Nowadays, almost everything has a label. Each item we purchase probably has a certain tag on it. It is either placed in a so-called ‘box’ or category, so as to indicate the characteristics, quality or specific information about the product. For example, when reading the details on food packaging we find such terms as sugar-free, additive-free, non-GMO, gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian, vegan and the list goes on. This is similar with mattresses, but they can be a bit tricky. This article is designed to/will help you clarify the description ‘non-toxic’ and how it relates to mattresses. Hopefully after having read through the following paragraphs you’ll be better informed to decipher the label.
For some the term ‘non-toxic’ might not be clear. According to the Cambridge Dictionary website, ‘non-toxic’ means that something is ‘not poisonous or not containing poisonous substances’. How does this relate to mattresses? It is widely known that volatile chemicals are often involved in the manufacturing process of most conventional mattresses. Sadly, this means that a lot of mattress companies are not conscientious about their products regarding health and the environment.
The label ‘non-toxic’ is often used in conjunction with adjectives such as ‘green’, ‘organic’ or ‘eco-friendly’. Non-toxic or in other words chemical-free mattresses are void of harmful substances, such as chemical fire retardants. They typically contain natural materials like organic latex, cotton and wool. It might not be evident how a product earned the claim of being non-toxic, because it could mean that the mattress company may use natural/organic materials in their product only as a component and not 100 percent of the product is natural/organic. Basically, some companies are not straightforward about their claims, meaning that there is a lot of ‘greenwashing’ going on in the business.
As the previous paragraph mentioned, companies that label their mattresses as non-toxic, generally use natural components like natural latex, cotton and wool in the production of their mattresses. To begin with, natural latex is harvested from the sap of the rubber tree, which goes through a highly sustainable manufacturing process. Apart from natural latex, synthetic latex is produced as an alternative, but this variant is often made using/with toxic chemicals that are not safe. All natural Dunlop and Talalay latex mattresses on the other hand are safer options, since they are not treated with any chemicals that could possibly pose health risks. When purchasing a mattress, look for the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) icon which ensures the product is verified by an official organisation. This certification indicates that the latex mattress foam is at least 95% organic, meaning that the rubber trees were grown and harvested with sustainable methods and that toxic additives were not used.
Apart from latex, another natural material frequently used in non-toxic mattresses is cotton. Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, breathable and soft. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that some cotton may have been treated with pesticides and herbicides. It is really important once again to make sure that the mattress you’re about to purchase is proven to be from a reliable source. If a product has the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certification, it guarantees that the fabrics in the mattress are at least 95 percent organic. You should be sure that the entire mattress is certified by GOTS, not only an individual component.
In conclusion, non-toxic mattresses are better alternatives to opt for in general, because they don’t contain questionable substances, instead they use natural materials that aren’t harmful for our health and don’t burden our planet. With this in mind, hopefully you’ll be able to understand commonly used descriptions and as a result, will be better placed to make your choice when buying a mattress.