Why Allergy Sufferers and The Sleep-Deprived Find Relief With A Natural Latex Mattress
Guest post by Cheryl Hahn, Owner, CozyPure(R), certified member of Green America’s Green Business Network
NATURE’S ABSOLUTE BEST MATTRESS MATERIAL
In 1931, the world’s first latex mattress was introduced as an alternative to horsehair, kapok and cotton batting. The features were appealing. It didn’t have to be flipped, it stayed fresh, it stayed responsive, supportive, and it kept its shape. The many benefits of a latex mattress made it a huge success with consumers up through the 1960’s.
PROVEN TO PROVIDE HEALTHIER SLEEP
In 1954, Dr. Theo Lammers from the Institute of Hygiene at Gutenburg University proved latex foam contains exceptionally high anti-bacterial properties, making it the hygienic ideal for mattresses, superior to all other materials. The study showed that latex mattresses are unsurpassed in comfort and support, it showed exceptional durability, it stays cool, and is the healthiest choice due to its high anti-bacterial and allergy-free properties.
IDEAL FOR ASTHMA AND RESPIRATORY DISORDERS
Further work in 1956 by Doctors Fuchs and Gronemeyer at the Asthma Clinic concluded, “the advantages of latex foam mattresses have been outlined by health and surgical authorities and the bacteriostatic (capable of killing bacteria), as well as fungus, and mite resistant properties of latex material found by Dr. Lammers is confirmed.”
Throughout the decades, the cost of this premium material made it more expensive for manufacturers to produce and consumers often didn’t want to buy this higher priced option. In order to offer lower-cost mattresses, latex was soon overshadowed by beds made with lower-quality materials such as synthetic batting and petroleum-based flexible-plastic foams placed over innerspring coils.
I’m Cheryl Hahn, the founder of CozyPure, an organic bedding company based in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1991, our flagship mail order catalog, Tomorrow’s World, was one of the first companies to offer a selection of natural latex mattresses made with organic cotton and wool. Back then, over 20 years ago, we reintroduced this “tried-and-true” mattress from the 1950’s to consumers across America. I admit it was difficult because it entailed a LOT of education on our part. Our passion to offer only the best healthy, green products provided the dedication to push forward and inform folks about the amazing benefits.
Fast forward two decades and consumers are beginning to understand the value equation of their purchase and realize that investing in a quality latex mattress will pay for itself many times over the lifetime of use it provides. Unfortunately, this spur of interest also made manufacturers take notice, with clever and often deceptive marketing which can fool consumers who don’t have all the facts.
GET THE FACTS
Buyer beware. The popularity of latex mattresses comes with a price to the consumer. Most “natural” latex really only contain a percentage of natural material. Many “so-called” latex mattresses often contain only a small layer of latex surrounded by foam. Large amounts of unregulated chemicals can be found in almost all synthetic foams (including soy-foam and memory foam).
Polyurethane foams are derived from oil (not very earth-friendly) and the basic ingredients include polyols, isocyanates, blowing agents, and other additives including flame retardants. According to a recent EPA report released in August of 2015, most of these newer chemicals still have limited data with cause of concern about carcinogenic effects.
Although PBDEs have finally been phased out due to documented health hazards, new alternative chemicals are now being used in their place during the manufacture of flexible polyurethane foam. In addition, many fabrics are coated with both stain-resistant chemicals and flame retardant chemicals.
Even materials such as “organic cotton” are being advertised on certain mattresses when in fact the fabric is blended with synthetic polyester. In this era of popularity for latex mattresses and “green”, it’s imperative for the consumer to do thorough research so they can be 100% sure they are getting the product they think they are purchasing.
HOW IS NATURAL LATEX RUBBER MADE?
Rubber tapping is the process by which rubber is harvested. An incision is made in the bark of a rubber tree, which cuts through the bark so the latex drips into a collecting cup. The work is done at night or in the early morning before the day’s temperature rises, so the latex will drip longer before coagulating and sealing the cut. Rubber tapping does not hurt the trees and it’s a great way for the indigenous people to make a living using their natural resources.
Each rubber tree weeps about one tablespoon of latex daily and a Queen size six-inch core needs the daily output of 2500 trees, spread over 12 acres of rubber plantation, providing a living to eight rubber tappers. Interestingly, these rubber trees account for the removal of 143 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment every year.
Don’t let the “creaminess” fool you. Our natural latex rubber is made from the milk of the Hevea Brasiliensis (rubber tree), so some folks think it will be too soft (like milk). Actually, natural latex rubber is the firmest, heaviest and most durable component you can use inside a mattress. Once the rubber tree milk sap is harvested and baked, this solid, thick core can last for decades offering you support and comfort -WITHOUT the chemicals.
