Many people who have purchased a new mattresses complain about the smell that emanates from a newly opened mattress. If your mattress is not natural latex, that noxious smell is the result of off-gassing, which is the emission of harmful chemicals.
While organic latex may have a fragrance, it’s just the scent of natural rubber. It’s not the result of chemicals entering the atmosphere. Natural latex is safer than many other types of traditional and foam mattresses.
Do Latex Mattresses Off-Gas?
Off-gassing occurs when the materials that are inside of the mattress break down, and their gasses release into the air. The toxic fumes can cause respiratory and health issues, such as allergies, breathing problems, or nausea.
Organic mattresses, such as some natural latex ones, contain natural materials. They don’t have toxic chemicals. Therefore, they don’t off-gas.
Some latex mattresses are blended with synthetic materials. Those may release the chemicals when you take the plastic off. If you want a safe mattress, make sure that you buy an all-natural, organic latex mattress.
How Are Latex Mattresses made?
Latex mattresses are made by tapping sap from a rubber tree. The sap goes through a few processes, depending on the type of latex that the manufacturers are making.
Eventually, it is poured into a mold and heated so that it retains its shape. Once the latex sets, it forms a bouncy foam that contains air bubbles.
There are two different production methods for making latex for organic latex mattresses. Both use rubber as a raw material but different processes to mold and set the product. The resulting mattress may contain all-latex foam, but some manufacturers add other materials, like innersprings, after they create the latex. The exterior is usually covered in a soft material, such as organic cotton, to protect the mattress and add comfort.
To make Dunlop latex, the manufacturer aerates the natural tree sap until it is frothy. Then, they pour it into a mold and bake it. As it heats up, the latex becomes firmer, trapping air bubbles to stay bouncy. But gravity forces some of the more substantial sediment to the bottom while the latex is in the mold. That makes this type of latex firmer and denser on the underside.
During the Talalay manufacturing process, the liquid is flash-frozen after it enters the vacuum-sealed mold. Gravity doesn’t push the particles toward the underside as it sets. Therefore, it creates a softer, springier natural mattress that relieves pressure points.
Synthetic latex is made from petroleum-based products. The most common type of synthetic latex contains a styrene-butadiene rubber. This chemical is toxic, and other chemicals are added to the blend to stabilize the foam. Still, it can off-gas over time. Off-gassing increases in the presence of body heat.
On its own, synthetic latex is completely man-made. Some latex blends contain mixtures of synthetic and natural latex, though. It’s crucial to find out exactly what’s in a new mattress.
All Natural Latex Mattresses Are Free From Toxic Chemicals
All-natural latex mattresses don’t contain harmful chemicals. Unlike polyurethane foam, which comprises many innerspring memory foam mattresses, latex is non-toxic.
Natural latex mattresses are naturally fire-resistant and don’t need chemical flame retardants. If they’re truly all-natural, latex mattresses don’t contain glues or other adhesives that can emit volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the environment.
How Can I Be Sure My Latex Mattress Is Safe?
Many “all-natural” mattress types can still contain potentially harmful chemicals because of clever marketing strategies. You can be sure that you have the safest, best mattress by purchasing a new mattress from a reputable company.
One of those reputable companies is Birch Living Birch creates a non-toxic mattress with a goal of safety, comfort, and sustainability. You’ll know exactly what’s in your mattress by taking a look at the materials page.
The natural latex will never touch your skin because it’s encased in comfortable organic cotton. Birch also offers mattress toppers that elevate your sleeping experience safely and naturally.
If you’re looking for more information on how mattresses are made, check our mattress materials post.