Organic latex foam. Organic memory foam. Organic soy foam. There are a variety of different terms used, but the fact of the matter is that foam is not organic.
Wait, hold on, you’re saying. You offer organic mattresses! Yep, we do and we’re passionate about these products, which is exactly why we’re writing this. It is important to note that organic mattresses are constructed of organic components. There is simply no such thing as a 100% organic mattress offered anywhere in the world, not for $1,000 and not for $100,000.
The trouble is that many organic mattress makers label their foam as organic, and in our opinion this is a deliberate attempt to mislead the consumer. The thing is that to make foam, you have to take a multitude of ingredients and mix them all together. As soon as you do that, you’ve created something that nature doesn’t make. I suppose we could count sea foam as organic, but when was the last time you were able to sleep on the frothy, bubbly stuff that the ocean cooks up?
The “most natural” foam is a very small portion of the various latex foams available today, and even then, we still need to add foaming agents. The highest natural percentage for rubber is somewhere in the range of 95% from Green Sleep. Green Sleep makes the purest, most elastic latex foam rubber in the world, period. Most other latex varieties are significantly lower than this number. In fact, the most common natural percentage is 30%, with the rest being SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber), a petrochemical product.
Then we have memory foam. Memory foam is primarily made with petrochemicals, although there are now some memory foams which incorporate as much as 30% natural soy content. This is still a far cry from being 100% natural, let-alone organic.
So back to the organic components. When we’re talking about organic, we’re talking about cotton, wool, linen, coconut. These materials all exist in nature without us altering anything. Of course we also have to be careful as cotton in particular may be grown organically, the trouble is that many bedding companies end up bleaching or dyeing the cotton in the end, so it is important to verify they have not done this. Usually a visual check is adequate, as cotton should have an ivory sort of colour to it, not stark white, nor blue or black or red.
If you’re concerned with the purity of the foam in your mattress, Eco-Institut in Germany is the leading authority on certification for natural rubber. Both Green Sleep and Latex Green (Natura sources all of their natural Dunlop rubber from Latex Green) possess these certifications. Most latex foams simply fail the testing performed by Eco-Institut.