Is a mattress made from organic materials better for your health?

organic mattressWhen I’m writing an article that has a question for a title, I usually wait until the conclusion section to reveal my answer. Not here though. This one is too obvious. So, yes! Organic materials do make for better mattresses. We’ll see why in just a bit.

We need perfect bedding for a good night’s sleep. Bad mattress, filled with dangerous chemicals is the exact opposite of that. We need to sleep well in order to re-set our bodies after a long day and enable them to function properly. Sleep deprivation will result in impaired functioning, weight gain, and even some of the more serious chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Great mattress is your first step in the right direction if a good night’s sleep is your goal. But knowing that over 90% of all mattresses contain dangerous chemicals, we need to raise the level of awareness when it comes to this issue.

So, I already gave you the answer, but if you want to see why I think the way I do, stick around, and I’ll show you all you need to know.

Let’s talk dangerous chemicals

In this section, I’ll go over some of the most famous toxic chemicals commonly featured in your everyday mattresses. SO, let’s not waste any time and let’s get right to it:

Fire retardants – Since 1975. It’s required for all foam in mattresses and other furniture to be fire retardant in the state of California. This decision was made in order to prevent household fires. Manufacturers started applying this policy to their furniture sold in all of the states, and that’s how chemical treating for fire resistance was introduced. Polyurethane foam that breaks down into various volatile organic compounds (VOC) is widely used in your everyday regular mattresses.

As it breaks down there’s a possibility of releasing polybrominated-biphenyl-ethers (PBDE), which are becoming overwhelmingly illegal and replaced with other flame retardants. Those replacements could prove to be even more dangerous, but we won’t now since all the adequate testing has been completed.

These compounds can stick around for very high amounts of time and are proven to cause thyroid, neurological and other serious developmental problems. 97% of all citizens of US have elevated concentration of PBDEs in their blood, with California on the top, due to the bill from 1975.

The biggest problem, as I already mentioned is the fact that these chemicals stay in our environment for a very log time, even after we remove the source. That’s why several countries started banning the use of certain sorts of PBDEs. We’ll mention California, Maine, and Washington. In 2009. the international environmental community labeled PBDEs as persistent organic pollutants

Boric acid – It’s a highly toxic chemical commonly used for killing roaches. Prolonged exposure will cause skin blisters, convulsions and sometimes even coma. Neurological and developmental problems will occur after a long-term exposure. Upper respiratory tract will suffer serious damage from inhalation. It is used by many manufacturers in mattress lining, and you could be inhaling it daily (or nightly, to be precise)

Antimony – It’s a chemical that’s very similar to arsenic. Arsenic is powder though, while antimony is a metal. It’s been known to cause reproductive issues such as fertility problems and even miscarriage. Long-term exposure will cause liver and heart damage. Crib bedding has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by some studies. One study from 1998. found an elevated level of antimony in the blood of infants that died from SIDS

Formaldehyde – It’s a strong-smelling, colorless chemical used commonly in a wide array of household products and building materials. Insulation, glues, and pressed wood products will certainly contain it. Air saturated with this chemical will cause coughing, burning sensation in the nose and eyes, skin problems and nausea. Longer exposures can be responsible for cancer, liver toxicity, neurotoxicity and lymphatic system damage

Ok, this is one half of the story, and not a pretty one at that. The fact is that our house is filled with dangerous chemicals that can cause some serious problems, as I already stated before. Now, at this point we still know nothing about the alternative. So, I believe it’s time for us to get to know these organic counterparts a little better.

Why go organic?

Coleman QueenCot With Airbed 2Well, first of all, you’ll avoid exposure to all those nasty chemicals I just talked about. It’s proven that people have a better sleep while on natural organic fibers. Studies also show that you’ll turn and toss far less on organic mattresses. You have a choice of cotton, wool, natural rubber, or combining all three.

Now let’s see the advantages of each option I just mentioned:

Wool is chemical free – Organic wool is environmentally friendly and a sustainable resource. Sheep are just shorn and not killed in order to get the wool. It’s produced without the use of any chemicals, hormones or pesticides. These mattresses offer a superior night’s sleep and are proven to reduce back pain. Wool, being a natural fiber is highly absorbent, so it will keep you cool during the summer and warm in the winter

Natural rubber/latex is resistant to dust mites – Natural rubber is produced out of rubber tree’s sap found in Brazil. The sap is harvested and turned into a latex foam using a whipping procedure. The tree will heal within one hour, allowing us to tap it again very soon. It can be tapped approximately 180 days yearly.

No need to mention that no toxins or chemicals get used during this procedure of making rubber. The end result is a latex mattress that gets covered with cotton or wool. It’s hypoallergenic, resistant to dust mites and anti-microbial since fungus, bacteria and dust aren’t able to penetrate the latex core. This type of mattress is very elastic, and it’s expected to last much longer than your average coil mattress (up to 20 years)

Organic cotton is formaldehydeless – It’s vital to find a product that’s 100% organic cotton. The farmers in the US treat their crop with a lot of different pesticides, and synthetic cotton is treated with formaldehyde to prevent wrinkling. Just look for 100% organic and you’re good to go


Organic mattresses are vastly superior option. Not cheaper though, but there’s no putting a price on health.

I hope I made some things a bit clearer. If I did I look forward to seeing you again.

Sleep tight and away from dangerous chemicals.

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James Menta

Camping Gear Reviewer at
Three things you need to know about James - he holds a degree in Materials Technology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he is a zealot for the great outdoors and he can never find his glasses.       In brief intermissions between looking for his glasses, he is the Editor-in-chief of

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