What’s in Your Mattress?

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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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.

Dust and the Health Concerns It Brings

 

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Dust is everywhere in your home, from under your bed to on your walls and, of course, on the floor. Did you know that not only is it a common allergy, but researchers have found that common household dust exposes people to harmful chemicals on a daily basis?

A team of researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University have found harmful chemicals in 90% of dust samples collected throughout the USA. As you read below, you’ll notice that flame retardants play a role in this study.

  • Ten harmful chemicals are found in ninety percent of the dust samples across multiple studies, including a known cancer-causing agent called TDCIPP. This flame retardant is frequently found in furniture, baby products and other household items.
  • Indoor dust consistently contains four classes of harmful chemicals in high amounts. Phthalates, substances that are used to make cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring, and other products, were found in the highest concentration with a mean of 7,682 nanograms per gram of dust-an amount that was several orders of magnitude above the others. Phenols, chemicals used in cleaning products and other household items, were the number two highest chemical class followed by flame retardants and highly fluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware.
  • Chemicals from dust are likely to get into young children’s bodies. A flame retardant added to couches, baby products, electronics and other products, TCEP, had the highest estimated intake followed by four phthalates–DEP, DEHP, BBzP and DnBP. The intake numbers in this study probably underestimate the true exposure to such chemicals, which are also found in products on the drug store shelf and even in fast food the authors say.
  • Phthalates such as DEP, DEHP, DNBP, and DIBP, are not only found at the highest concentrations in dust but are associated with many serious health hazards. Phthalates are thought to interfere with hormones in the body and are linked to a wide range of health issues including declines in IQ and respiratory problems in children.
  • Highly fluorinated chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS are also high on the potential harm scale. These types of chemicals, which are found in cell phones, pizza boxes, and many non-stick, waterproof and stain-resistant products have been linked to numerous health problems of the immune, digestive, developmental and endocrine systems.
  • Small amounts can add up. Many of the chemicals in dust are linked to the same health hazards, such as cancer or developmental and reproductive toxicity, and may be acting together. Exposure to even small amounts of chemicals in combination can lead to an amplified health risk, especially for developing infants or young children, the authors say.

For the full article, click HERE

When it comes to buying a new mattress, there are options out there to make sure you get a mattress without flame retardants. When purchasing a 100% certified OMI mattress, you get NO synthetic materials and NO flame retardants – truly certified mattresses made with only certified organic materials in a manufacturing facility that is also free from chemicals. Employees do not smoke, wear perfumes, or wash their clothes with fabric softeners. Chemical sensitivities are becoming more common, so having an option to sleep without chemicals can be a life saver. Contact your local retailer for more information on our mattresses or click HERE.

We also offer a great Wool Underpad for platform beds. This way when you flip your mattress, it is free from dust that has gathered under it.

How to Choose the Right Pillow for You

I never thought about how a pillow can affect your quality of sleep and even your quality of life, but it really does make a huge difference in both respects. I grew up, as many of us do, sleeping on cotton or wool pillows. There are so many different types of pillows, and they are all meant for a variety of purposes. So how do you choose the right pillow for you?

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Your pillow preference will depend on many factors, including your size, shape, and preferred sleeping position/s. A pillow that is good for a stomach sleeper may not have enough support for a side sleeper. Some pillows are better for people who suffer from allergies. Some can last much longer than others. OMI offers a variety of great pillows to meet your personalized needs. They are made with certified organic Eco-Wool™, certified organic cotton, 100%-natural rubber latex, and/or organic buckwheat hulls, in a variety of styles and comforts and covered in a luxuriously soft certified organic cotton cover.

So how do you know which pillow is right for you?

 

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OMI’s Certified Organic Cotton Pillow

For those of you seeking a firmer, flatter pillow, our cotton pillows are filled with pure, sanitized 100% certified organic cotton.

 

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OMI’s Certified Organic Eco-Wool™ Pillow

If you’d like a pillow that feels soft and springy, offers natural body-temperature regulation, and compacts less than cotton, then our Eco-Wool™ pillow is for you!

 

Latex pillows are my personal preference. I am a back and side sleeper, and I LOVE how latex instantly conforms to and supports my head and neck. OMI’s molded latex pillow has a comfortable medium support, and is perfect for when I am sleeping face-up. It supports my head and neck without pushing back too much on my head.

 

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OMI’s 100%-Natural Rubber Molded and Contour Pillows

The contour pillow is great for side sleepers. It contours to the curve of your neck and successfully keeps your head and neck aligned by filling in the space between your head and shoulders. It has a lower side and a higher side, so you have the choice of less or more support. Plus, dust mites hate latex, which makes them great for people with allergies, and OMI’s 100%-natural rubber latex pillows do not offgas harmful chemicals.

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OMI’s Wool-Wrapped 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

OMI also offers 100%-natural shredded rubber latex pillows. Shredded latex pillows are great for sleepers who would like the benefits of a latex pillow, but are not sure what kind of loft would be best for their needs. The Wool-Wrapped 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow and the Crush™ 100%-natural shredded rubber pillow both offer customizable comfort.

 

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OMI’s Crush™ 100%-Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

The certified organic cotton zippered cover allows the owner to add or remove the shredded latex to create a lighter or fuller comfort. The wool-wrapped shredded latex pillow has an outer chamber filled with our certified organic Eco-Wool™, which helps you to sleep cooler.

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OMI’s Wool-Wrapped Certified Organic Buckwheat-Hull Pillow

The wool-wrapped buckwheat pillow is another great option for sleepers who prefer to customize their pillow loft. In this dual-chambered pillow, the outside chamber is filled with organic Eco-Wool™, which cushions both the feel and the sound associated with buckwheat pillows. The inner chamber is filled with certified organic buckwheat hulls, which you can add or remove to customize your comfort.

