As you compare buying options when latex mattress shopping, you’re likely to face the decision about latex mattress types: whether or not to purchase a synthetic or blended latex mattress vs. purchasing a natural latex mattress. On the surface, it may appear as though you’re getting a better bargain by going the synthetic or blended route. However, once you factor in the chemicals in synthetic latex mattresses, you may find that a natural mattress is a true game changer, worthy of a second look.
What’s the Deal with Mattress Chemicals?
One hundred percent natural latex mattresses are made with absolutely no petrochemicals. This is a fact that not only appeals to people interested in better health and avoiding unnecessary exposure to petrochemicals, but also to those interested in leading “greener” lifestyles. Pure organic latex is naturally hypoallergenic, as it is a botanical product. The sap from rubber trees is used for creating these mattresses. Because there are no chemicals used in the process of making these mattresses, there is no “off gassing” (the strong chemical odor that is often experienced, once removing mattresses from their packing materials).
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of blended mattresses that often produce a moderate amount of off gassing. However, even these do not produce as much as other synthetic memory foam mattresses on the market today. They do not have the same green mattress qualities, or earth-friendly status, though, as 100 percent natural latex mattresses.
In addition, synthetic latex is made in a laboratory, versus the dunlop or talalay process that is used in the manufacturing of a natural latex mattress.
Looking Beyond Chemistry
Chemistry and mattresses rarely make good bedfellows — especially for the people making the purchase. One hundred percent natural is absolutely the way to go if you have the budget for it.
The benefits are many, and include things like:
- 10 – 20 percent higher owner satisfaction rating
- Better elasticity, or contouring
- Improved compression
- More durability
- Longer lifespan
At the end of the day, it’s the person sleeping on the mattress who must choose what works best. While chemical-free is for many the way to go without question, others have stricture budgets, and can’t always afford to wait until a time when a pure, organic, natural latex mattress is within their grasp. Blended or hybrid may be their next best choice. However, if exposure to chemicals is a concern of yours, it is worth it to save up for, or finance, a 100% natural latex mattress.
Toxic Chemicals to Watch for in Mattresses
Mattresses are constructed with various different materials as well as manufacturing processes. And, the differences make mattresses have a variety of degrees of:
Some toxic chemicals to watch for are:
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): These toxic chemicals are often used as fire retardants.
- Formaldehyde: This is a preservative that has a caustic smell, which could cause severe irritation, and is often used in the different adhesives, holding the layers of the mattress together.
- Diisocyanates: Often used in the construction of memory foam mattresses, these have fallen under the EPA's scrutiny for causing possible harm.
- Benzene: The World Health Organization identified this petrochemical as a carcinogen, which caused chromosomal aberrations, aplastic anemia, and more with prolonged exposure.
- Boric acid: Often used by mattress companies for constructing mattresses that are bacteria- and bed-bug resistant. It could have devastating effects with long-term exposure, including developmental and neurological issues, skin blistering, convulsions, and upper respiratory tract damage.
Harmful Chemical Flame Retardants to Watch For
The National Institute of Health have linked the following chemical flame retardants with severe health issues, such as genetic defects, fertility issues, reduced thyroid and liver function, hormonal imbalance, and cancer:
- TCEP: TCEP is listed under California Proposition 65 as a known carcinogen because of its association with impaired fertility. It's been sown to cause neurotoxicity and hormonal imbalance.
- PBDEs: These were banned in 2007, and are a type of flame-resistant chemical shown to cause hyperactivity and learning disabilities. Also, liver function and hormone function decrease with long-term exposure.
- Brominated Chemical Flame Retardants: Certain fire retardants have brominated toxic chemicals (like bromine) in them. They're known to lead to disruptions of the reproductive and endocrine systems.
- TDCPP (Chlorinated Tris): This is associated with altered hormone levels, reproductive problems, and certain types of cancers. It's also listed under California Proposition 65 as a carcinogenic.
- V6: Similar to TCEP, V6 has an impurity, making it toxic to humans. It's been associated with poor thyroid and liver function, and reproductive problems.
- Antimony: Antimony-contaminated air has been shown to aggravate the heart, eyes, and lungs. It might also lead to diarrhea, stomach pains, and vomiting. Severe lung and heart problems could occur with long-term exposure.
Synthetic or Blended Latex
Synthetic latex is constructed with chemical additives and petroleum-based oils. Chemicals usually added are chemical flame retardants and formaldehyde, which have been shown to be dangerous to your health. Certain synthetic foams (with names like "eco", "bio", "soy", and "hybrid" foam) could also have a small percentage of plant oils.
Chemicals that come from foams like these migrate into your household dust and air, either in microscopic particles, or off-gassing vapor released each time you use the foam, and it is pressed. Ordinary house dust absorbs the micro-particles. Children and infants receive the largest amount of exposure, and carry the greatest chemical load in their bodies. Now that you know what synthetic latex is made of, what about children's mattresses?