Latex allergies? No worries. The allergic proteins in latex are completely removed when made into a soft natural rubber foam. Plus, it’s encased and covered inside organic cotton so there’s never direct contact.
Natural latex rubber is proven to be the very best component used in mattresses and offers a healthier sleeping environment. It’s naturally dust mite resistant; it’s breathable so you don’t sleep hot; it’s resiliency is known to last for decades; it’s responsive support offers comfort and proper alignment.
Not only is natural rubber an excellent choice for better sleep, it’s also made from a renewable, sustainable resource so it’s wonderful for our dear Mother Earth. Conventional mattresses that use polyurethane foam, including memory foam, is derived from petroleum. Here at CozyPure(R), we get our 100% natural latex rubber direct from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, known for the finest rubber plantations in the world. No synthetic latex. No poly foams. No fillers. No lies.
Most manufacturers that make mattresses with real natural latex rubber also use organic cotton and wool in the cover, another natural resource that’s better for you and better for the environment.
TEMPERATURE REGULATING WOOL HELPS KEEPS YOU DRY
Wool provides a temperature-controlled sleep environment that’s perfect for your body. No matter the season, wool is able to maintain the perfect body temperature. In the winter, wool produces warmth without overheating and has the ability to keep you comfortable, and in the summer you don’t overheat because of its moisture-wicking process.
The average sleeper loses a pint of moisture every night and wool is able to absorb this moisture without feeling damp. The cells of wool fibers are able to quickly and efficiently absorb and evaporate moisture. Due to the natural crinkled structure, wool has an enormous capacity to store air. This property allows your skin to breathe as you sleep surrounded by natural, dry warmth – without the clammy feeling associated with synthetic materials. You’ll wake up well-rested and refreshed. It’s the perfect ingredient for your mattress and comforter.
CALMS THE HEART FOR DEEPER SLEEP
Studies show that the heart rate is significantly lower when sleeping with wool. Feathers, down, polyester and other synthetic fibers had no effect on (and sometimes increased) the sleeper’s heart rate. A lowered heart rate induces a deep, relaxed sleep.
NO DUST-MITES, MOLD OR MILDEW
People with allergies are able to use wool products because it is resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew which can trigger allergic reactions. Wool is also dust-mite resistant because it evaporates moisture rapidly and dust mites can’t thrive in a dry environment. Our wool is not chemically acid-washed, and it’s also completely covered in organic cotton, so even people with wool allergies can enjoy sleeping with a CozyPure(R) mattress and comforter.
NATURALLY FLAME RESISTANT
Using only wool, we passed Federal Regulation PART 1633 – Standard for the Flammability (Open Flame) of Mattresses – so we don’t need to add any FR barrier or chemicals.
Because healthy bedding materials are becoming more popular, many manufacturers are now adding wool as a marketing tool – but that doesn’t mean the wool is the actual fire barrier. In most cases you’ll find they add wool under the fire barrier just so they can “claim wool” simply to sell their mattress.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC COTTON
Most consumers are unaware of the abundant textiles available to manufacture “green goods” and the opportunity to market products deceptively, otherwise known as “greenwashing.” A perfect example is mattress ticking, the fabric used on the outside of a mattress.
Many mattresses offered today are marketed with “organic cotton” or “bamboo” fabric, however they neglect to tell you the content breakdown. For example, mattress knits are comprised of three components: the face (top side), the fill (inside), the back (bottom). The majority of “organic cotton” knits feature organic cotton only on the top side. That is, the inside and bottom of the knit is made from polyester. These fabrics are advertised misleadingly to the consumer as “organic cotton” even though only 33% of the fabric is really organic.
Adding synthetics defeats the purpose of creating a natural sleep system that breathes. Man-made synthetic materials can trap heat and moisture which won’t allow breathability of the fabric. Also be sure there are no chemical finishes such as formaldehyde, which is often used on wrinkle-resistant sheets.
THE PERFECT COMBINATION
By using only three of nature’s finest ingredients – natural rubber milk, pure wool and organic cotton – we as manufacturers can offer people comfortable, healthy sleep without harmful chemicals. The materials are wonderful for folks who have allergies or suffer from comfort issues. The fact that everything is renewable and sustainable makes a natural latex mattress the perfect combination for both people and planet.
Eat well. Sleep well. Be well.
Cheryl Hahn, Owner
CozyPure ® organic mattresses and bedding