Naturepedic's Non-Toxic + Organic Approach

Twenty years ago, we started Naturepedic as concerned parents and grandparents determined to provide a safer, healthier sleep environment for our children and grandchildren. Our founder, Barry A. Cik, a seasoned environmental engineer, was dismayed by the lack of safe and organic options when shopping for his first grandchild's crib mattress. Thus, Barry and his sons established Naturepedic with a clear mission – to eliminate harmful chemicals from mattresses, bedding, and related products.

Defining "Non-toxic" and "Organic"

The term "Non-toxic" is commonly used in the marketplace. However, it’s important to understand the nuance behind this term. Every substance on Earth can theoretically be toxic, especially in excess. Even apples and bananas contain small amounts of naturally occuring arsenic and formaldehyde. Trace amounts of undesirable substances may always be present and may not be entirely avoidable.

With that in mind, the definition of "non-toxic" should be directly connected to both the inherent toxicity of a substance and the quantity present. Therefore, it’s important to rely on standards and the context of the application when referring to the term "non-toxic." When we say "non-toxic," we mean in accordance with our various certification standards and our own internal research.

The term "chemical-free," however, is largely aspirational, but is technically inaccurate as every substance on earth is a chemical. For this reason, we avoid the use of this term and similar terms (i.e. "100% non-toxic", "biodegradeable/compostable", "non-allergenic" and other medical-type claims), but prefer to use more accurate terminology instead.

What we do say and claim includes, for example, "Our mattresses are organic and non-toxic per the standards of GOTS, etc." Unless otherwise indicated, our organic and non-toxic claims do not go beyond meeting the requirements of and being certified by these organizations. Our certifications come from independent third-party organizations that have no material connections to our business.

Our customers appreciate our transparency, the accuracy of our terminology, our commitment to research and our thoughtful selection of materials that minimize negative chemical effects on the environment and human health, while understanding that trace amounts of undesirable substances cannot be entirely avoided. We are pleased to share our thought process and decision-making criteria.

Naturepedic’s “Non-Toxic” Standard

We consider many factors when selecting materials, with the following primary goals:

1) Use Natural Materials Where Possible – Natural materials such as organic cotton and wool have coexisted with animal biology for millions of years. By prioritizing natural and organic materials, we minimize the risk from synthetic chemicals. However, some synthetic materials are necessary and appropriate as approved by GOTS.

2) Minimize “Off-Gassing” – We strive to avoid materials that emit or release questionable chemicals that could affect human health or contribute to environmental pollution. This is particularly important given the history of the mattress industry, where the extensive use of flame-retardant chemicals, industrial adhesives, phthalate plasticizers, polyurethane foams, PFAS, VOCs and other hazardous chemicals is well documented.

3) Align with Third-Party Certifications and Testing – Third-party certifiers have rigorous standards that enhance our own criteria by providing independent analysis, real testing data, supply-chain evaluation and supplier reputation. This helps to confirm the appropriateness of our material selection process.

Naturepedic's Certifications

Our commitment to non-toxic products is evident in the certifications we've earned, including:

• Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
• Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
• Organic Content Standard (OCS)
• Environmental Working Group (EWG) 
• Health Product Declaration (HPD) 
• Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
• UL Formaldehyde Free
• Vegan Certified
• Green America

We especially value the GOTS certification for the following reasons:

• GOTS is interested in the entire supply chain of all raw materials used to make a certified product, including the various additional materials and accessory materials that are allowed in GOTS certified products. This comprehensive approach helps ensure that the origins and handling of all raw materials, especially certified organic components, are transparent and traceable.

• GOTS takes an active role in verification, with inspectors visiting manufacturing plants and suppliers to confirm material origins and compliance. This direct involvement provides a much higher assurance level as compared with standards that rely solely on self-reported data.

• GOTS aligns with Naturepedic's values by prioritizing both environmental and human health factors. The GOTS certification program is recognized and recommended by the USDA National Organic Program, which attests to the certification's credibility and respected status.

• GOTS allows for limited amounts of synthetic materials under stringent guidelines. The GOTS standard meticulously outlines the acceptable and unacceptable materials, all grounded on the principles of toxicity, safety and sustainability.

Unlike other organic mattress brands which use GOTS prohibited materials (i.e. polyurethane foam) in their factories for other product lines, Naturepedic only uses materials allowed by GOTS for any and all products manufactured in our facility.

We also value EWG's strict criteria for health and transparency, which calls out ingredients flagged as potential health risks while promoting disclosure and responsible manufacturing practices.