Popular Kid's Natural Latex Mattress
Many natural latex mattresses contain natural dunlop latex, and come with a certified organic cotton cover, like the PlushBed's Botanical Bliss.
A natural latex mattress takes the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) away from your sleeping atmosphere, and this benefits growing children the most.
Non-Toxic Mattress Equals No Off-Gassing
A few qualities of a non-toxic mattress, like a Plushbed mattress, are:
- Organic wool
- 100% natural latex
- Organic cotton
Advantages of a Natural Latex Mattress
Switching to a chemical-free mattress, such as a PlushBeds natural latex mattress, comes with a few benefits, including:
- Reduces Allergies
If you're struggling with allergies, sleeping on a chemical-free mattress might ease your symptoms. Mattresses constructed with safer ingredients are typically hypoallergenic. Not to mention, they have very minimal VOC emissions that frequently aggravate the lungs.
- Health Benefits
Conventional mattresses rely on adhesives, fire retardants, and dyes that can pose severe health risks. Organic, non-toxic, or eco-friendly mattresses are less likely to have any of these harmful chemicals in them.
- Environmental Impact
Usually non-toxic mattress company brands frequently have an eco-friendly approach to their manufacturing. They use sustainable harvesting practices, and produce less pollution.
- More Breathable
Mattresses constructed with non-toxic materials provide a lot more breathability. More natural materials like latex foam and plant-based foam wick away moisture and heat from your body, allowing you to sleep comfortable and cool.
- Longer Lifespan
A healthier, safer mattress provides a longer lifespan than a traditional one. Products made with chemicals often break down fast. The more natural materials your mattress has, the longer it should last. Plant-based memory foam mattresses often last around eight to 10 years. However, 100% natural latex mattresses, like PlushBeds latex mattresses, can last between 20 to 25 years. This is way longer than conventional mattresses that only last about six years.
Non-Toxic Mattress Certifications
A lot of third-party companies put the mattresses in testing for harmful chemicals before they are allowed to be sold to the public. This process of certification ensures manufacturers are being honest with their consumers, and making sure they're staying safe from possible health risks.
Below are some third-party certifications that help you determine a mattress is non-toxic and certified:
- GreenGuard: GreenGuard certification means the mattress has been tested for little to no VOCS emissions, and is safe for you to bring into your home.
- GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard): This certification guarantees the mattress's fabrics are a minimum of 70% organic. It also ensures the mattress company uses only sustainable manufacturing practices. It includes GOTS Certified Organic Cotton certification, and GOTS Certified Organic Wool certification.
- GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard): This certification guarantees the mattress's latex foam is a minimum of 95% organic. It confirms the latex was grown and harvested using only sustainable techniques, and is free of harmful additives.
- Control Unit: This certification provides assurance that only e eco-friendly materials are used to minimize carbon footprint.
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100: This certification tests each material the mattress uses, including foam, fabric, buttons, and thread. It ensures it's free of harmful chemicals and additives that might post a health risk.
- Forest Stewardship Council: This certification ensures all wood used is sourced from sustainable forests, ensuring responsible conservation and use of woodlands.
- CertiPUR-US®: This certification tests polyurethane mattress foams, which include poly-foam and memory foam. It ensures the foam used in the mattress contains no ozone-depleting compounds like TDCPP, PBDEs, and TCEP (Tris), mercury, flame retardants, formaldehyde, phthalates, and lead or other heavy metals.
- Eco-Institut: This certification tests mattresses, flooring, bedding, and household furniture. It ensures no harmful substances like VOCs, formaldehyde, or acetaldehyde are in the products.
All-Natural, Synthetic Latex Mattresses
Mattresses could release toxic fumes through off-gassing because of specific chemicals used in the manufacturing process. When a latex mattress is constructed, while there are some latex mattresses that are totally chemical-free, many do add polyurethane, a substance that's used for forming and binding substances, in this case, latex.
But, this substance is fairly safe until the chemicals and polyurethane foam are released in off-gassing. They coalesce into gaseous chemicals (VOCS).
The VOCS are activated even further because of your body heat that's released while you're sleeping. VOCS could be harmful to your health, which is why they're classified as toxic.
This is why you should look for 100% natural latex mattresses.
Choose Organic or Natural Latex Mattresses
There are a couple types of latex mattresses to shop for, in order to avoid potential toxins during off-gassing. These are:
- 100% all-natural: This type ensures there are only trace amounts if any chemicals used during the vulcanization when molding the mattress.
- Organic latex: This is kind of like all-natural, just the word is used instead of all-natural.
If you choose a synthetic latex mattress over an all-natural or organic latex mattress, you'll obtain the same comfort level at a lower price, but you could be trading your health in return.
PlushBed's Commitment to Your Health and the Health of the Planet
At PlushBeds, we're committed to offer our consumers eco-friendly and non-toxic mattresses. PlushBeds was founded to offer consumers healthier sleep options. We did our research, and built relationships with only the best quality and healthiest material suppliers, so our consumers can enjoy a worry-free and healthy sleeping environment.
