We switched out all of our mattresses for SleepOnLatex mattresses about two years ago, and I could talk all day about how amazing they are and why I love them, but I want to give some background on why non-toxic mattresses are really important.
Several years ago, my husband and I were excited to upgrade to a pillow top mattress, and we were promised luxurious sleep. But all the excitement quickly faded when we were overtaken by an intense smell after unwrapping. After a few days with no change, and not feeling like we were getting a good night’s sleep, we called the store, but we were told that it was completely normal, and it’s just “off-gassing”
Ummmm, off-gassing what? And for how long?
Well, the short answer is toxic chemicals in the form of flame retardants and/or volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), which are known to cause a number of health issues like headaches, nausea and dizziness, nasal irritation, allergic reactions, neurological problems, liver and kidney damage, and cancer. And flame retardants have a similar list: reproductive issues and thyroid disruption, brain and nerve function damage, and cancer. Sometimes we assume that if we don’t see these health issues immediately that it’s fine, but toxic exposure can build up over time resulting in chronic health conditions later on.
The VOCs are byproducts of the mattress materials (polyurethane foam, synthetic latex, and plastics), so you won’t see them on a materials label list, and the materials are often labeled “natural” or “chemical free”, which is legal because the toxins are in the byproduct, and not the material itself. Lovely, right?
But the materials are just as bad.
Polyurethane foam is produced using the same process as petroleum oil, and involves many toxic chemicals, and it also accumulates moisture (mycotoxin mold issues – yikes!), and the cherry on top: it’s highly flammable, so needs to be saturated with toxic flame retardants.
Another material used in mattresses is synthetic latex, which is also a petroleum product with the same qualities as polyurethane: toxic additives, potential mold and mycotoxins, and flame retardants. Some of the materials used in producing synthetic latex (styrene and butadiene) are toxic to the brain, liver, lungs, nervous system, and are carcinogenic. Yuck.
And why are all these materials and toxic chemicals allowed? Well, like most things regulatory in the US, the standards are pretty low.
However, just recently WebMD posted an article: Is Your Mattress Releasing Toxins While You Sleep? which discussed a 2019 study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, which “suggests your body heat might trigger the release of potentially harmful chemicals from your mattress.” The article indicated that the levels are “well below that could cause health effects…However, some compounds did reach levels of concern for infants and young children.”
One interesting thing to note is that mattresses were off-gassed for six months prior to the study. Sarah Evans, an assistant professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai stated in the WebMD article, “Often we think, well, if you let something air out for a little while, you can dramatically reduce the level of chemicals that are off-gassed,” she said. “In this case, even after six months they still saw appreciable levels of off-gassing.” Yikes. Maybe they will do a follow-up study.
So does it really matter if we sleep on a bed of toxic foam?
Well, sleep is restorative. According to Sleep Foundation, while we sleep there is tissue growth and repair, energy is restored, hormones are released, and the REM cycle provides energy to the body and brain. Most importantly, all of this contributes to a healthier and functioning immune system. In addition to the restorative and healing benefits of sleep, we spend one-third of our lives in bed.
After learning about all of this, we did a lot of research on non-toxic mattresses. SleepOnLatex Pure Green® Latex Foam is made out of 100% natural latex, no synthetic fillers or flame retardants, and organic cotton and organic New Zealand wool, both are GOTS-certified. Their natural latex is harvested from rubber trees in Sri Lanka, and much higher quality and durability than synthetic latex. The SleepOnLatex Pure Green® Latex Foam is also Class 1 certified from Oeko-Tex, and you can read more about the latex here and how how the mattresses is constructed and its certifications here.
Naturally, anything non-synthetic is going to be a little bit more expensive, but health issues and cancer aren’t cheap either (we’ve got the medical bills to prove that!). You could spend several thousand on a nontoxic mattress if you wanted to, and some of that cost is certainly justified. But let’s face it, everyone sets out to get the most competitive price out there, and we found that SleepOnLatex was one of the most reasonably priced without compromising on materials. As an added bonus, no box spring is required so that saves some money on the overall mattress cost.
Aside from cost, another important factor is comfort and durability, and their mattress is very comfortable. It sort of feels like a memory foam combined with a pillow top. SleepOnLatex offers both “firm” and “medium”, and we choose medium because we are primarily side and stomach sleepers, and it’s been perfect. I’ve heard that some people get firm because they are worried it will get softer over time, but we’ve had our mattresses for almost two years, and ours haven’t changed. They do offer a 100 day trial period with free returns and a 10-year warranty.
The best part is that there is no chemical smell off-gassing like our last synthetic mattresses. It is natural latex so there was a bit of an earthy smell when we unwrapped it, but that went away after a couple days. One person told me that hers had a smell for a while, so SleepOnLatex replaced it. But again, expect to smell some of the natural latex initially, but it’s better than inhaling the synthetic chemicals and carcinogens. 😉
They are very easy to unwrap and then unroll on the bed frame.
In full disclosure, it is pretty heavy, so moving it off the bed frame is a two-person job, but doable. Our movers did mention that they were heavier than regular mattresses. But that’s quality, right?
We really could not be happier with SleepOnLatex mattresses! Not only are we getting better sleep, but we can rest easy knowing that our body is not being bombarded with toxic chemicals and carcinogens.
*This is not a sponsored post, but SleepOnLatex did send us one mattress (we have previously purchased four others). All opinions are my own. If you chose to purchase via Amazon affiliate links, I will receive a small percentage of your purchase.