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Category Archives: in the news

Memorial Day: A Time to Remember

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To our brave service members past and present: we thank you for your service and dedication. We are thinking of you and the loved ones we have lost this Memorial Day.

And for those families awaiting the return home of your soldiers, this is what you have to look forward to:

Makers of Flame Retardants Manipulate Research Findings

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Did you know that federal law requires mattresses to pass vigorous open-flame flammability tests?  These tests are usually passed with the use of chemical flame retardants.  It is a proven fact that chemical flame-retardants offgas volatile organic compounds (VOCs).   Knowing that, are these flame retardants really helping? An article written by Sam Roe and Patricia Callahan for the Chicago Tribune discusses how research was manipulated by chemical companies to increase the need for the flame retardants.  Included is an interview with the study’s lead author, Vytenis Babrauskas.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

 CHICAGO — Twenty-five years ago, scientists gathered in a cramped government laboratory and set fire to specially designed chairs, TVs and electrical cables packed with flame retardants For the next half-hour, they carefully measured how much the chemicals slowed the blaze.

It was one of the largest studies of its kind, and the chemical industry seized upon it, claiming the results showed that flame retardants gave people a 15-fold increase in time to escape fires.

Manufacturers of flame retardants would repeatedly point to this government study as key proof that these toxic chemicals – embedded in many common household items – prevented residential fires and saved lives.

But the study’s lead author, Vytenis Babrauskas, told the Chicago Tribune that industry officials have “grossly distorted” the findings of his research, which was not based on real-world conditions. The small amounts of flame retardants in typical home furnishings, he said, offer little to no fire protection.

“Industry has used this study in ways that are improper and untruthful,” he said.

The misuse of Babrauskas’ work is but one example of how the chemical industry has manipulated scientific findings to promote the widespread use of flame retardants and downplay the health risks, a Tribune investigation shows. The industry has twisted research results, ignored findings that run counter to their aims and passed off biased, industry-funded reports as rigorous science.

As a result, the chemical industry successfully distorted the basic knowledge about toxic chemicals that are used in consumer products and linked to serious health problems, including cancer, developmental problems, neurological deficits and impaired fertility.

Industry has disseminated misleading research findings so frequently that they essentially have been adopted as fact. They have been cited by consultants, think tanks, regulators and Wikipedia, and have shaped the worldwide debate about the safety of flame retardants.

One series of studies financed by the chemical industry concluded that flame retardants prevent deadly fires, reduce pollutants and save society millions of dollars.

The main basis for these broad claims? A scientific report so obscure that it is available only in Swedish.

When the Tribune obtained a copy and translated it, the report revealed that many of industry’s wide-ranging claims can be traced to information regarding just eight TV fires in western Stockholm more than 15 years ago.

Although industries often try to spin scientific findings on the safety and effectiveness of their products, the tactics employed by flame retardant manufacturers stand out.

Tom Muir, a Canadian government research analyst for 30 years, called the broad claims based on the eight Stockholm TV fires “the worst example I have ever seen of deliberate misinformation and distortion.”

The American Chemistry Council, the leading trade group for the industry, said flame retardants are safe products that help protect life and property. “ACC’s work is grounded in scientific evidence, as we believe regulatory decisions related to chemistry must be evaluated on a scientific basis,” the trade group said in a written statement.

But when the Tribune asked the trade group to provide research that showed flame retardants are effective, the council initially provided only one study – the one Babrauskas wrote and now says is being distorted by industry.

The full article is available HERE.

OMI has developed a system that allows us to use Naturally Safer® wool as our only flame retardant. As a result, our mattresses are able to pass federal flame tests without the use of toxic chemicals or silica barriers.  To use any form of chemical flame retardant in our products would violate our ethical standards and integrity.  We stand by our purity so you and your family can have a safer place to rest your head at night.

Keep watching this blog for more information on mattress flammability laws and how we pass them.

Human Mattress Dominos

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Here’s a little video to bring some laughs to your Monday.

  

 850 people in New Orleans were knocked back onto mattresses in “human dominos” to break the world record for the number of people taking part.

Who says mattresses are just for sleeping?

Don’t Be Fooled By “Green” Disguises

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Insist on a Purity Guarantee.

Click HERE to see our Purity Guarantee.

  • Misleading advertising has invaded our industry. How can you compare all the choices among companies that claim to have the “best” products at the “best” prices? Like the difference between fast food and fine dining, similar materials may be used, but the results can be dramatically different. Not all organic mattresses are created equal.

