With so many options available now in the way of mattresses, it’s hard to know what you are really paying for or sleeping on. Below is a breakdown of materials that are commonly used in mattresses in today’s market.
Polyfoam/Quiltflex: Most commonly found as the “comfort” layer in the top of the mattress or as a the firm core in the mattress. Polyurethane foam is a synthetic foam that is found in everyday applications, from car seats to mattresses to furniture. Although polyfoam has come a long way and can now be found using a plant base, it is far from being organic or non-toxic.
Memory Foam: Memory foam is polyurethane with the addition of chemicals that increase it’s viscosity and density. This is why it “sinks” when you lay on it and bounces back when you are no longer on it. Without these properties, it would just be foam.
Springs: There are so many options out there in the way of spring mattresses. This is the most common type of mattress. From a continuous coil to pocket coil to zoned coils, you have your options. Each offers a different sleeping and support experience. A continuous coil is the least expensive of the coil systems out there, and can be found in most retailers’ showrooms by almost every mattress manufacturer. Pocket coils are individually wrapped and operate individually providing support to your whole body regardless of your body shape, type, or weight. They also cut down on motion, so if your partner moves, you don’t feel it as much as your would with a continuous coil. Zoned coils are found in a pocket coil option. Usually the lumbar area has a higher density coil to provide further support.
Latex: Do your research, as there are many different latex options out there. There is blended latex, natural latex (contains synthetic materials), and certified organic rubber. Some mattresses contain more than one of the above. We at OMI manufacture our certified organic mattresses with certified organic Dunlop and certified organic high-density latex.
Wool: Wool is usually used as a comfort layer in the top of the mattress. It helps regulate body temperature by whisking moisture away and keeping you and your sleeping area dry. When doing your research, be sure to ask how much wool is being used; is it all wool or a combination of wool and other fibers/materials? OMI uses certified organic wool for comfort and as a fire retardant (wool cannot be set on fire). Our mattresses contain wool on the sides, top, and bottom.
Cotton: Most fabrics that cover mattresses are a form of cotton (referred to as “ticking”). Cotton can also be used as a comfort layer in a mattress. Cotton, like wool, helps to regulate body temperature and whisk moisture away, allowing you to sleep more comfortably. We use certified organic cotton in our mattresses, also.
Polyester Fill: This is probably the most common raw material used as a comfort layer in mattresses. It is soft, fluffy, and inexpensive. Polyester fill is tiny synthetic fibers woven together to create the comfort layer.
Fire Retardants: If you are worried about VOCs, then watch out for which fire retardants are being used in a mattress (or furniture for that matter). Toxic sprays are used to prevent mattresses from being set on fire and to pass the flame tests needed to be able to be sold in the U.S.
As a consumer, you need to do your homework and ask the hard questions about the exact makeup of your purchase. Ask where it was produced, ask to see certifications, and ask about every component.
Contact your local OMI Retailer for a mattress you can trust in, made in an eco-friendly factory by employees who do not smoke or wear perfumes. We sanitize our certified organic wool and certified cotton before use. Handmade with nothing but the best certified organic materials.
Why is wool becoming such a popular material in the mattress and bedding industry? Wool has many beneficial properties, many of which contribute to restful sleep.
One of the most well-known benefits of using wool in bedding and mattresses is its natural tendency to regulate body temperature. No more sleeping with one leg out of your covers or stealing your partner’s covers to stay warm.
Wool is also hypoallergenic. It is resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew because the wool fibers naturally wick away moisture. No moisture means no dust mites! Dust mites love warm, moist areas. Wool is dry and not always warm.
Wool is naturally flame-resistant. It difficult to ignite, it does not melt, and flames are easily extinguished. For this reason, OMI uses certified organic wool as the natural flame barrier on our mattresses so that we do not have to use harmful chemical flame retardants.
Wool is also easy to clean and keep clean. Its fibers generate very little static electricity, so it repels dirt, lint, and dust, and stays cleaner longer. Dirt that accumulates sits on the surface of the fiber, and is therefore easily removed.
Lastly, wool is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and sustainable. Sheep produce wool yearly. As long as there are sheep, we’ll have wool. Wool is 100% biodegradable as well, so it is a great choice for the Earth!
California Senate Bill 1019 was approved on September 30, 2014. This bill requires manufacturers of upholstered furniture to identify and label products that contain flame-retardant chemicals with a statement on the product’s label.
While mattresses were excluded from this legislation, OMI agrees that this is information consumers deserve to have. OMI has become the first mattress manufacturer to voluntarily label its mattresses with the words “This product contains Organic Wool and does not require flame retardant chemicals.” OrganicPedic® mattresses meet all flammability requirements using certified organic wool and unique methods of construction.
Consumers should have the right to choose the healthiest option available and have access to information regarding materials and processes used to manufacture a mattress. We feel a responsibility to help our customers become better educated about toxic chemicals found in conventional furniture and bedding.
We hope that this voluntary step on our part will not only support this important Senate bill, but also bring attention to the importance of labeling all products, and not just items found in the upholstered-furniture segment.
Airing tonight on HBO is a documentary that explores the chemical-laden flame retardants contained in much of today’s furniture.
Here is an excerpt from the article, Should Americans Fear Their Furniture? by New York Times author Jane Margolies:
“The pet hairs and red wine stains on sofas across America, it turns out, should be the least of our concerns. The real issue is what is in the foam cushions we curl up on every day: up to two pounds of flame retardants.
In their HBO documentary “Toxic Hot Seat,” scheduled to be aired on Monday, the directors James Redford and Kirby Walker disclose that these chemicals, as used in home furnishings, do not stop fires. They do, however, whoosh out of seat cushions when we plop down, hitching a ride on airborne dust and ending up in our bodies. They have been linked to cancer and other health disorders.
The film explores how a 1975 California law requiring retardants (Technical Bulletin 117) became widely adopted. And it follows the firefighters, scientists, health advocates, state legislators and investigative journalists who brought attention to the chemicals, leading to a recent reform of the California mandate — which the directors, who spoke from their homes in the San Francisco area, applaud.”
We at OMI continue to use a safer system that allows us to use organic 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 heads at night.
To learn more about OMI and the certified products we offer, click HERE.
SACRAMENTO – California Department of Consumer Affairs Advisory Board Member Walt Bader, President of Organic Mattresses Inc. (OMI), reviews public comments on proposed new upholstered furniture flammability standard.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs held hearings on their proposed California Technical Bulletin 117- 2013 on March 26, 2013, and the DCA Advisory Board reviewed all public comments in late April.
Among the comments made by Board Member Bader was a suggestion that there be an exclusion written into the new legislation allowing a consumer to opt out of having to purchase any products incorporating flammability treatments by providing a medical exception.
Bureau Chief Tonya Blood advised the board that they had decided to include this language in the new regulations. Bader provided significant input regarding the 54 individual public comments that were suggested, and the legislation will go forward with the recommendations and comments of the board.
Bader stated that he felt it was a good standard and one that was created with excellent input from industry stakeholders.