, flame retardants, and allergenic dyes.
GreenGuard and GreenGuard Gold
GreenGuard assesses a mattress for the emission of VOCs. Once a mattress is manufactured it is placed in a vacuum chamber and the air samples collected undergo mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, and other tests to determine emission levels.
For a mattress to meet the GreenGuard standard total VOCs, formaldehyde, and individual VOCs emission level has to be under the allowable limits. The GreenGuard Gold standard further classifies and labels products safe for the elderly and children. It tests the purity level of the mattress to keep the more vulnerable population safe.
This label is only applicable to the use of polyethylene in a mattress. While some of the above-mentioned labels like GOLSb certified mattresses completely ban the use of polyethylene, the CertiPUR-US label disallows the use of specific materials that are present in many forms. Substances like flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PDBE), formaldehyde, and other chemicals are restricted from being used in CertiPUR-US certified products.
The chemical restrictions applied by this certification require polyurethane foam to be manufactured without the use of flame retardants, heavy metals, and some specific type of phthalates.
USDA Certified Organic
This certification substantiates that all the products used in the manufacturing process have been grown and processes abiding by the organic standards. When a product carries the seal “Certified organic” it indicates that 95 percent of the materials are organic in nature.
However, when the label states “Made with organic” it means that only 70 to 94 percent of the raw materials used are organic. So, only the products carrying the “Certified organic” get the USDA Certified Organic certification. Therefore fiber materials like linen, wool, hemp, and cotton that has been certified organic can carry this seal.
Manufacturers must follow the USDA organic standards set for food production without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Incidentally, both the GOLS and GOTS certification meets the USDA organic standards.
While it cannot be denied that the price of mattresses carrying these certifications tends to run a little higher than conventional mattresses available in the market, it would do you more harm than good in the long run if you choose the latter.
Whichever label you choose, will drastically reduce the level of harmful chemicals you and your family are exposed to inside your home. Organically certified mattresses are much more durable and will ensure good health for years to come.