The sap of a rubber tree is used to produce latex. Over time, people have discovered ways to tap the trees without destroying them. This means it is the most environmentally sustainable method of making mattresses. The harvesting of latex has become environmentally responsible; however, there is a vast difference between organic latex versus “natural” latex, as well as the effects these products have on your health and wellbeing.
How Are Latex Mattresses Manufactured?
Rubber sap is whipped into a froth and processed using either the Dunlop or Talalay method.
The Dunlop Method:
This has been the trusted process of making latex mattresses since the 1920s. In fact, it is one of the few processes that avoid synthetic (and toxic) chemicals. There are no synthetic materials, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or other manufactured items in a mattress made of organic latex.
The Talalay Method:
This method of processing latex makes use of unnamed curing ingredients, such as ammonia, which is used to stabilise liquid rubber. Petrochemical-based synthetic urethanes are also blended into the mix. The Talalay method can therefore never be certified as organic. However, Talalay is often labelled as “natural Latex”. Through the introduction of ammonia in the Talalay process, exposure can cause burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage or worse.
How Does the Processing of Latex Affect You?
When you sleep on a mattress that contains synthetic chemicals, you not only breathe in these chemicals (which are released due to a process called off-gassing), but you also end up absorbing these harmful chemicals through your skin. These chemicals are carcinogenic; and unfortunately, most people don’t realise that their mattress can actually increase their risk of cancer! For more information, refer to our post: “Is your mattress harming you? Is memory foam toxic?”.
In addition, as you sleep you release moisture through your skin. In fact, certain mattresses (like memory foam) are notorious for trapping heat; this means that your body releases even greater amounts of water. The problem is that this moisture becomes trapped in the synthetic mattresses, and creates a perfect environment for bacteria, mold and dust mites. Exposure to these irritants not only has a negative impact on your overall wellbeing; it also directly affects your sleep quality.
Can You Put Your Trust in a Certification?
The issue often boils down to finding certifications that actually mean something.
In South Africa, there are no consequences for making false claims. Manufacturers lie to the public; and as a result, people are ignorant of the chemicals that are in their mattresses.
Finding 100% organic certifications has become a challenge. Many retailers make use of the practice called “greenwashing” which is to falsely use terms like “green”, “organic” and “all-natural”. They reinforce these claims with bogus logos. These terms are frequently used interchangeably, but they don’t always mean the same thing and they certainly do not mean that a product is truly organic.
Natural Latex Versus Organic Latex Certifications
“Natural Latex” is a certification that does not hold substantial value. Words like “natural” are often vague terms – so while ammonia has natural elements, it is dangerous. Would you want to be exposed to ammonia on a regular basis?
It’s your body and you have the right to know what is in your mattress because the chemical composition directly impacts you and your family’s health.
We advise you to be cautious of manufacturers who claim that natural latex is organic – it’s not. Organic latex is far superior to natural latex.
Beware of false claims and ask for proof in the form of an organic certification. Why spend your hard-earned money on latex that is going to off-gas toxic chemicals? Ask yourself what is in it for you and always insist on proper and current certification – if it’s not certified, it’s not true.
GOLS – The Only Organic Latex Certification That Matters.
When choosing a latex mattress, the only certification that truly means anything is GOLS (GLOBAL ORGANIC LATEX STANDARD).
Globally, GOLS is the recognised standard for products made from organically grown natural rubber latex. Manufacturers who have permission to produce organic products using the GOLS label are required to adhere to strict social and environmental regulations (Control Union, n.d.).
GOLS Regulations and Requirements:
GOLS has established the following specific standards for products that are made of natural latex:
- The minimum amount of organic material that must be present in a product for it to be labelled organic.
- Stringent regulations regarding the use of toxic chemicals and polymer fillers that off-gas of harmful chemical emissions.
- Transaction receipts tracking the chain of custody on latex products as they move through the supply chain from plantation to final product.
All Naturelle products containing latex are GOLS certified.
Who else can give you a certification of this quality?
Other manufacturers claim to be the best, but can they actually prove it?
Additional Benefits of Organic Latex Mattresses
Aside from the obvious health benefits, you’ll love Naturelle’s organic latex mattresses because our beds are hypoallergenic & 100% Allergy Free.
Our mattresses provide superior sleeping posture support. Proper posture support reduces the aggravation of back and joint issues.
At Naturelle, we want what is best for you, and this planet.
Our standard is to create wholly natural products of a traceable origin which are socially justifiable and ethically legitimate in the bio-chain.
– Earth to Earth, Dust to Dust –
Control Union (n.d.). “GOLS – GLOBAL ORGANIC LATEX STANDARD”. Available from: <https://certifications.controlunion.com/en/certification-programs/certification-programs/gols-global-organic-latex-standard>. [Accessed July 2022].