No matter what your needs or preferences, OMI has the pure, organic pillow for you!

Click here for more information or to find the nearest OMI retailer.

Allergy Season

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Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, and it’s a beautiful sight, except for those who suffer from allergies. Allergens such as pollen can cause all sorts of symptoms for allergy sufferers, such as itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Many people take prescribed or over-the-counter medicines that help allergy symptoms, but some of these medicines can cause side effects that are worse than the original problem. For a more natural solution to ease mild, spring-time allergy suffering, here is a list of 10 home remedies that may be helpful:

  1. It’s hard enough to avoid allergens outdoors, so try not to bring them into your home, too. Keeping windows and doors shut during allergy season can help keep pollen out of your house. Eliminate any cross breeze by shutting off fans that circulate air in and out of the house. Indoor air purifiers/HEPA filters are a great added step to keep your house as allergen-free as possible.
  2. While being outdoors it is difficult to avoid allergens, so one great step is to wear eye protection. Wearing sunglasses (with side shields) or goggles while outside will keep pollen and other allergens from landing in your eyes and causing swelling or itching.

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  1. Taking a steaming-hot shower has two major benefits for allergy sufferers: First, the steam soothes sinuses and clears nasal passages. The second benefit is that the shower washes away pollen and allergens from the skin and hair, preventing the spread of contaminants into your home.
  2. Peppermint tea has essential oils that act as an anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and mild antibacterial. A nice warm mug of peppermint tea can help alleviate irritated nasal passages and a sore throat.

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  1. For those who don’t want to take a shower every time they feel congested, a steam bowl is a simpler way to get similar results. Fill a large bowl with steaming water (add eucalyptus oil for added relief), place a towel over your head, and take deep breathes of the eucalyptus steam.

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  1. Another way to clear your nasal passages is to use a saline nasal rinse. There are many different methods of delivering the solution into your nasal cavity, but the basic concept is to flush out the congestion and keep the passages dry.
  2. For those who can handle spicy foods, wasabi and horseradish are great for clearing your sinuses. Allyl isothiocyanate is the ingredient in these two foods that activates your sinus and tear ducts to promote mucus flow. Also foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and cold-water fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are great for fighting inflammation when eaten regularly.

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  1. There are a variety of herbs and supplements which have been studied for allergy relief, such as spirulina, goldenseal, and eyebright. The plant extract butterbur has had strong results with reducing airway inflammation, as well as bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple. The stinging nettle is a plant with natural antihistamines, which can be extracted, consumed through tea, or absorbed a variety of other ways.
  2. Consuming locally produced honey on a regular basis is thought to build up your body’s immunity to local pollens. When bees transfer pollen from your region into honey and you eat it frequently, it can slowly inoculate you against regional pollens.

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  1. Since you spend a third of your life in bed sleeping, it is important to protect yourself from allergens in your bedroom. Dust mites are microscopic pests that live in warm, humid environments and feed on discarded human skin cells, therefore your mattress and pillow are an ideal location for them to live and thrive in. The excrement and buildup of dead dust mites can be the cause of allergic sensitivity. To protect yourself from being exposed to dust mites and bed bugs, consider purchasing OMI’s certified-organic cotton Bed-Bug and Dust-Mite Pillow and Mattress Barrier Covers. The tight micron weave prevents these pests from invading your mattress and multiplying, giving you peace of mind and a healthier night’s sleep. Here is a link to view more information about our barrier covers:

http://www.omimattress.com/Accessories.php#Barriers

 

What does “hypoallergenic” mean?

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I was out shopping, looking for mascara, and noticed that a lot of products say “hypoallergenic” on them. It got me thinking, what does hypoallergenic really mean? Is it a material that’s used? Is there a certification for it? Less allergic than what? I was surprised at some of the answers I found.

As it turns out, our President Walt knows about this topic.

“Hypoallergenic is a word that was created by a small cosmetic company in the early 1960s, and was quickly adopted by the advertising industry to describe products that produce fewer allergic reactions.

The Greek prefix HYPO literally means “less” or “below,” so when a product is designated as hypoallergenic it means that it will conceivably trigger fewer allergic reactions in people who suffer from allergies.

The term does not relate to chemical exposures. The expression has no medical definition, and there is no certification process or organization that reviews whether a product using the word “hypoallergenic” can prove any lessening of allergic reactions.” – “Sleep Safe in a Toxic World”       page 22.

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With some further research, I found that the use of the word “hypoallergenic” certainly doesn’t stop at cosmetics. It’s evolved with everything from bedding, cleaning supplies, shampoo even to pets. What a wide array of t items that can potentially be labeled “hypoallergenic”!

The frustrating thin, is that it allows companies to make you believe that you are buying a product that will reduce the severity of allergies or even prevent the chance of having an allergic reaction, when in fact there are no certifications for it. It can be used in any way by companies to market their products, and is one of the most commonly used greenwashing terms out there. (For more information on greenwashing, check out our blog HERE.)What does “hypoallergenic” mean?

“Hypoallergenic” is used to represent synthetic products and materials in a flattering light. For example, a polyester dust-mite cover may be of use in keeping dust mites at bay for allergy sufferer, but that’s only part of the story. Such products can also expose users to chemical offgassing and other hazards. Choose certified materials and products for relief from allergy symptoms and chemical exposure. –Lifekind website (http://www.lifekind.com/index.php/site_organic_products?sub=site_organic_ask)

Next time you see the word“hypoallergenic” on a product, ask yourself, “What makes this product hypoallergenic?” You may find that no measures are actually taken to make this loosely used marketing word true.