Healthy New Year, Healthy New Mattress!

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 1.02.28 AMIf you are considering a new “healthy” mattress for the New Year, you are in luck. There seem to be more options than ever. The ads are everywhere – online, on the subway…in your favorite magazines. They come in a box, claim to be “eco-friendly”, and many cost less than $1000. You’ve seen them… Casper, Wink, Saatva…  Hmmm? Sound too good to be true? Let’s break it down.

The “Natural” mattress market, to my estimation, has nearly tripled from the mattress recommendation list that I posted a few years ago! This is a very exciting development. But also a little confusing, primarily because, a mattress claiming to use natural memory foam, doesn’t necessarily mean that the mattress is chemical free. Natural latex rubber is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. That milky, sap must go through a vulcanization process to make any rubber product, including sturdy foam for cushions, mattresses and pillows. At this point, all kinds of chemicals might be introduced. In fact, many memory foams will use any combination of synthetic foam and latex to form a hybrid foam. Conventional memory foam is a chemically produced, synthetic petroleum product made from polyurethane. Some soy foams or “eco-foams” contain a fraction of the plant-based materials they claim, making them primarily a petroleum product. For instance, Keetsa, a popular and very affordable, “eco-friendly” (Ahem) line with showrooms in CA and NYC, claims to replace petroleum in their memory foam, with tea tree oil. 12% tea tree oil, to be exact.

The CertiPur certification is the gold star for many mattress companies who are after an “eco-friendly” stamp of approval. CertiPur does perform lab tests that show mattresses are free from harmful chemicals, known carcinogens, PBDE’s, heavy metals, or formaldehyde. But be clear – CertiPur certifies polyurethane foams that meet their low VOC standards. It turns out that CertiPur is a product of the trade association for the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam. Most of us co-exist with polyurethane obliviously. But if you think that sleeping on polyurethane foam is a good idea, please consider, the one thing that you don’t want is to be inhaling it, as it is a known lung irritant and asthma trigger. It is also known to cause skin irritation and migraines. “Low VOC” may be a legitimate category under CertiPur’s certification guidelines, but with the roster of clean, organic, or truly natural mattresses out there, why should anyone need to compromise?

Natural latex is inherently hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and antimicrobial, which inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew – all qualities shared with wool. Natural latex mattresses incased in eco-wool and organic cotton create an allergen-free sleep zone. In addition to health benefits, most people experience a natural latex mattress to be more comfortable than conventional memory foam, circulating heat more effectively while offering better support, hence avoiding that “sinking” feeling.

In general, it is wise to look for third-party certifications for home goods, which are typically born from non-profit, consumer groups with no financial conflicts of interest. Reliable third-party certifications for mattresses include GreenGuard, Oeko-Tex, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

“When shopping [for an organic mattress], ignore words like eco and natural. Instead, seek out companies that explain ingredients clearly and can point to where materials are sourced. Even better, look for third-party certification.”

— Laura Fraser, “O” Magazine

jGj’s 10 HEALTHIEST MATTRESS PICKS 

FlowerIconTinySAVVY REST

Savvy Rest's Organic topper

Savvy Rest’s Organic topper

Offering Natural Latex & Organic Wool/Cotton Mattresses & Baby Beds

Certified: B Corporation, GreenGuard, and Cradle to Cradle

Price range starting at $2000 *all price range quotes are for Queen size

(jGj extra points for assisting customers in recycling used mattresses & the Savvy Rest Safe Sleep Pillow program, donating new pillows to at risk women & children in emergency shelters)

FlowerIconTinyESSENTIA 

Offering Organic Latex mattresses manufactured in a certified organic facility

Certified: GOLS, GOTS, Oeko Tex, Green America, Exova, and Organic Trade Association

Price range starting at $2,000

60 day trial

FlowerIconTinyNEST

Offering Hybrid Latex with coil innerspring mattress and a Vegan Latex mattress option.

*Stick with the “Natural” line to avoid CertiPur certified conventional Memory Foam.

Certified: GOLS & Oeko Tex and CertiPur

Price range starting at $1200

100 day trial

FlowerIconTinyPLUSHBEDS 

Offering Natural & Organic Latex mattresses in their Botanical Bliss & Natural Bliss collection(s)

Certified: GreenGuard, GOTS, USDA Organic

Price range starting at $1000

100 day trial

FlowerIconTinyNATUREPEDIC

One of the original, organic mattress mavericks. Offering a design of organic latex layers over plant-based, batting incased support coils.

Certified: GOTS, GOLS, OC100, FSC, Rainforest Alliance, MADE SAFE

Price range starting at $1999

30 day money back guarantee/90 day free layer swap on the EOS line

FlowerIconTinyCOZY PURE

Cozy Pure's solid latex construction

Cozy Pure’s solid latex construction

Offering natural latex & organic latex mattresses plus pillows and toppers using organic cotton, Wool, Kapok & Buckwheat hulls. Vegan options also available.

Certified: GOLS; euroLATEX ECO-Standard; Oeko Tex,\; Joma Wool; OE 100 Standard; FSC; Green Power Partner; Green America; Organic Trade Association

Price range starting at $1200

FlowerIconTinyMY GREEN MATTRESS

Offering a natural latex over pocketed coil innerspring mattresses

Certified: Organic Cotton; Sleep Sherpa’s 2016 Best Natural Mattress Award

Price range starting at $1,099.00

100 night trial

FlowerIconTinyCOCO-MAT

Coco Mat mattress components

Coco Mat mattress components

Offering natural latex mattresses that include coconut fiber & seaweed (which slowly releases iodine – offering gentle boost to the respiratory system)

Certified: Oeko Tex; GOTS; FSC; Sustainable Furnishings Council; Woolmark

Price range starting at $2400

14 night trial

FlowerIconTinyHEALTHY CHOICE

Offering natural latex, metal free, organic mattresses using US sourced Eco-Wool.

Certified: GOTS

Price range starting at $2800

FlowerIconTinyLIFEKIND & OMI

OMI is a subsidiary of LifeKInd – a 20 year leader of the Organic Mattress trade. Offering completely organic mattresses that also include coiled innerspring models.

Certified: USDA Organic; GOLS; GOTS; GreenGuard; Oeko Tex

Price range starting at $3000

90 day comfort exchange

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. mzamora@nysunworks.org' Manuela Zamora says:

    I love your blog! I am about to buy new mattresses and this is the information I needed. You have become the “go-to” place when purchasing home items. Every post is a discovery and a lot of help. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks for reading Manuela! I am also replacing a mattress and needed to get up to date on the surge of product out there. One point that I should add to the post is that many Naturopaths are not fans of an inner coil-spring mattress (which a number of the companies I highlighted offer). The idea is that you don’t want any metal in your bed that might conduct EMRs (electromagnetic radiation). Let me know what you end up purchasing and how you like it.

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