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The Purest Mattresses on Earth | 1 Comment

OMI's organic natural latex mattress.

Since buying a new eco-friendly mattress is the #1 priority on my Wish List, I’ve got mattresses on the brain. The most remarkable products I’ve found so far in the course of doing my research are those in the Organicpedic line by a company called Organic Mattresses Inc., otherwise known as OMI. In fact, as far as production purity standards go, OMI’s are as high as they get, according the company’s president, Walt Bader, who is also the author of a book called Toxic Bedrooms (Freedom Press).

Walt has good reasons for making the purest, most hygienic mattresses you can buy. He has a condition known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which makes him more susceptible to getting sick from the low levels of hazardous or toxic substances that exist in many of the furnishings and building materials in our homes. I called him last week to learn more about his company’s products and the philosophy and science behind their production, and he told me his own health issues fueled his passion to produce the safest, cleanest mattresses on earth. “In a world where you can only minimize, but not eliminate toxins, your only options are to avoid or substitute,” he said. “I substitute by choosing products with the lowest chemical composition that I can find.”

Because the regulations and standards for the manufacture of mattresses are so undeveloped from a health perspective, the components of mattresses can actually be incredibly harmful to your health. “Mattresses are in the same position today that cigarettes were in during the 1930s,” Walt told me. “Nobody thought they were dangerous and there was no warning on the box from the government stating that breathing in their toxic chemicals can be hazardous to your health. It took 50 years to prove the connection between cigarettes and cancer. But many mattresses today contain synthetic foams made with dozens of toxic chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Fifty percent of all men and a third of all women get some form of cancer nowadays.” Since we all spend about a third of our lives in bed or by Walt’s reckoning maybe even up to 50 percent when you factor in time spent reading, napping, watching TV or making love, the carcinogenic dangers posed by a mattress are far from inconsiderable.

Although existing standards for mattresses are poorly defined, all of the materials in OMI’s mattresses, including the natural Talalay latex foam, the wool padding (which is a natural fire-retardant) and the organic cotton covering, have what’s known as a verifiable chain of custody that documents the organic authenticity of their cultivation, harvesting and production. The mattresses have also been third-party certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which is the most widely recognized third-party certifier in the industry. In addition, they’ve been Greenguard tested and certified and they’re the only LEED-eligible mattresses in the world (LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green standards program).

Aside from their lack of toxicity, one of the things I like most about natural latex foam mattresses is the fact that dust mites can’t live in them, which is especially good for my allergy-prone husband. Of all of the mattresses in OMI’s line, I like the Midori mattress because it has a slim profile, it’s made with solid foam, and it’s totally organic—everything I’m looking for in a mattress. I’m convinced that this is the mattress I want to invest in—and I hope to convince my husband to feel them same. To find out more about OMI mattresses, check out the company’s Web site.

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