    Companies are making false claims to dupe consumers into buying. The organic mattress industry is experiencing increasing levels of fraud, with companies making outrageous claims online about their mattresses being “nontoxic,” “chemical-free,” “organic,” or “hypoallergenic.” Some of the claims aren’t even possible, and the rest can be verified only with third-party certification by USDA-approved certifiers using organic requirements such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard).

    Without independent testing and certification, there really is no way to know what a mattress contains. Basing decisions solely on a company’s unverifiable claims is risky business. Just because it’s on the web doesn’t mean it’s true.

    Regardless of what you’ll see on some websites, it’s impossible for anything to be “truly chemical-free” or “100% nontoxic” – even the purest untouched wilderness landscape contains some chemical traces, and pure spring water can be toxic in high-enough doses.

    It is possible to have is extremely low levels of chemical offgassing, however. And that’s what we’ve proven with our certification from the prestigious GREENGUARD® Environmental Institute. We pass their most rigorous standard, for Children and Schools, passing tests for offgassing of hazardous chemicals that measure down to parts per billion at levels that are virtually nonexistent. Third parties guarantee that what we say is true.

    We’ve always made the purest mattress available. From day one, we’ve set the standard for organic purity. From the U.S.-grown, certified raw materials we use to our GOTS-certified organic Eco-Factory to the GREENGUARD certification for chemical offgassing of our finished products, our facility, materials, processes, and products are independently certified every step of the way. We even guarantee that we make the purest mattress available with our Purity Guarantee, which states that “If you can find a purer mattress, we’ll give you ours for FREE!”

    That proud tradition continues with the introduction of the world’s first certified organic mattresses. Our Classic Innerspring is certified organic as a finished product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Our Most Precious Resource

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Just because it’s raining outside doesn’t mean that we don’t need to be conscious of our consumption.  Here is an excellent video that will help you think about our impact on the world. It is produced by GE, but the information is excellent!

Let’s Meet the Lago…

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The Lago is a two-sided, 10” sculpted-surface organic mattress made with a 6” core of firm 100%-natural rubber latex under an internal, sculpted-surface 3” layer made from soft 100%-natural rubber latex. The mattress is covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.  This mattress is a true two-sided mattress, as it has two different firmness levels to offer greater flexibility to the sleeper.  One side of the mattress features the sculpted layer of soft natural rubber, giving an overall medium feel, while the second side is a flat layer of firm natural rubber latex, giving a firmer option if needed.

Features and Benefits

  • Sculpted surface offers pressure point-relief and increases air circulation
  • Pillow top built into the internal mattress design
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Signature OrganicPedic® fully quilted cover
  • Eco-Wool fill naturally regulates body temperature
  • Naturally mold, mildew, and dust-mite resistant

Lago Mattress Cutaway

 MSRP (mattress only): twin $3295 • full $3895 • queen $4095 • king $5395

Foundation sold separately.

Spring Forward into Spring

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It’s that time of year again, when we set our clocks and welcome Spring.

At 2 a.m. on Sunday March 11, 2012, many people will set their clocks ahead one hour for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  75 countries and territories have a location that will observe the time change, while 164 countries and territories will not observe the change at all.

While this time change is most likely the one that is least favorite amongst the masses, since we “spring” forward and lose an hour of sleep.  A good way to not lose sleep from the time change is to crawl in bed an hour earlier and try to get some extra ZZZ”s.  We also gain an hour of daylight, which is refreshing, as the days get longer, allowing more time for fun!

The invention of Daylight Savings Time was mainly credited to William Willett in 1905 when he came up with the idea of moving clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings. His proposal suggested moving clocks 20 minutes forward each of four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.  Although it was a popular concept it never took off until it was first adopted in Germany during World War I at 11:00 pm on April 30, 1916 to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort.  Many more countries then followed suit, including Britain and the United States. Many countries reverted back to standard time after the War, and it wasn’t until the next World War that Daylight Savings Time would make its return to many countries in order to save vital energy resources.

Today, Daylight Savings Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. The time change will precede the first day of spring and the vernal equinox, which is set to take place at 1:14 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 20.

Not a fan of Spring’s Daylight Savings Time? Don’t worry… You’ll  get your normal schedule back on November 4.

Leap into March!

