Frequently Asked Organic Mattress Questions

Which chemicals typically outgas from a conventional mattress?

That is a difficult question to answer, because every "chemical" mattress can be constructed differently and treated with any number of synthetic applications.

Our co-founder’s books, Sleep Safe in a Toxic World and Toxic Bedrooms: Your Guide to a Safe Night’s Sleep, list more than 60 different chemicals as being emitted from a memory-foam mattress and 37 chemicals emitting from a typical innerspring pillow-top mattress. The vast majority of these chemicals are derivatives of petroleum and natural gas.

Do Lifekind® certified organic mattresses meet federal flammability standards?

Lifekind - no chemical flame retardants

Yes, primarily because wool is a natural fire retardant. Wool has a high moisture content, and naturally contains a flame-reducing protein called keratin. In the summer of 2008 and again in 2014, we proved to the U.S. Product Safety Commission that a mattress could be made without fire-retardant chemicals and still pass all federal and state standards. A Lifekind certified organic mattress provides a healthful and safe sleep environment. Your Product Specialist can provide you with more information. Click here to see our flammability test.


How can I buy a mattress without first lying on it?

It’s easier than you may think. Years ago, a study found that the average time a person spends lying on a mattress in a store is less than two minutes. That’s a very short period of time to determine if a mattress is right for you. Your Lifekind certified organic mattress is custom made to meet your precise characteristics of height, weight, age, and sleeping position, as well as several other factors. After an in-depth interview with one of our highly trained Product Specialists, we make a recommendation. We stand behind that recommendation with the best 90-day, one-time Comfort Exchange and Pillow Top Loaner programs in the organic bedding industry.

Why should I use a foundation under my organic mattress?

Foundations do three things for a mattress. First, they ensure proper air circulation, thereby discouraging mold and mildew. Secondly, they provide fabric-to-fabric contact so your mattress does not rub against rough surfaces such as wood or metal. Finally, they allow you to adjust your mattress height from the floor.

Can a natural rubber latex mattress be placed on a box spring?

Yes. However, the mattress will not absorb as much movement as it would if placed on a wood-slat frame or foundation. A natural rubber latex mattress will feel softer on a box-spring than it will on wood slats.

Can I put my natural rubber mattress on a platform slat bed without a foundation?

Yes. The slats on the platform bed should ideally be between 2” and 3” apart. If your platform bed consists of a solid surface, the mattress will not ventilate properly and will be subject to mold or mildew. (Our Combo, Astar, and Sorell mattresses can also be used on a platform slat bed without a foundation.)

I am allergic to wool. Won’t I be allergic to your wool products?

Medical authorities agree that most wool “allergies” are not true allergies at all, but rather sensitivity to the feel of wool fibers on the skin. This can cause some people great discomfort, however. In the case of our mattresses and pillow tops, since no skin contact takes place, a sensitivity of this nature should not be cause for concern. While we do not warrant any of our products for individual allergic reactions or sensitivities, we will be pleased to send samples of our mattress materials without charge prior to your mattress or bedding purchase. This will include a sample of our naturally safer pure wool, along with our Allergy Test Sheet.

Why doesn’t Lifekind use machine-washable wool?

Almost all antifelting (getting wool not to felt or shrink) is accomplished today using what is known as the Chlorine-Hercosett process. This process removes the scales of the natural wool fibers and creates a modified smooth, synthetic-type fiber by using a strongly acidic chlorine solution followed by a polymer resin.

This method has two dimensions that concern us: Individual health risks and environmental degradation. Plus, the textile industry consumes a high level of water for its various processes.


Personal Health Risks

Sleep Safe in a Toxic World Book

Chlorine is recognized worldwide as a hazardous chemical, and has been linked for years to cancer, lung disease, and heart disease. People with pre-existing lung or heart disease may be particularly sensitive to the effects of chlorine.

Usually combined with other chemicals, chlorine is used to disinfect water, purify metals, bleach wood pulp, and modify wool fibers. Exposure to chlorine gas can come in the form of outgassing from wool products that have been treated with a chlorine process.

The body absorbs chlorine gas when small amounts pass through the skin and lungs. Chlorine levels in the range of 0.01-0.019 parts per million can be discerned by most noses, but it is our opinion that risks from inhalation are present when even low-level, long-term exposures are considered.

As stated by Lifekind president Walt Bader in his books Sleep Safe in a Toxic World and Toxic Bedrooms:Your Guide to a Safe Nights Sleep, our philosophy has always been to avoid as many products as possible that cause potential chemical exposure.


Ecological Risks

Wastewater from wool processing plants using the Chlorine-Hercosett process contain high levels of absorbable organic halogen compounds (AOX). AOXes can be volatile substances such as trichloromethane (chloroform), chlorophenols, chlorobenzenes, or complex organic molecules such as dioxins or furans. However, most AOXes are chlorine-containing molecules, and it is generally accepted that chlorinated chemicals within the AOX family are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms at low concentrations.

Machine-washable wool may sound great, but we have seen no consumer information that establishes that long-term exposure to these products is without risk.