An Overview of Natural vs. Synthetic Mattress Materials

The natural vs synthetic debate is an old one and fuelled as much by emotion and conflicting belief systems as it is by facts. It is also the source of a great deal of misinformation and the "greenwashing" that is so common in the mattress industry. This article is certainly not meant to be the "final statement" in this argument and there will be more detailed investigations published here over time however this should at least help to dispel some of the misinformation that you will be exposed to in the name of "going green".

Mattress Foam Types

Other Mattress Materials

Fire Retardants

There are other materials not covered here that are used in mattresses however these will give you some general information regarding the "Natural vs Synthetic" controversy and hopefully will also help you to navigate through the quicksand of the many misleading and sometimes completely untrue natural, green, and organic claims.

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Thomast75's Avatar
Thomast75 replied the topic: #2 24 Apr 2017 07:16
Is the sleep ez organic bed made with certified organic latex or is it just parts
Phoenix's Avatar
Phoenix replied the topic: #3 24 Apr 2017 12:59
Hi Thomast75,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :)

Is the sleep ez organic bed made with certified organic latex or is it just parts


The SleepEZ organic line does use GOLS certified Dunlop latex, should you choose that configuration. There is no GOLS organic certified Talalay, although you can have a GOTS certified finished mattress using Talalay (see below).

The SleepEZ Organic line uses either GOLS certified 100% NR Dunlop or Oeko-Tex certified 100% NR Talalay. The cover is GOTS certified cotton and GOTS certified wool. The finished mattress itself doesn’t have a certification (which would be GOTS), as this is not a common thing for manufacturers to do. Even if the mattress had a GOTS 4.0 finished product organic certification, it could contain latex which isn’t GOTS certified. While GOTS 4.0 can get quite complex, the easier way to look at it would be that for GOTS they are looking mostly at textiles and the would classify other foams, coils and/or latex as “supports and frames”, which doesn’t figure into the calculation used for the total composition. These “supports and frames” must be GOLS certified themselves, or have a third-party certifications that GOTS approves and along with this certification the manufacturer must meet the GOTS list of banned chemical and certify that they are not using any of those chemicals. I know it’s quite confusing, and much of this has nothing to do with product quality, but that’s about as basic as I can make it.

Both the SleepEZ Natural and Organic line use high quality materials, and the choice of one versus the other would come down to your own personal preference of the importance of an organic standard versus a harmful substance/VOC testing standard such as Oeko-TEX. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here .

Phoenix
CeruleanBlue's Avatar
CeruleanBlue replied the topic: #4 28 Jul 2019 19:52

I would avoid all other fire retardancy methods and chemicals in a mattress.


I am currently mattress shopping and have been checking out many of the "bed in a box" online mattresses. I am not sure I have even seen one that states what fire retardant they are using. I have seen many saying they are CertiPUR certified but I haven't yet checked which fire retardants are allowed under that certification.
Phoenix's Avatar
Phoenix replied the topic: #5 30 Jul 2019 15:29
Hi CeruleanBlue,

Thanks for your post. Just for clarification, the Certipur will have nothing to do with the FR choice the manufacturer/brand uses. CertiPUR-US certified foams are:
✓ Made without ozone depleters
✓ Made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants
✓ Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy metals
✓ Made without formaldehyde
✓ Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
✓ Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million)

The FR material used is definitely a question that needs to be asked either through chat, email, or phone call. While not always easy to find at a first glance most of the TMU trusted members are transparent and list all FR information on their sites or those who don't list it are happy to provide this information.

Fire retardant chemicals have never been mandatory. What is required is that a mattress passes the 16 CFR 1632 and 1633 fire regulations with or without the use of fire retardant chemicals (the method of passing the regulations isn't specified in the regulations). The most common method used to pass the regulations is the use of inherent fire barrier fabrics that are either quilted into the cover or are wrapped around the inner materials of the mattress like a sock. There is more information about fire retardant methods that are commonly used in the industry in Mattress Fire retardant information in Post #2 and in the chemical-free mattress and FR in post #4 .

Phoenix
Goodsleep's Avatar
Goodsleep replied the topic: #6 05 Aug 2019 12:48
I need help on finding a solution for a mattress.
I did lots of research a few years ago and bought an expensive all-organic latex, wool and cotton mattress and base. After about three years, I thought my mattress was causing me to feel ill with tingling and burning arms and legs. I have since learned I was developing burnout from overwork for 20 years, possibly multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia so I don't know if the mattress was an issue or not. I have sold the mattress/bed and am now looking for something new.
- as odourless as possible as I am sensitive to smells (even unwashed? organic wool can bother me)
- no latex
- single extra long
- return possible after a trial period
- for side and back sleeper, 150 pounds male in 70s.
I am on Vancouver Island in BC Canada so something that I can obtain or have shipped here.
Suggestions would be appreciated.

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