Are you worried about your mattress containing harmful chemicals? There are so many different certifications that make different claims. This can make it difficult to determine if the mattress you’re about to purchase is partially or completely free of chemicals.
For example, some mattresses have labels that claim that the product is “all-natural”, but a label like this could be meaningless if there are no certifications behind it. Also, a mattress that is labelled an “organic mattress” may only have some certified organic materials in it. Certified organic materials must make up 95 percent of the materials in a mattress in order to truly be an “organic mattress”, and there should not be any harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
Therefore, when you’re shopping for a mattress, it’s important to understand the various mattress certifications, like GOLS, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and GreenGuard Gold. That way, you can be sure of what you are purchasing, and whether it is free of harmful chemicals.
Here are some mattress certifications that you should consider when shopping for a new mattress for you and your family.
The Importance of Third Party Certifications:
Purchasing a mattress online directly from the source has become increasingly popular in recent years. This allows you to have the mattress delivered right to your front door, eliminating the need to visit a retail store as well as the hassle of dealing with pushy salesmen. But, there are so many different options online claiming to be “natural” or “organic”, but are they really?
When you begin to consider purchasing a non-toxic mattress or a mattress made of natural, organic materials, it’s recommended to look for a third-party certification. Having a third-party certification will help to ease your mind that you are receiving what is advertised.
The third-party certifier, independent of you or the manufacturer, oversees the purity, quality, and safety standards. Purchasing a mattress that has been agreed upon by an independent party that the materials used in the manufacturing process are indeed natural and organic materials puts your mind at ease.
At a minimum, you should look for the following mattress certifications:
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100
- Greenguard Gold
- Global Organic Latex Standard
- Global Organic Textile Standard
- Eco Institut
These third-party mattress certifications ensure the materials in the mattress you are purchasing are Certified Organic.
When you purchase a mattress that manufacturers claim to be made of natural organic materials, ensure it is backed by at least one or more of the mattress certifications listed out below.
GOLS Certified Organic Latex Standard:
Up until now, there weren’t any required minimum standards to label a product organic latex. However, when it comes to manufacturing products under a true organic latex label, GOLS or Global Organic Latex Standard, is the first of its kind.
Any organic latex product that carries Global Certified Organic Latex Standard certification meets or exceeds definitive standards in the steps of processing and manufacturing.
Organic Latex Standard GOLS Standards:
Minimum standards for natural latex products that contained organic raw materials are important to Control Union Certifications. These standards affect a variety of aspects of the life cycle of natural latex that include:
The objective is to inspire businesses working with organic latex to use processing methods that are sustainable. This standard also focuses on how products and processing affect your safety, health, and welfare, as well as the planet.
Why These Standards are Essential
Consumers often decide to buy mattresses made with natural latex, so they can make healthy choices that contribute to the welfare of the planet. Without minimum requirements or standards, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish one mattress from another, and that could lead to biased organic latex claims. Also, you wouldn’t really know if you were getting a mattress with 5 or 95 percent natural latex without mattress certifications. With GOLS certified products, they must contain at least 95 percent certified organic raw materials.
What Is Actually Behind Certification?
There are two unique grading designations behind what GOLS offers. Natural latex products often carry a “contains organic” or “made with organic” label that signifies the products consist of a minimum of 95 percent certified organic material. Products with labels claiming “contain X% of organic” or “made with X% of organic” consist of other certified organic raw ingredients, and 70 percent certified organic latex.
GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard:
GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard, and it is the top processing standard in the world since 2006 for organic fibers and textiles, including social and ecological criteria, and backed by the entire textile supply chain’s independent certification. Defining globally recognized requirements, and ensuring the organic status, are the goal of the standard. This ranges from harvesting raw materials through socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing process to providing labels that ensure credibility to the consumers.
The Global Organic Textile Standard certification is issued by The International Working Group on Global Organic Textile Standard. This group is composed of four organizations: Organic Trade Association, International Association of Natural Textile Industry, Soil Association, and Japan Organic Cotton Association.
