With so many brands claiming to be organic mattresses in Los Angeles alone, it’s up to the consumer to stay vigilant and do their homework before making the purchase. Looking for the right third party certification labels is key.
What are organic mattresses?
An organic mattress is a type of bedding made of either natural fibers or latex as described in the Policy Memorandum released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last May 2011. Thus, only mattresses that use materials that are certified by the USDA can use the term ‘organic’ on their labels.
To be certified as organic, the fibers should grow without the help of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetic engineering. However, USDA’s policy memorandum is easily exploited by some bed manufacturers who want to ride the tailcoats of the increasing organic mattress niche.
In truth, the USDA allows mattress manufacturers to put ‘organic’ on their labels even though only a select few materials are actually from a certified source and the process itself does not support organic manufacturing practices. Makers are free to use harmful chemicals and still be able to retain the label ‘organic’ without violating any existing laws.
To be truly organic, the mattress must not contain nor allow the manufacturing process to use certain chemicals. A certified organic mattress must have a composition of at least 95% certified organic fibers plus, at most, 5% non-toxic chemicals.
Translating Organic Mattress Certifications: What It Actually Tells Consumers
Most experts will tell you that the only way to differentiate the genuine certified organic mattress from those that are only organic by name is to look for certifications or the sign of approval from reputable certifying bodies.
However, looking for the certification body’s official logo is not enough – you should actually know what their logo means.
Issued by the Alliance of Flexible Polyurethane Foam Inc., this is the most common seal that most consumers encounter in the market. While having their seal means that the mattress has met the specific criteria for content, indoor emissions, and quality performance, this certification only applies to mattresses made of polyurethane foam. Since polyurethane itself is not organic, seeing their logo on a mattress that is claiming to be organic is a little contradictory and confusing.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
Dubbed as the best certifications an organic mattress can get, their signs of approval can only be obtained if the mattress passed the most stringent requirements. Both the GOTS and GOLS do not only look at the minute composition of the mattress, but it also reviews the manufacturing process to ensure that the brand is truly organic.
The GOTS evaluates a mattress at all stages of processing, the only thing it does not review is the cultivation of the fibers or latex used to make the mattress since the USDA certification is already enough for them.
You can do your own research on the other certification logos and what each means. Furthermore, don’t forget to commit the logos to your memory so that you can avoid purchasing a mattress with a fake GOTS or GOLS logo. Only then can you be sure the mattress you are buying is a healthy and ecologically-friendly certified organic one.
Mattress Certifications, Standards, Seals, Tags and Labels, BedTimesMagazine.com
What is an Organic Mattress?, OrganicTradeAssociation.com