|Naturepedic Organic Queen size mattress we bought|
The problem with conventional mattressesConventional mattresses are made with materials grown under heavy pesticide use,and heavily sprayed with flame retardant and stain fighting chemicals. Foam cushioning is made from petroleum that can have toxic chemicals such as PBDEs or petrochemicals that off-gas chemicals. The off gassing of chemicals while you sleep can cause obviously could cause a host of health problems, all of which would be hard to identify (like all toxic chemical exposure).
How are Organic Mattresses Different?
Many organic mattresses are made up of a combination of organic cotton, wool (a natural fire retardant – replacing the need to treat with PBDEs) and natural latex (sustainably sourced). The mattress cores are usually either an innerspring system or natural latex. Both are good. Ours is an innerspring with cotton and wool. The mattress we got is a little firm for me, but perfect for my husband. I plan to make a mattress pad (out of wool and organic cotton) that's fluffy on my side and has little filling on my husband's side (so we are both happy). One cool thing with the latex mattresses is you can have each side to your desired firmness of softness. I just didn't like the latex as much myself. I guess it was too different for me.
Mindfull Momma's Criteria For Buying An Organic Mattress
- No chemical flame retardant chemicals - this was my #1 criteria
- Non-chemical flame retardants include wool and a combination of baking soda and hydrated silica
- No synthetic, polyurethane foam
- If you want latex, make sure it is natural latex rubber, not synthetic
- Made with a high percentage of certified organic materials including cotton, wool and latex
- Covered in organic cotton or food grade polyethylene (waterproof) instead of PVC vinyl
- GREENGUARD certification - 3rd party testing for low-emitting products
What if You Can't Afford a New Mattress?
Whether you can actually prevent chemical exposure from your mattress without buying a new chemical free mattress, I don't know. But Jane Sheppard at Healthy child has some ideas. She says that she uses two organic wool toppers on top of her conventional mattress because mattresses can off gas for a few inches. She says toxic gases are heavier than air so they can hover only an inch or two above the mattress. She doesn't claim that this prevents you from being exposed to chemicals, but says, "I also have a very good air purifier in my room that works well with VOCs. Does this scenario guarantee I'm not being exposed? No, but we do the best we can and we have to let go of the worry. As soon as I can I will replace the toxic mattress." I think this is a good attitude to have. We do the best we can, and then stop worrying about it. Otherwise we'll drive ourselves crazy. So if you can't afford a new mattress but you can afford a organic wool topper (most run $150-300) that might be a good option along with organic sheets until you can buy a new mattress. I found a Queen size topper doing a quick search for $147 as an example, and the cheapest organic sheets I've been able to find are at Target which is what we have. We also got all natural pillows from Naturepedic that are filled with plant fibers and dust mite protected.
Our Mattress Adventures
We recently purchased a Queen size Naturepedic mattress from a local store Moss Envy. The owners we're great at explaining our options and helping us through the process. It was very helpful to try out the mattress in the store. Who wants to buy a mattress without trying it out first? I am greatfull that we live nearby! I am also very glad that we purchased our mattress from Moss Envy rather than going through the manufacture (it costs the same either way). Because we did have problems with receiving our mattress undamaged. This was a shipping issue and no way should reflect on Moss Envy, if anything it was helpful to have the owners who have a relationship with Naturepedic to talk to them on our behalf.
Here's our story:
Our first shipment came within 2 weeks. My husband took off work to help, since the shipping company only brings it to your door step. We threw out our mattress in the rain to prepare for the delivery (big mistake). It arrived via YRC shipping with large fork lift holes through both boxes (mattress and boxspring) so we refused both. Since our mattress we throughout was ruined we had to sleep on our pull out couch that has a gym mat like cushion as a mattress and take down our bed to make room for it.
Our second delivery came 5 days later via YRC shipping the mattress was fine (thank god) but the box spring had an obvious forklift hole through it again, so we refused it. So now we were at least able to sleep on a mattress on the floor. The whole time Ryan the co owner of Moss Envy was very helpful with dealing with the situation and was able to get them to use a different delivery carrier FSB, and to through in some natural pillows for all troubles
Our third delivery with our box springs arrived via FSB shipping in about a week in perfect condition, yea!
We are happy with the mattress and feel like we are sleeping better and safer. I do not regret buying our mattress despite all the problems we had, (3 days taken off of work, 3 days of moving and assembling furniture, and several weeks of sleeping on our floor). I would just make sure to buy it through Moss Envy (so you have someone to help you with any problems) and I would advises you TO NOT THREW OUT YOUR MATTRESS UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR MATTRESS DELIVERED IN TACT (that was the biggest mistake we made) I would also advise you to expect longer delivery time in case you do need to send it back because it's damaged. I would expect more like 2-4 weeks. I think ours took about 4 weeks.
I hope our experience helps you in your quest for toxin free sleep. If you've purchased an organic mattress too feel free to share your experience too!