What does the GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard cover?
In addition, products seeking to acquire the Global Organic Textile Standard certification must be made from at least 70 percent Certified Organic fibers, including hemp, wool, cotton, linen, and other naturally grown fibers that meet the national organic standards.
GOTS checks compliance through a dual system with relevant criteria that consists of residue testing, and on-site auditing.
With the onset of the labeling and logo system, the GOTS is visible on natural textile shop shelves and by brand dealers and large-scale retailers as well. This is the turning point in strong acknowledgment and consumer recognition of GOTS’s reliable concept of quality assurance.
There are three standard requirements that must be met in order to receive the Global Organic Textile Standard certificate:
- Environmental criteria
- Technical quality and human toxicity criteria
- Minimum social criteria
Global Certified Organic Cotton:
In comparison to GOTS Global Certified Organic Cotton, conventional cotton contains much higher levels of agrochemicals, such as pesticides or fertilizers used in growing the product. Our Botanical Bliss and Natural Bliss mattress is manufactured with Global Certified Organic Cotton because we believe in the safety of our sleep environment as we spend at least ⅓ of our life there.
Global Certified Organic Wool:
GOTS Certified Organic Wool must be processed through extensive environmental and toxicological criteria to receive this certification, ensuring it meets the strict environmental and human safety standards.
The wool used in our bedding products is manufactured using the best practices in environmental and social responsibility.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100:
OEKO-TEX’s STANDARD 100 is the world’s independent and consistent testing and certification system for finished, semi-finished, and raw textile products at all levels of processing, including the accessory materials used. This certification is issued by an organization known as the International Oeko-Tex Association. This certification was created by the association in 1992.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certifiable Items:
- Knitted and woven fabrics
- Raw and finished or dyed yarns
- Accessories (zip fasteners, buttons, labels, and sewing threads)
- Garments of all types
- Ready-made items of different types
- Household and domestic textiles
- Terry products
- Bed Linen
- and much more
To receive the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, a manufacturer must first surrender their product to rigorous testing for harmful substances that are legally banned and controlled substances. These include chemicals that may be harmful to the health of humans, but might not be a controlled or banned substance just yet. At least 30 percent of the total production must be certified throughout the rigorous testing regarding wastewater treatment and water and air emissions as well as ensuring the product is made of environmentally compatible materials.
The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 has decades of experience, and therefore contributes to effective and high product safety from the point of view of consumers. Limit values and test criteria go way beyond international and applicable standards in many cases. Regular company audits and extensive product checks also show the industry’s responsible use of chemicals in a global and sustainable way.
CertiPUR US Certified Foam:
The CertiPUR US certification was first handed out in 2008. It is issued by a non profit organization known as the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam Inc. This certification only certifies the foam components used in a mattress, not the mattress as a whole. Products such as the foam in bedding or upholstered furniture are also able to receive the CertiPUR US Certified Foam certification if the company has met or exceeded the minimum standards.
The CertiPUR US Certification excludes the use of heavy metals, chlorofluorocarbons, or other ozone depleters, lead, mercury, and the use of certain flame retardants to lower the risk of formaldehyde, benzene, and other volatile organic components. It is important that you understand a mattress that has received the CertiPUR US Certified Foam certificate does not mean the product is organic.
Eco Institut Certification:
The Eco Institut is a specialized German laboratory designed to certify mattresses, other furniture, and construction materials, ensuring they are either emission-free or contain low emissions. To receive the Eco Institut Certification, a product must pass testing for toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, heavy metals, phthalates, and much more. Our Botanical Bliss collection has surpassed the standards of excellence and safety put into place by the Eco Institut.
Control Union Certification:
The Control Union is Europe’s largest organic regulator. They have ensured the latex in PlushBeds contains no chemical dyes, fillers, carcinogenic adhesives, chemicals, or pesticides, leaving you with a healthy, safe sleep environment each night.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic, or USDA Organic, was established in 2002, designed to set and enforce the legal standards for companies to use the term “organic”. The USDA Organic department ensures that Certified Organic materials are grown without synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, as these may be harmful to the environment and humans.
