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A non-toxic mattress contains few or no chemicals that could potentially affect health. Many mattress manufacturers use chemicals in the production process to make the materials flame retardant. However, non-toxic mattress manufacturers avoid the use of aggressive chemicals.

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People who wish to avoid potential exposure to harmful chemicals should look for mattresses that are certified non-toxic.

According to Consumer Reports, there are two labels to look for when shopping for mattresses: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS).

GOTS certifies organic textiles to 95% and bans the use of chemical flame retardants and polyurethane, which some manufacturers use in foam mattresses. GOLS certifies that 95% of the materials use organic latex.

The agency also recommends looking for these certificates:

  • CertiPUR-US: This bans the use of certain chemicals and flame retardants in polyurethane mattresses.
  • Organic Content Standard 100: This looks at the percentage of material that is organic but ignores added chemicals, such as flame retardants.
  • Greenguard: This certifies that emissions from the mattress are below a certain level.

Non-toxic mattresses contain either no or reduced amounts of potentially harmful chemicals. Manufacturers use some of these chemicals in foam mattresses to prevent them from catching fire.

Mattress foam forms as a result of a chemical reaction between three compounds: polyols, carbon-based blowing agents, and toluene diisocyanate (TDI).

Incidences of occupational asthma may be due to TDI exposure. However, according to a 2011 study, people living near a TDI plant did not have significant TDI exposure.

According to the American Chemistry Council, manufacturers treat all products that create chemicals to make them safe before selling them to consumers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also states that manufacturers make these products safe and non-toxic before they reach the consumer.

Another area of concern with foam mattresses is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are compounds that can quickly become gases. Many products within the home, such as hobby supplies and some furnishings, contain VOCs.

Some potential side effects of VOC exposure include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • memory problems
  • irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract
  • visual disorders

Some side effects of long-term exposure include:

  • nausea
  • loss of coordination
  • fatigue
  • kidney, liver, and central nervous system damage
  • an increased cancer risk

In a recent study, researchers found what they described as “concerning” exposure levels to VOCs from mattresses during simulated sleep for infants and small children. Despite these elevated levels, the researchers did not see any evidence of adverse effects from the exposure.

The most significant advantage of choosing a certified non-toxic mattress is having limited exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

Best overall non-toxic mattress
Avocado Green Mattress

The Avocado Green Mattress does not contain any polyester, polyurethane foams, or fire retardants.

It contains organic latex, organic fibers, and individual coils.

Several organizations have certified the mattress, including GOLS, for its latex, and GOTS, for its cotton and wool.

The mattress comes in several sizes, from twin to California king.

Learn more about Avocado mattresses here.

Best low cost non-toxic mattress
T&N Original Mattress

This mattress from Tuft & Needle has several certificates for being non-toxic, including CertiPUR-US, for its foam, and Greenguard, for its low emission levels.

For an additional fee, people can add HeiQ antimicrobial protection features to the mattress. These may limit bacteria growth and prevent odor.

The medium firm mattress has graphite and cooling gel layers that may prevent overheating during sleep.

Learn more about Tuft & Needle here.

Best hypoallergenic non-toxic mattress
Birch Natural Mattress by Helix

Helix claims that this mattress has hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties due to the natural latex it contains.

It has certifications such as OEKO-TEX, eco-INSTITUT, Greenguard, and GOTS. It contains no VOCs or foam, and it is naturally flame retardant.

This mattress may provide cooling and pressure relief benefits.

Learn more about latex mattresses here.

Best luxury non-toxic mattress
Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress

This mattress contains natural foam and New Zealand wool. The use of wool makes it unsuitable for vegans and those who avoid animal products.

It has several certifications, and it does not use polyurethane foams or chemically based fire retardants. It also uses water-based adhesives.

This mattress is free from a range of chemicals and potentially harmful substances, including lead, mercury, and ozone depleters.

Learn more about the Awara mattress here.

Best non-toxic memory foam mattress
Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

This mattress uses CertiPUR-US foam that meets the standards for emissions and foam quality with independent reviewers.

Nectar claims that this mattress is breathable and has cooling properties. It may suit people who experience back pain.

Size options range from twin to California king.

Nectar offers a 365-day home trial, allowing the person to return the mattress anytime within a year of purchase.

Learn more about Nectar mattresses here.

Best non-toxic latex mattress
Plushbeds Organic Latex Mattress: The Botanical Bliss

The Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds is a latex mattress with several certifications, including GOLS and GOTS, for its cotton and wool.

The mattress is free from several different chemicals, including lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.

It is also dust mite resistant and antimicrobial. It may provide pressure relieving benefits.

Learn more about Plushbed mattresses here.

Best non-toxic innerspring mattress
Natural Escape Mattress

The Natural Escape Mattress has both the GOLS and GOTS certifications. This means that both its fibers and natural latex meet the independent organizations’ standards for materials.

The manufacturer claims that this medium firm mattress can support proper spinal alignment and reduce motion transfer.

At an extra cost, the company offers the removal and recycling of old mattresses.

Best non-toxic hybrid mattress
The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

This mattress has the CertiPUR-US certification for its foam and has limited VOC emissions.

It consists of several layers, including a soft quilted top, gel memory foam, and supportive springs.

This hybrid mattress is medium firm and may minimize motion transfer, making it suitable for couples.

Learn more about DreamCloud mattresses here.

Best non-toxic supportive mattress
Zoma Mattress

Zoma markets this mattress to athletes and people with active lifestyles. The brand claims that the mattress is breathable and can help relieve pressure points.

The Zoma Mattress offers CertiPUR-US foam with low VOC emissions. The company claims to make the mattress in an environmentally friendly way.

This mattress is available in all-foam or hybrid models.

Learn more about Zoma mattresses here.

The following are some commonly asked questions about non-toxic mattresses.

What is the difference between non-toxic and organic mattresses?

People and companies sometimes use the terms non-toxic and organic interchangeably, but they are slightly different.

An organic mattress uses materials grown organically, but manufacturers may use chemicals to treat the final product. A non-toxic mattress is not treated with chemicals during manufacturing, but it may not contain organic materials.

Many organic mattresses are also non-toxic, and vice versa.

Learn about the best organic mattresses here.

Are non-toxic mattresses eco-friendly?

Many non-toxic mattresses also contain sustainable materials and are manufactured responsibly. However, not all companies that advertise non-toxic mattresses use eco-friendly processes or materials.

People should be sure to research a range of brands and their practices when looking for eco-friendly products. For example, some mattress manufacturers provide sustainability reports or social responsibility statements that demonstrate how eco-friendly they are.

Learn about the best eco-friendly mattresses here.

For people who are concerned about the environmental impact of a new mattress, it may help to remember that the lifespan of a mattress is usually around 7 years.

It is possible to recycle old mattresses at certain locations or with certain providers. Some brands collect and recycle old mattresses for an additional fee when people purchase a new mattress with them.

Learn how to recycle a mattress here.

What other non-toxic bedding products are available?

A wide range of non-toxic and organic bedding products is available, including pillows, bedsheets, and duvets.

People who are thinking about buying a mattress that contains non-toxic materials should check for independent certifications.

Non-toxic mattresses are generally free from chemical fire retardants and other harmful chemicals. They typically contain organic latex, cotton, and wool.