We, to this day, continue exceeding the highest industry standards, and offer the most outstanding natural sleep experience made specifically for families who refuse to sacrifice their health for a cozy night's sleep. Our commitment and high standards to offering superior customer experience has allowed us to become one of the largest manufacturers of organic and natural latex mattresses in America that are indulgent and affordable.
1. What Is the Process of Making Natural Latex Mattresses?
The process for constructing latex mattresses are divided into a couple types: Talalay and Dunlop methods.
- The dunlop method is the method that's most common, and involves the whipping and pouring of the latex into the mold, and then baking the latex.
- The Talalay method is where the latex is vacuumed to expand in the mold. After it's finished, it's frozen to lock in the particles.
A latex mattress can only become toxic when manufacturers add in chemicals during the creation of the mattress.
2. Do Latex Mattresses Release More Toxins than Memory Foam Mattresses?
Memory foam and latex mattresses are frequently confused, but there are very distinct differences between them. The main difference is memory foam does tend to rely heavily on chemicals like polyurethane foam to mold the mattress. A latex mattress can be totally natural.
Because 100% natural latex mattresses are going to release possibly fewer VOCS than memory foam mattresses, you're definitely better off buying the all-natural latex, if you're looking to decrease your risk of inhaling toxins.
3. Does a Latex Mattress Contain VOCs?
Environmental Science and Technology published a study that found synthetic latex mattresses emit various VOCs.
The study found that although the VOC emission was under the "No Significant Risk Levels" the state of California set, the emission levels did start becoming a little concerning if the individual exposed was very young.
4. Is Off-Gassing Toxic?
Off-gassing can be toxic. A lot of the lesser quality mattresses constructed these days contain polyurethane foam which the EPA recognizes as a toxic substance. Off-gassing means these toxic materials break down, and disperse into the air. When you breathe the toxins in, you could potentially experience side effects like nausea, breathing trouble, and allergic reactions.
5. What's a Non-Toxic Mattress?
A non-toxic mattress is made without polyurethane foam or other chemicals that pose a risk to your health, and might cause health problems. However, non-toxic mattresses could be described in a few ways. Some are marketed as "organic" or "green", while others carry the "eco-friendly" label.
6. Does a Latex Mattress Contain Chemicals?
There is much confusion about the toxicity levels of latex mattresses in regards to off-gassing. And because there are various labels attached to latex mattresses, it can be confusing. If you can find latex mattresses that have the "all-natural" label, there's a good chance only a very tiny trace amount of these chemicals were used in the manufacturing process, if any at all.
Latex mattresses that don't have the "all-natural" label will very likely contain a range of chemicals that could release VOCs.
So, you should really try looking for latex mattresses that use as few polyurethane foam-like chemicals as possible (like all-natural latex mattresses like PlushBeds) during the mold and bake process.
6. What Is Natural Latex?
Latex is harvested from rubber tree sap, which is a highly durable and sustainable crop. Rubber trees don't require the use of chemicals or pesticides, and can be tapped various times before they need to be cut down. This makes latex a far better eco-friendly choice.
7. Does a Natural Latex Mattress Off-Gas?
The answer is no, natural latex doesn't off-gas. Newer natural latex might have a smell to it, but it's not because of off-gassing. It's only the natural hevea milk (rubber tree sap) scent you're smelling, and it's no industrial- or unpleasant-smelling. It's not that nail polish scent of acetone adhesives, or "new car" smell of formaldehyde. It's a natural, nutty smell, kind of like vanilla, and it goes away.
Reach out to us here at PlushBeds if you have any questions about our mattress or other bedding needs. 1-866-245-4090
Link to Us!
If you found this article useful and shareable, please copy and paste the following into the html code of your website or blog:
Learn More About Going Green at the <a href="https://www.plushbeds.com/blogs/green-sleep/are-there-chemicals-in-a-latex-mattress">PlushBeds Green Sleep Blog</a>.
*Please note that we DO NOT accept guest blog posts. Any inquiries into this will be respectfully left unanswered.
- What is the Healthiest Type of Mattress?
- Which Firmness is Right for My Latex Mattress?
- Shall I Buy a Natural or Organic Latex Mattress?
- The Latex Mattress Core: Dunlop or Talalay?
- Are the Best Latex Mattresses Dunlop Latex or Talalay Latex?
- Introducing PlushBeds Healthy Child Mattresses
- What is a Plush Mattress?
- How To Sleep Comfortably with Fibromyalgia
- Tips for Sleeping on a Latex Mattress for the First Time
- Is PlushBeds Good for Side Sleepers?
- How Long Should a Mattress Last?
- What is the World's Most Expensive Mattress?
- What are the Biggest Complaints with Latex Mattresses?
- Latex Mattress Store Near Me?
- Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- The Mattress Recommended by Chiropractors and Orthopedists