Organic Mattress Certifications
If you're thinking of buying an organic mattress, you have to make sure it's got certificates that show it has been tested for the presence of harmful chemicals and it actually contains organic materials.
Some manufacturers claim that their mattresses are organic and non-toxic, but if they don't have any certificates, it means that their claims have not been scientifically verified. Take a look at our list of organic mattress certificates and find out what they mean before you buy your organic mattress:
GreenGuard test mattresses for the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC). They place mattresses in vacuum chambers and test air sample using gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and other technologies.
The levels of formaldehyde, VOCs and other toxic chemicals that could affect indoor air quality must be below the limits allowed in order to satisfy GreenGuard certification standards.
Some organic mattresses manage to obtain the GreenGuard GOLD standard, which means that they've got the highest level of purity, and are safe for the most vulnerable people, including children elderly, and those suffering from chemical sensitivities.
Global Organic Textile Standard
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certifies mattress materials as organic. GOTS certification tests materials throughout the supply chain and the manufacturing process, and they certify that a material contains at least 95% of organic fibers, contains no toxic substances, GOTS-certified colorants etc.
GOTS-certified materials (such as organic cotton) have to be made in places that met strict social criteria which ensure that there is no forced labor, child labor and health and safety conditions are met.
Your organic mattress covers should be made of GOTS-certified organic wool and cotton. Check their database to find GOTS certified suppliers.
Global Organic Latex Standard
GOLS certificate is given to natural latex that contains 95% of organic material. It has to meet strict standards regarding the use of harmful chemicals, such as VOCs, certain chemical flame retardants and formaldehyde throughout the production chain, including rubber tree farms and harvesting.
GOLS not only takes into consideration the use of chemicals and their effect on human health and the environment throughout the manufacturing process, they also focus on social issues, such as work conditions of people involved in the natural latex production chain.
In Made Safe certified products, 6500 toxic substances are banned from use. They certify a wide range of products, including baby products and mattresses. They use scientific methods, such as mass spectrometry, to scrutinize products for the presence of chemicals, such as pesticides, VOCs, neurotoxins, and fire retardants, that could be harmful to human health or the environment.
There are only three organic mattress brands that are currently Made Safe certified: Avocado, Naturepedic and Happsy.
The Eco Institut is a Germany-based certification body that gives certificates to low-pollutant and low-emission indoor products, including furnishings and bedding. In their labs, they test materials used in your mattress for the presence of different toxic chemicals, such as VOCs, heavy metals, pesticides, and formaldehyde.
This label is given to products for the period of 2 years, and then it can be renewed to ensure that the products are always according to the high Eco-Institut standards.
Oeko-Tex certification is given to mattresses and textile products that don't contain or release certain toxic chemicals. They test every part of your mattress to make sure they all meet the strict criteria regarding the use of chemicals.
Apart from natural materials, they allow synthetic foam as long as they meet their criteria. You can check if your mattress is Oeko-Tex Certified using their database (choose your mattress category under Product Type).
Organic Content Standard
Organic Content Standard checks the amount of organic materials in mattresses and other products. The organic materials must be grown and processed according to USDA Organic Standards, however, they don't take into consideration the chemical composition of dyes and finishes that might be applied to these materials at later stages.
Depending on the percentage of organic materials it contains, your mattress can get either an Organic 100 seal (for 100% organic products) or Organic Blended seal (for products with lower amounts of organic materials). You can find all Organic Content Standard certified products in their database.
USDA Organic seal certifies agricultural products that are grown and processed in accordance with organic standards, without using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
USDA certified organic products contain at least 95% of organic ingredients. If a product comes with a "Made with organic" label it means that it contains 70-94% of organic ingredients.
While USDA Organic certifies organic fibers, it doesn't certify other non-organic components of your mattress as well as dyes and other chemical treatments. So when buying a mattress that only has this certificate, you can't be sure it doesn't contain any toxic chemicals.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
FSC-certified mattresses contain latex that comes from responsibly managed forests. The latex certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) can be easily traced to its origins so that the consumers can be sure it comes from sustainable sources that comply with FSC certification requirements.
Rain Forest Alliance
The Rain Forest Alliance is a certification body for forest products. The certification process follows five principles that focus on continuous improvement in areas such as effective planning and management, biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource management, improving livelihoods, and making cattle farming more environmentally friendly.
Certi-Pur is not a certificate given to organic mattresses but we decided to include it in our list as it certifies mattress non-toxicity.
They test polyurethane foam in memory foam mattresses to check if it meets their standards regarding the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, flame retardants, heavy metals and other chemicals that contribute to indoor air pollution.
They also prohibit the use of polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PDBE. You can check the list of Certi-Pur certified companies here.
What Is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a term that became popular in the 1980s. It refers to a company or organization that spends more time and money claiming to be environmentally friendly than actually implementing business practices that are good for the environment. It's a form of false advertising.
Greenwashing can also refer to misleading claims about a product, service or company made by an organization whose primary interests are in making money rather than the environment.
That's why it's important to check that your mattress has got appropriate third-party certifications. This way, you can be sure that your mattress is made of eco-friendly materials and complies with environmental industry standards.
Why Is a 3-rd Party Mattress Certification Important?
When buying a certified organic mattress, it is important to have a 3rd party certify that it follows certain safety standards. The mattress companies selling the mattress should be able to provide the certification documents for their product.
There are many independent organizations that verify that these standards are met so you can rest assured knowing your mattress is truly organic and not just made with natural materials. In the organic latex mattress industry, there are two main organizations that certify and approve such products. They are:
GOLS - Global Organic Latex Standard: A non-profit organization that certifies all aspects of the latex, including its harvesting, transport, transformation and manufacturing.
GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard: This is an internationally recognized certification for organic textile products including the first criteria that ensures that no toxic dyes are used.
There are many other 3rd party organizations, if different ones have been chosen by a mattress company. It is important to familiarize yourself with them and their respective certifications.
How Can I Verify an Organic Certification Is Real?
You can verify if a company is certified by visiting the website of the organization responsible for issuing certificates. For example, to check if an eco-label is real you can visit the relevant association's website. The websites usually have a database where you can look up a product and its certification.
Alternatively, you can verify certification by asking the mattress makers or retailer for a copy of the certificate as proof. If you are not sure if a company is certified, contact the organization responsible for issuing certificates and find out.
Why Should You Buy a Certified Organic Mattress?
The term organic mattresses covers natural latex mattresses, hybrid latex mattresses and latex-free natural mattresses made from certified organic cotton, wool, coconut coir and other natural fibers.
An organic mattress is made of 100% organic fabrics and materials. This means it contains no toxic chemicals or pesticides. It offers safety, health benefits and comfort that are compromised in conventional mattresses. Here are the main reasons to buy an organic mattress:
In conclusion, buying a natural mattress is the best choice you can make for your family and environmental health. These mattresses are healthy and safe and keep your costs down in the long run as they last much longer than conventional beds that use cheaper construction materials.
Read More: Top 20 Organic Mattresses for Kids