Home

What All Those Certifications on Mattresses Actually Mean

Label Education: Decoding what GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard, Organic, and more mean

Choosing the right mattress is so important for sound sleep and health, yet with so many options the shopping can be confusing and stressful! Obviously you want to take comfort and pricing into consideration, but there are some chemical ingredients you might want to consider too. Standard synthetic foam mattresses can contain various harmful chemicals we don't want to be sleeping on. And these chemicals can evaporate into the air, or collect in house dust, which is yucky and no good for your family's health.

The great news is that there are a bunch of healthier alternatives, and these labels below can help you find them. We also have a roundup of 12 non-toxic mattress brands if you just want a quick guide to organic mattresses and natural mattresses you can buy.


One tip as you look at these labels: while avoiding synthetic foam altogether is best, if that isn't possible for you, there are three certifications (Certi-PUR, Oeko-Tex, and Greenguard) that can help you find the healthiest foams. For natural materials like latex or cotton, GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) or GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) have got you covered.

Wondering about VOCs (volatile organic compounds)? These are unhealthy chemicals that slowly leak out of foam and other materials and end up in the air you breathe. Many of the labels restrict VOC emissions, but just so you know, the strongest restriction for total VOCs is GREENGUARD Gold. If you are especially concerned about VOCs, look for mattresses with that label.

Good luck, and once the hunt is done, enjoy sleeping on a mattress that is not only comfy but also healthier for you and the planet.

a) Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

What is it? Certifies the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading, and distribution of mattresses and textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibers. There are two label grades: 1) "organic" (over 95% organic fibers) and 2) "made with X% organic materials" (70-95% organic content). See our article, what does organic mean?

Read details on standards or search the product database (select Retailing or Mail Order).

Environmental Health: Many toxic chemical restrictions, including any chemicals linked with cancer, reproductive problems, genetic defects, or organ damage, or are harmful to the environment. Mattresses cannot be made of polyurethane foam. Natural latex mattresses can receive GOTS certification.

b) Oeko-Tex Standard 100

What is it? Certifies that mattresses and textiles do not contain or release certain harmful chemicals. Every component of the mattress (all inner and outer materials) must meet the chemical restrictions to earn the certification. Search the product database (look for the three mattress categories under Product Type).

Environmental Health: Many toxic chemical restrictions, including limits on emissions of total and specific VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Read details on chemical standards here. Synthetic foams are allowed as long as they meet the chemical restrictions.

c) Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

What is it? Certifies latex mattresses containing at least 95% organic latex, with chemical restrictions for both the latex and non-latex parts. Read details on the standard.

Environmental Health: Emissions of total and specific VOCs are restricted. Use of certain toxic flame retardants and other chemicals are banned. Cotton fills and coverings must be certified by GOTS or Organic Content Standard-100 (see below). Synthetic latex and other synthetic foams are not permitted. Synthetic fabrics and fibers are permitted in interiors of products.

d) GREENGUARD and GREENGURAD Gold

What is it? Restricts emissions of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from mattresses and other products. There are two labels: 1) GREENGUARD and 2) GREENGUARD Gold (previously called Greenguard Children & Schools Certification)

Environmental Health: Emissions of total and specific VOCs are restricted. GREENGUARD Gold has stricter restrictions. Read details on the emissions limits (see p.3). Search the product database (select the certification type and the product type in sidebar). Read more details on the standard (registration required to access free PDF). Some certified products have an additional formaldehyde-free verification.

e) CertiPUR-US

What is it? Certifies that polyurethane foam in mattresses (and other products) meet standards for chemical ingredients, emissions of VOCs, and durability. View a list of companies selling products containing certified foam (including but not limited to mattresses).

Environmental Health: Requires that polyurethane foam be made without heavy metals and without certain types of phthalates and flame retardants. This does not mean the products are completely free of potentially harmful phthalates or flame retardants. Emissions of total and specific VOCs are restricted. Read about the chemical restrictions.

f) Organic Content Standard

What is it? Verifies that mattresses and other products contain the stated amount of organic material, ranging from 5-100%. There are two seals: Organic 100 (for 100% organic) and Organic Blended (for all other amounts).

Environmental Health: Assures presence and amount of stated organic content. Organic materials must be grown and processed per established standards like USDA Certified Organic. Chemicals added to raw materials during manufacturing (dyes, finishes, etc.) are not addressed. View a list of companies certified to the organic standard.

g) USDA Certified Organic

What is it? USDA seal verifies that agricultural products are grown and processed per organic standards. "Certified organic" means at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. "Made with organic" means 70-94% of ingredients are organic. Only "certified organic" products can bear the seal. Fiber materials in mattresses can include cotton, wool, hemp, and linen.

Environmental Health: Fiber materials must be grown and processed per USDA Organic standards for food, without use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. GOTS and GOLS (see above) both meet USDA Organic standards. Note that USDA Organic does not address toxic chemicals that may be found in the non-organic components. Read What Is An Organic Mattress? from the Organic Trade Association.

Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 10 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL
Family

Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
Roundups

12 Best Non-Toxic Diaper Creams

Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

Updated for 2019!

We get it- you're busy but you also want the best for your baby. But who has the time to sit down and do hours of research on the best diaper creams for your baby's bottom? That's why we're here! We have nothing butt (get it?) amazing products for our non-toxic diaper cream roundup. These 12 products are free from irritants like fragrances and use soothing ingredients to keep diaper rash at bay. Some options have non-nano zinc oxide to protect the skin, and some work more as an ointment to prevent redness. Looking for an organic diaper balm? We've got those too. As always, we thoroughly researched consumer reviews to ensure you're getting a stellar product that actually works and that parents love.

Keep Reading Show Less
Home

10 Places to Buy PVC-free Wall Decals

Why it's worth considering before your next redecorating project

Wall decals are the perfect decorating solution for nurseries, kids rooms, renters, dorm dwellers, or basically anyone who is a commitment-phobe. There are endless designs that can add just the pop you need, and they are easy to remove for when you want to change it up. But most wall decals are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), otherwise known as vinyl. These vinyl stickers have added phthalates which make the plastic stickers super thin and flexible, yet durable enough so they don't rip easily. Phthalates have endocrine disrupting properties that can wreak havoc on your hormones and have been linked to a variety of health issues like cancers, infertility, preterm birth, impaired brain development, and asthma and allergies. Basically, not good stuff. Plus, the manufacturing process of PVC is really bad for the environment and communities where it's manufactured (1) and there's no way to recycle it. Eek. Not good all around.

So next time you're shopping for a wall decal, check the 'details' section on the product page. A decal that says vinyl or doesn't specify anything is probably one you want to avoid. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites that make PVC-free options that still get high marks from designers. We pulled together our top 10 favorites sites down below.

  1. Chocovenyl
  2. Eco Wall Decals
  3. Koko Kids
  4. Love Mae
  5. Oopsy Daisy
  6. Petit Collage
  7. Pop and Lolli
  8. Sunny Decals
  9. Tiny Me
  10. Wall Dressed Up


References:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/vinyl-chloride.pdf
Family

5 Tips for Healthy Kid-Friendly Meals (cause the struggle is real!)

Dreading dinner time every night? We're here to help.

Let's face it, getting a child to eat, no less a picky eater, might actually be the most daunting task in the world. Whether you've been on the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only train for the past week or past month and just want your child to add something green or leafy to their palate, we've got you covered. We've put together some overall suggestions to incorporate into meal-prep that are not only more kid-friendly, but will also help you avoid processed foods that might be less healthy or have added toxic chemicals.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL