As we get ready to round the corner into Quarter Four of 2016, we realize we’ve got a lot of catching up to do! We’ve been so busy connecting shoppers all over the country with organic bedding at the guaranteed lowest mattress prices on the market, we’ve forgotten to answer the most basic of questions:
What is an organic mattress, anyway?
Is it all-natural? Are the materials grown on an organic farm? Is it free of pesticides and antibiotics? Is it delivered from no further than 50 miles from your house?
The answer is a blend of those things.
When it comes to organic mattresses, labels matter.
Certain words like “natural” and “eco-friendly” have become buzzwords in the marketplace. That’s because Americans have demanded alternatives that leave out unhealthy or untested chemicals and manufacturing processes. While much of that conversation focuses on food, the demand for natural products has extended to all aspects of life – including the beds we sleep on. Those “green” and “eco” words allow companies to claim their products are healthier or more natural than others. But since the use of those terms in advertising is unregulated, they get thrown around willy-nilly and can lose any meaning they might have had for consumers.
Organic certification is a good place to start.
The term “organic,” is unique because it is subject to some regulation. Combined with the word “certified,” it means that a third-party authority has evaluated and verified claims about a product’s composition. When you see the USDA Organic label, you’re looking at a product that has been verified by an accredited certifying agent to meet the requirements of the USDA Organic program. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) goes beyond United States regulations to establish organic-product rules for the whole planet. Since the requirements for specific certifications are different, you might not see multiple organic certification labels on the same product.
In their words, the GOTS standard ensures:
“the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.”
But what does it mean?
Sure, it’s awesome that organic latex mattresses leverage the natural defenses of the rubber tree to keep beds for people free of microbes, bacteria, and pests. But that’s not why people are buying – and sometimes paying more for – organic mattresses. For individuals who have allergies or sensitivities to certain materials, it’s about avoiding exposure to specific substances. Since organic mattresses are subject to tougher regulation, it’s easier to find out what’s in them. For most people, though, going organic is a matter of prevention.
Off-gassing refers to the release of chemicals and odors as the compounds in a product break down. Cheaper construction materials and the synthetic flame retardants that prevent a mattress from catching fire can release chemicals into the air. These unwanted substances are then breathed in or absorbed through the skin. They can even get stuck in household dust. Off-gassing is of particular concern when related to mattresses because we spend an awful lot of time in bed. By understanding organic certification programs and seeking out mattresses that don’t contain off-gassing substances, consumers can eliminate exposure for themselves and their families.
Selective About Textiles
Just like the foods we eat, the plants from which textiles are made are vulnerable to attacks from pests and disease. To ensure a good harvest, farmers use pesticides and genetically modified strains of crops like cotton. Organic certification empowers the end user to opt out of buying products achieved through farming practices that cause concern. GOTS certification, for example, requires that at least 70 percent of cotton or wool fibers are organically grown. In the remaining 30 percent, it bans the use of polyurethane foam and hazardous chemicals, including fire retardants and substances made with formaldehyde.
Comfort still counts!
The organic latex mattresses at A Goodnight Sleepstore are made by some of the most respected names in both comfort AND sustainability. All of our pure Latex BLISS mattresses are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified to be completely free of harmful substances. Still, the number-one most important thing about your sleep surface is that it helps you get a great night’s sleep. If you’re sure you want to buy organic or are just curious about the trend, stop in and have a conversation with one of our sleep experts. He or she will help you find everything you need in a new mattress, both in how it’s been treated and how it’ll treat you.