For today’s post, I’m going to answer a question that I often get – is an organic mattress worth investing in and which one should I buy?

The answer to the first part is yes – sort of. If you think about it, all of us spend a considerable amount of our life sleeping, especially infants and young children who spend an average of 10 to 14 hours or more a day sleeping. Unfortunately most conventional mattresses contain many unsafe and toxic chemicals, including chemical flame retardants and formaldehyde. So while we are sleeping, we are breathing all those chemicals in. So if there is a furniture item worth greening, it’s the surface we sleep on.

However, while an organic mattress is great, what’s really important is if it’s truly non-toxic. Some organic products can still contain harmful chemicals, so it’s important to look beyond the organic label. For a mattress, that means looking at the materials that are used both in the filling and cover. Ideally both would be made from untreated natural materials, such as organic cotton, wool, and latex, though some people are allergic to wool so that is also important to keep in mind. Another item to consider is that research has shown that coil spring mattresses create electromagnetic radiation, so it’s best to choose one without innersprings.

When looking for an organic mattress, it’s best to look for one that has been certified by a third party and has the following certifications (if the mattress has cotton, wool, and latex, it should have all three certifications), which means it’s been verified to meet a high level of standard:

  • GOTS – Global Organic Textile Standard. Mattresses with this certification must use at least 95% certified organic fibers for all fabric used.
  • GOLS – This stands for Global Organic Latex Standard and is the first third party standard for organic latex. It specifies that the latex used must be at least 95% organic latex.
  • GREENGUARD – An independent certification that requires environmental chamber tests for over 360 chemicals. This certification specifies that a mattress is low in VOCs, phthalates, formaldehyde, and other harmful chemicals and that it is safe for children and the elderly.

Some of my recommendations to try, starting with more local options, include:

  • North Shore Linens: GOLS certified organic Dunlop Arpica latex mattress, which comes in a GOTS certified organic cotton cover.
  • Dream Designs’ La Luna (Vancouver-made, mattresses only available to customers in Canada): GOTS, GOLS, and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified mattresses.
  • Greenworks Building Supply: GOLS certified organic latex mattress by Naturelle, which also comes in a GOTS certfied organic cotton cover.
  • Essentia: GOTS and GOLS certified mattresses without inner springs, and has a store in Vancouver. All mattresses are made just outside Montreal, Quebec.
  • Nature’s Embrace: GOTS and GOLS certified mattresses without inner springs. Some models are sold at the Vancouver store Majestic Sit & Sleep and a larger selection can be found at the Langley store McCleary’s. Majestic Sit and Sleep also carries other GOLS certified latex mattresses with a lower price point, mainly because of the difference in the material used for the mattress cover is bamboo rayon and polyester instead of organic cotton.
  • My Green Mattress: GOTS, GOLS, and Greenguard Certified mattresses, including one without inner springs, and excellent price point for organic mattresses. All mattresses are made in the USA.
  • Sleep On Latex: Oeko-tek, ecoInstitute, and GOLS natural latex mattresses with organic cotton and organic wool. Excellent price point, and lots of great information about their company and their products available on their website.
  • Obasan: GOTS and GOLS certified mattresses without inner springs, excellent price point for baby and child mattresses, and shipping rates are quite reasonable.

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