Those new to latex beds often wonder how to to tell synthetics and blends apart from natural latex mattresses. Attempting to unravel the mystery of what qualifies as a certified natural latex mattress can be difficult without knowing how and where to conduct research. Many consumers are not aware of the existence of independent certification agencies or where to find them. Instead, they may rely only on a company’s claim that their products are certified natural or organic. Learn more about the evaluation process and how to determine who sells certified natural latex mattresses.
Who certifies natural latex mattresses?
While a majority of companies work to be ethical and honest with consumers, some may bend the facts or obscure information about what they sell. This can be especially true in the mattress industry, as manufacturers are allowed to keep information on materials and additives under wraps under the premise of trade secrets. Perhaps the best way for consumers to get unbiased information is to consult third party certification bodies. These organizations exist to test products and offer their seal of approval, so consumers have a standardized way to compare products. When it comes to searching for natural latex mattresses, the primary certification you will want to be familiar with is the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. Keep reading to learn more about this certification and others that can help you uncover natural latex mattresses.
Oeko-Tex Association is an independent, third-party product review board. Oeko-tex© is a system that is used to evaluate textile products throughout their production stages. It is well-known in Europe, however people are less familiar with the Oeko-tex labeling in the United States. The products that are granted use of the label have met strict adherence to guidelines governing dangerous and harmful chemicals. They also have health safeguards in place and include safe work practices as part of the criteria. The criteria for meeting their approval means a product is free of any banned or controlled substance, substances being considered for banning or thought to be harmful, and following guidelines on health protection.
Oeko-Tex uses four different categories to classify products based on its intended use. Thus a coat for an adult will have different requirements than a baby bed or pajamas. The Oeko-tex© Standard 100 certification means that every single component meets the standards that have been set for the entire product. Thread, buttons and metal zippers as well as the printing are all included.
Textiles considered for this standard:
- Product Class I – This includes bedding and clothing for children aged 0-3 years. It is the most stringent classification.
- Product Class II – This is for textiles and bedding that touch the skin, including undergarments.
- Product Class III – This group of items includes coats, stuffings and other textiles that do not actually come into contact with bare skin.
- Product Class IV – The group includes curtains and textiles used in furnishings, floor coverings and mattresses.
To apply for Oeko-Tex 100 certification, natural latex mattresses must meet the following:
- No heavy metals.
- No pesticides or chlorinated phenols.
- Strictly limited levels of phthalates, organic tin compounds, colorants, benzene and toluene.
- No more than trace amounts of formaldehyde.
- Must have a skin friendly ph level.
- Free from chloro-organic carriers.
- No biologically active finishes.
- No allergenic dye-stuffs and dye stuffs that form carcinogenic arylamines of the MAK-groups III A1 and III A2.
Companies that carry this certification in the U.S. recognize the importance of consumer health issues. Natural latex mattresses are already known for being hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, mold and mildew resistant, and for being inhospitable to dust mites. The addition of the Oeko-tex© label to natural latex mattresses helps consumers ensure they are getting a safe and healthy product. In North America, the only entity to currently hold Oeko-Tex 100 certification for latex mattresses is Latex International, a prominent manufacturer of latex goods. Their materials are used by several latex mattress retailers.
Organic certification is guaranteed by different bodies depending on the type of product. When it comes to claims of organic goods, you always to ask WHO is certifying the product and what their credentials are and WHAT exactly is being certified.
Latex foam is not recognized as a certifiable organic product by the USDA. The latex product and farms that produce latex trees may be certified organic, but this certification does not extend to the end products. One body, the Control Union, published their Global Organic Latex Standard last year, which includes mattresses prepared from 95% organic raw materials
Textiles, or fabrics, can be certified organic by a number of organizations. Here are a few of the most trusted organic certification bodies for textiles (i.e. cotton and wool):
- GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard
- USDA – United States Department of Agriculture.
- Oregon Tilth
Who Sells Certified Natural Latex Mattresses?
Previously, we compared latex mattress brands and here is a recap of our findings with certification details added.
|Latex Mattress Company||Type of Latex||VOC/Chemical Certified?||Organic Certifications||Starting Price (queen)|
|Astrabeds (All)||Organic Dunlop||Yes, Eco Institut||OCS-Certified Cotton, CU/GOLS-Certified Latex||1,799|
|Flobeds (Organic Collection)||Natural Talalay||Yes, Oeko Tex 100||Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative Certified Cotton||1,999|
|Habitat Furnishings (Natural Collection)||Natural Dunlop Core / Talalay Top||No Mention on Site||Optional upgrade to OTCO/GOTS-Certified Cotton Cover||1,399|
|Life Kind (All)||Organic Dunlop / Natural Talalay||Yes, Oeko Tex 100/GreenGuard||OTCO-Certified Cotton, CU/GOLS-Certified Latex||2,495|
|Sleep EZ (Organic Collection)||Natural Dunlop / Talalay||Yes, Oeko Tex 100||GOTS-Certified Cotton||1,495|
Of the brands we looked at, most mentioned Oeko-Tex 100 or Eco-Institut certifications (meaning the whole mattresses or the foams are tested for VOCs/toxic chemicals) and provided the name of the body that certifies their cotton covers (if organic). Most are using natural latex, though Astrabeds and Lifekind also use or include certified organic latex foam. Of the two organic collections, Astrabeds 100% natural latex mattresses offer the best value, starting at $1799 compared to $1999 and $2495 for the other two organic lines (not including sales/promos). Among simply natural beds, Habitat offers similar values starting at $1399.
We hope this introductory guide to natural latex beds makes your research process a little simpler and less confusing. The primary takeaway is that when searching for certified natural latex mattresses, you want to start by considering what the mattresses are composed of and what entities can support the retailer’s claims.