The U.S Department of Agriculture Organic seal is issued by the National Organic Program. This program is the governing body over the organic industry in the United States. Holding the USDA Organic seal ensures there are no synthetic fertilizers, sewage, or synthetic engineering used in the manufacturing process.
What Products can be Certified?
- Processed products
- Wild crops
Many companies will advertise their products at 100 percent organic, whether this is true or not. To earn the USDA seal, the product must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Ensure to ask the retail associate to provide you with the proof of the mattress certifications to determine that the mattress in question is indeed Certified Organic.
Arpico Certified Organic Latex
Arpico Certified Organic Latex is pure, organic latex, harvested sustainably, and backed by the USDA and Global Organic Latex Standard certifications. This mattress certification has been in use for more than 80 years. It is made of all-natural, organic latex that is free from dyes, fillers, chemicals, adhesives, and pesticides, as well as being free of petroleum chemicals. These chemicals have been known to cause allergies, illnesses, and other sensitivities to other elements.
Arpico Latex is backed by many certifications including:
- LGA: this endorsement evaluated the durability of natural latex
- SATRA: this is responsible for setting the minimum standards for 100 percent natural flame retardation
- ABC Research Corporation: this ensures the antibacterial nature of natural latex
- ECO: this certification ensures that products are free of hazardous materials, and ensures that it is 100 percent natural latex
PlushBeds is the world’s largest distributor of Arpico Organic Latex products as we strive to provide the absolute safest environment for sleeping available.
Rainforest Alliance certification:
The Rainforest Alliance is responsible for environmental, social, and economic sustainability. This certification is among the most prestigious certifiers of FSC forests. The green frog on the seal represents dignified and safe working conditions for workers and unharmed habitats.
Rainforest Alliance certified farms must meet rigorous social and environmental standards. PlushBeds’ orthopedic foundations have surpassed the rigorous process, and are FSC Certified through the Rainforest Alliance.
They follow five basic principles: effective planning and management, biodiversity conversation, natural resource conservation, improved livelihood and human well-being, and sustainable cattle production.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization dedicated to forestry. The FSC works hard to protect the environment and ecosystems within the forests as well as the communities surrounding and inhabiting the area.
Not only does the Forest Stewardship Council protect the water quality and prevent the loss of natural forest cover, it prohibits the use of hazardous chemicals in forests, and protects the rights of local communities.
PlushBeds is proud to utilize FSC wood in its orthopedic foundations.
What are VOCs?
Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are compounds that contain a high vapor pressure, and a low water solubility. These are man-made chemicals that can be found in the manufacturing process of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants.
VOC emissions are derived from chemicals that include, but are not limited to:
- Methyl Tert-butyl Ether (MTBE), also known as fuel oxygenates
VOC emissions come in the form of gases from solids or liquids. Volatile organic compounds may cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, leading to trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, and can damage the nervous system.
Product Classes and Laboratory Tests
The OEKO-TEX tests for substances that are potentially harmful, and are based on the specific purpose of materials and textiles. The more skin contact there is on a product, and the more the skin is sensitive, the stricter the human-ecological requirements are, and the more they need to be in compliance.
Because of this, below are 4 defined product classes:
- I Product Class: Items for toddlers and babies up to 3 years old (rompers, underwear, bed linen, clothing, terry products)
- II Product Class: Items you wear close to your skin (t-shirts, underwear, socks, bed linen)
- III Product Class: Items worn away from your skin (coats, jackets)
- IV Product Class: Furnishing and decoration materials (tablecloths, curtains, upholstery covers)
The certification precondition of products that conform to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is that every part of an item meets required criteria, along with the outer fabric, such as inserts, sewing threads and prints, and non-textile accessories like zip fasteners, buttons, and rivets.
Other preconditions include the application and existence of operational quality assurance measures, the conformity declarations, and the legally binding signing by the applicant.
