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    What to look for in latex certifications?

    Bedroom setup outdoors in the mountains above a lake with the sun rising.

    When researching latex mattresses, you'll find that many of them boast various certifications. But what do these certifications mean, and are they actually important? Here's a rundown of the most common certifications you'll see, and what they actually signify.

    When it comes to mattresses, there is a lot of controversy surrounding polyurethane foam and whether or not it is safe for use. CertiPUR certified poly foams are tested to be safer than other polyurethane foams, but if you're looking for an option that is without synthetics and petroleum, the best place to look is to “100%” natural latex or GOLS certified organic latex. Polyurethane foam is made from petroleum and other chemicals, which may release potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air. These VOCs can cause health problems, including headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Natural latex is made from rubber trees, and does not contain any synthetic or petroleum-based materials.

    What is CertiPUR-US®? In 2008, polyurethane foam manufacturers in the United States were concerned about substandard foams being imported into the country. Some of the foams being imported into the United States were suspected of being made with banned chemicals that chemical watch groups said could cause cancer, genetic defects, or damage to the unborn child. This obviously caused quite a bit of concern among consumers, who had no way of knowing what was inside the foam used in their bedding and upholstered furniture. In response to this, the CertiPUR-US® program was developed. This program tests and certifies that flexible polyurethane foam meets standards for content, emissions, and durability. The foam is analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. This provides consumers with the comfort and confidence of knowing that the foam they're using is safer than other polyurethane foams on the market.

    When it comes to buying latex mattress, the first certification to look for is the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). This certification is given to latex that's been certified organic at every stage of production, from the rubber tree farm to the finished product. To be certified organic, the latex must be free of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Organic latex is a healthier choice for both you and the environment. It's free of potentially harmful chemicals that can off-gas and cause respiratory irritation. And because it's produced without pesticides and herbicides, it's better for the planet.

    With latex, you want to be sure that you're getting a pure product. Unfortunately, companies can make claims about "natural latex" without providing any guarantee that their latex is 100% natural. One way to be sure that you're getting a pure product is to buy latex that is certified organic by the Control Union (GOLS). GOLS certification ensures that there are no fillers or additives of any kind in the latex. This is important because fillers and additives can potentially compromise the quality of the latex.

    If a mattress is labeled as "100% natural latex," it means that the latex is derived from rubber trees without any synthetic additives.

    Another important certification to look for is the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This certification means that the latex has been tested for harmful chemicals and found to be free of any that could be harmful to humans.

    It’s important to understand that this certification does not mean a product is organic. There are different standards and requirements for products to become certified organic. That doesn’t mean that items that are OEKO TEX Standard 100 Certified cannot also be certified organic.

    The OEKO TEX Certification is a voluntary certification process that tests for a variety of chemicals, pesticides, and phthalates. In addition to common things like lead and arsenic, items that are specifically banned in order to pass muster include the following: chlorinated phenols, carcinogenic dyes, AZO dyes, allergy inducing dyes, VOCs, heavy metals, and more. The certification process is fairly thorough and includes testing for a wide variety of potential hazards. This makes it a valuable tool for consumers who want to be sure that the products they purchase are safe.

    The certification only means that the product has been tested for specific harmful substances and meets the criteria for those substances. There are different levels of certification, and each level has different requirements. The requirements for each level are available on the OEKO TEX website. It’s important to note that the OEKO TEX Standard 100 Certification is not the same as the organic certification. The organic certification is a guarantee that a product is made with organic materials and meets specific standards for organic production.

    So, are these certifications important? They can be, depending on what you're looking for in a mattress. If you're looking for a mattress made with certified organic latex, then the GOLS certification is the most important one to look for. If you're looking for a mattress that's sourced from sustainable, well-managed farms, then the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal is the one you want to look for. And if you're looking for a mattress made with latex that's free of harmful chemicals, then the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification is the one you should look for.

    Of course, these certifications come with a price tag. Mattresses made with certified organic latex will usually be more expensive than those made with non-certified latex. And mattresses with multiple certifications will usually be more expensive than those with just one certification. So, if you're on a budget, you may want to prioritize which certification is most important to you and look for mattresses that have that certification.

    In summary, latex mattress certifications are a way to ensure that the mattress you're buying meets certain standards. Some certifications are more important than others, depending on what you're looking for in a mattress. And, of course, mattresses with multiple certifications will usually be more expensive than those with just one.