Today the shortest month of the year gains an extra day.  Leap Year has been around for about 2,000 years.  The 365-day calendar was created by Julius Cesar around 45 BCE, and astronomer Sosigenes brought on the addition of the extra day in February every four years.

Julius Cesar

Many people wonder why we even have Leap Day.

Our year is 365 days long, except that isn’t entirely true.  A full cycle of seasons, or for the earth to complete its full rotation around the sun, is actually 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds or 365.242199 days, long to be precise.  Over time the extra quarter of a day can add up and without the Leap Day the calendar would not match the seasons.  After 30 years, it would be off a week, after 100 years, it would be about 24 days off.  If we did not have Leap Year the calendar could be off nearly 16 months behind…

Here are some fun facts about leap year:

  • The chances of being born on a Leap Year are 1 in 1,461
  • About 4 million people worldwide have a Feb. 29 birthday
  • It is believed that the actual term “Leap Year” was derived hundreds of years ago, when Leap Day was not legally recognized, and so it was ignored and “leapt” over
  • Feb. 29 is traditionally a day where women were “permitted” to ask men to marry them. Today, Feb. 29 still commemorates Sadie Hawkins Day, the namesake of the turnabout dances many schools still host, where girls are encouraged to ask boys to attend with them.

Back By Popular Demand….

The Flora

The Flora is back!  Available once again as a part of the OrganicPedic line, the Flora is a two-sided, 8” flat-surface organic mattress made with three layers of 100%-natural rubber latex.  The 3” firm latex inner core is sandwiched between two layers of 2” soft latex and then covered with our signature OrganicPedic knit quilting.

The Flora offers a firmer feel without the hard impact of a firm surface or a compromise in comfort.

Flora Cutaway

Features and Benefits

  • Firmness: Med-Firm
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Signature OrganicPedic fully quilted cover
  • Eco-wool fill naturally regulates body temperature
  • Naturally mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant

MSRP (mattress only): Twin $2595 • Full $2995 • Queen $3295 • King $4695

Foundation sold separately.

 For more information about the Flora, visit the OMI website HERE or contact the OMI Sales office for questions or order inquiries at 800-951-9196.

Rave Reviews: Houston

Thank you Winnie Hamilton, a passionate Houston environmental health expert, for your wonderful review of the OMI Terra Mattress and your purchase and delivery experience with one of our OMI retailers, New Living in Houston, TX.

“I recently bought an OMI Terra mattress from New Living in Houston. I love it. The delivery guys not only came right on time (the beginning of a tiny two-hour window) and set up everything, but they also took (for a small fee) my old mattress to be recycled (i.e., not to a landfill).

But the mattress itself is amazing…incredibly comfortable and beautifully constructed. I mean, it’s actually beautiful to behold; and you can flip the pillowtop for variable plushness. I have hip problems and the wrong mattress literally destroys my life as the hip pain will wake me up every 30 minutes or so. So I need a mattress for pressure points.

A lot of people would recommend Tempur-pedic or another memory foam for me and even knowing how toxic they are I’d probably consider one if it gave me glorious sleep (even as a staunch environmentalist and health proponent, when you’re up all night…every night…in pain, your principles begin to slip), but the truth is that I tried a memory foam topper and it made me sick. I put it outside for nearly a month and still the outgassing and chemicals gave me bad headaches, tremors, bone-aching fatigue and a kind-of mental fog. Did my hips like it? Yes, a lot, but my brain and the rest of my body apparently didn’t.

Which is what led me to OMI and the Terra, which is I think probably the best organic mattress for people with hip or pressure point problems…although I’d be the first to say that finding the right mattress is intensely personal and everyone is different. I did ‘test drive’ the Terra at the Modern B&B in Houston and it felt pretty good, but one night–although better than a 10-minute ‘sleep’ in a store–isn’t sufficient.

The Terra has no smell, no toxic ‘ingredients’ and is strangely firm while also being one of the softer mattresses (people with pressure point issues generally need a mattress to support and give in the right places). In any event, I’m a fan…and New Living was super (I researched and debated for months and months.  They didn’t pressure me or badmouth other companies). Last, I really do like supporting Houston companies when possible. If we want more environmentally responsible companies here, we need to support them.

Cheers!

Winnie Hamilton

Houston, TX”

To learn more about the Terra Mattress or to find a retail location near you, visit the OMI homepage, HERE, for more information.

Terra

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