GreenGuard Gold equates to a white glove inspection with specific focus on emissions standards for the mattress industry. It also focuses on how these standards relate to the elderly and to children. A rigorous series of standards and tests are involved, and mattresses must either meet or exceed these standards, in order to receive the respected distinction of becoming a latex mattress with the Certified GreenGuard Gold label.
About the GreenGuard Gold Certification
In earlier days, GreenGuard Gold Certification was referred to as GreenGuard Children and Schools Certification, since its criteria for certification were very strict. These criteria focused on safety factors that had an impact on the elderly, children, and other sensitive members of the population.
Today, the purpose is very similar. The standards are high to make sure that products that bear the GreenGuard Gold certification are sufficient for use in healthcare facilities, schools, and similar places. They can claim the products are safe for places like these, since they’ve gone through rigorous testing that includes advanced dynamic environmental chamber tests, and prove to have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), low emissions, ozone, phthalates, and formaldehyde.
The GreenGuard Gold Certification process involves individual emissions limit testing for over 360 distinct chemicals, establishing a total chemical emissions limit, and setting a phthalate emissions limit.
Mattresses and other products that are safe enough to go through rigorous standards and emissions testing, and pass, offer lower risks of releasing harmful emissions and off-gassing into the air.
Who the GreenGuard Gold Certification Standards are Set By
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Environment handles the GreenGuard Gold Certification process. Their mission is to promote safety, environmental health, and global sustainability.
Why You Should Purchase Mattresses that Meet these Standards
Regardless if you’re buying a mattress for yourself, your aging parents, or your children, you want it to be as safe as possible, since you typically spend between 6 to 8 hours (or more) in bed each night (children and teens spend more.)
When you choose a mattress with the GreenGuard Gold Certification label and/or the other certifications above, it serves as a seal of excellence that lets you know you’re providing yourself and the people you love a healthy mattress, which you can feel good about.
PlushBeds is proud to have our commitment to environmental excellence rewarded with the achievement of GreenGuard Gold certification for all of our mattresses. It’s a great honor to be one of the few singled out for this recognition, since less than one percent of all mattresses receive this prestigious certification.
PlushBeds Mattresses are tested and re-certified every 90 days against:
- PBDE Flame Retardants
- Prohibited Phthalates
- Mercury, Lead & Heavy Metals
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Methylene Chloride …and 10,000 other harmful chemicals!
At a GreenGuard Gold level certification, PlushBeds mattresses prove beneficial to everyone, but especially the elderly and children, as they minimize chemical exposure, reduce indoor air pollution, and create healthier indoor environments.
When you start the hunt for your perfect mattress, understanding the mattress certifications will make all the difference. The best mattress certifications you can look for in a product are the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certifications, as these require a minimum of 95 percent organic material to be used.
Next in line to be on the lookout for is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. This certification does not ensure the mattress fibers are produced organically, but it sets limits for the emissions of harmful chemicals. These chemicals include formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds. In addition, it prohibits the use of chemical flame retardants, allergenic dyes, and colorants. These volatile organic compounds and other banned products may lead to smog, respiratory illness, and memory impairment.
The following mattress certifications are good to be on the lookout for, but do not ensure the mattress is indeed made fully or organic materials.
- CertiPUR US certification: this certification only applies to the polyurethane foam that is used in a mattress or other products. This certification prohibits substances such as polybrominated diphenyl ether, flame retardants, formaldehyde, and other chemicals.
- Greenguard Gold: this certification has stricter limits on emissions of volatile organic compounds.
Mattresses can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on many factors including the type of mattress, materials used, size of the mattress, and of course the certifications it holds. Ensuring that a mattress that is claimed to be made of organic materials is backed by more than just the manufacturer's word, such as ensuring the product is backed by at least one third-party certification, will only help you in the long run as it assures you that you are making a purchase of a natural organic mattress. One can expect to pay in a range of $1,200 to $2,500 for a standard queen size mattress holding the mattress certifications of Global Organic Textile Standard or Global Organic Latex Standard.
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