Misleading marketers make it difficult to trust that you are buying what they say. This is also the case today with misleading “eco labeling.” Buying an organic mattress is a challenge because you have to know how to distinguish the false claims from the true claims. We hope this won’t be the case much longer; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently revised its Guides for the use of environmental marketing. Hopefully, this should make green claims more credible and shopping for an organic mattress less of a workout. For now, here’s how to move forward.
Verify 100% Natural Latex
If you are buying an organic latex mattress check and make sure that it is 100% natural latex. According to Walter Bader, author of Toxic Bedrooms, you might want to go so far as to get written assurance if you are in doubt. Why? Currently the label law doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose the percentages of synthetic latex (petroleum based) or natural latex (plant based, from Hevea brasiliensis) within a latex mattress. Therefore, a manufacturer can call the latex mattress “natural” when most of the mattress is in fact made of synthetic latex. Call the manufacturer to verify!
Verify Certified Organic Wool and Cotton:
Most organic mattresses are made with similar materials. These include certified organic wool, certified organic cotton, 100% natural latex and innersprings. To learn more about what’s in your organic mattress, read this blog post.
Keep in mind that you want the manufacturer using “certified organic” materials, not just organic or natural or eco or green. If it doesn’t say certified organic wool, (sometimes it will say pure wool, which is ….) if it doesn’t say certified organic cotton, again instead uses words like 100 percent natural cotton, undyed and unbleached cotton it’s not certified organic cotton without chemicals, so stay away. These are misleading marketing words designed to make you think that you are getting a chemical free mattress and you’re not.
Verification: Certified Organic Look for National Organic Program Certification
Just so you know, by way of third party certification a manufacturer can prove the claim that his product is made with certified organic fibers. This is a voluntary (often expensive annual) certification and numerous organic mattress makers choose to do this because it substantiates the claim that the mattress is made with certified organic cotton and wool.
Here are several of the certifying agents you might see: Oregon Tilth, CCOF Certification Services, and Organic Certifiers. If you are interested, take a look at the list of USDA-accredited organic certifying agents on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.