We additionally value MADE SAFE's list of 6,500 materials/chemicals that it monitors for concern. This list helps identify many of the materials and chemicals that may be used at various stages of manufacturing. MADE SAFE then reviews those inputs and determines which materials are acceptable per its standard. We also particularly appreciate Oeko-Tex and GREENGUARD for their rigorous testing which increases our confidence in material selections. At Naturepedic, we are proud to be passing these tests with flying colors! We greatly value the input and contributions from our other certifications as well.

We happen to also be the only mattress manufacturer that has joined and implemented the Organic Trade Association Fraud Prevention Solutions Program, and we're a member of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. 

The following are examples of how we implement our approach to organic and non-toxic:

Defining "Safe" and "Healthy"

In our opinion, following the requirements of our various certification programs as reasonably as possible results in safer and healthier products. These terms should not be taken as absolutes, but rather as our undertanding of what our collective certifications mean in practice.

When we use these terms, we mean in accordance with our various independent certifications and our own internal research. These terms should not be taken as absolutes, but rather as an opinion guided by our certification standards.

Example 1: Understanding Organic Mattresses and Foam

The story of organic mattresses should begin with an understanding of conventional mattresses. The primary material used in conventional mattresses is polyurethane foam (PU foam), which includes memory foam. PU foam is made from petroleum and numerous chemicals, and even the so-called "soy foam" or "plant-based" foams are mostly made of PU foam with relatively small quantities of plant materials. While the GOTS standard does not categorically prohibit petroleum-based products (if needed and appropriately approved), it does specifically prohibit polyurethane foam anywhere in mattresses or bedding products. Naturepedic, of course, completely avoids polyurethane foam. PU foam is created using toxic input ingredients such as TDI (toluene diisocyanate) and is also highly flammable, leading manufacturers to add flame retardant chemicals and chemical flame barriers to meet government flammability standards.

This created an opportunity for the organic mattress industry – to find a material that could match or exceed the comfort of PU foam while eliminating its drawbacks. The answer was natural/organic latex. Produced from the sap of rubber trees and baked into a foam, natural/organic latex is not only more resilient but also generally more breathable. A typical queen size latex mattress takes approximately 8 sap collectors (creating valuable local jobs) and 12 acres of rubber trees that, over the course of a year, will remove 143 tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. This breakthrough allowed organic mattresses to compete directly with conventional mattresses using a renewable, naturally derived material. As a result, natural/organic latex quickly became the go-to material for organic mattress cushioning.

When natural/organic latex foam first became popular, there was very little oversight, leading some manufacturers to mix synthetic with natural latex yet still label it as "natural." To establish transparency and integrity, third-party standards, such as the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), were developed. These standards, approved by GOTS for certified organic mattresses, mean that approximately 95% of the latex originates from rubber trees. 

The remaining 5% accounts for essential processing additives, which are also frequently found in everyday items such as balloons and rubber bands. In fact, these additives are crucial in maintaining the product's durability and function and are far more preferable to petrochemical-based PU foam. The formulas for these additives are continually improving thanks to ongoing research. Naturepedic prides itself on sourcing latex from reputable suppliers who focus on non-toxic and eco-friendly formulations. 

We further validate our latex's safety by adhering to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1 or similar. This indicates that our latex has undergone laboratory tests for harmful substances and the finished foam is considered harmless to human health per the standard. Based on the test results for the finished foam, the 5% additives, while necessary for production, do not compromise the safety or non-toxic nature of the finished product. In summary, our latex is made from roughly 95% natural/organic rubber sap, meets Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1, is GOLS/FSC certified, and is approved by GOTS for use in certified organic mattresses. This is the most comprehensive standard available in the marketplace.

For those who prefer to avoid latex, even if GOTS approved, we provide a variety of latex-free mattress options. These include the Chorus Organic Mattress (Latex-Free) and the fully customizable EOS Organic Mattress (Latex-Free)

Example 2: The Challenge of PFAS

Two decades ago, when we started crafting our first organic crib mattress, virtually every other crib mattress in the market was waterproofed with either vinyl or PFAS treatments. Polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, give fabrics water, stain, and heat resistance. However, they also come with a host of health risks, including potential cancer development, immune system effects and hormone disruption. We believed there had to be a safer alternative.

Following rigorous research, we pioneered the creation of the first certified organic crib mattress with a waterproof surface crafted from food-grade polyethylene. During this period, the GOTS standard hadn't yet been established, leaving us to rely predominantly on our background in environmental engineering and understanding of safety. We selected polyethylene as it is commonly used in food-contact applications, such as sandwich bags – a choice that put Naturepedic leaps and bounds ahead of industry practices.

Over time, our contiunous drive for self-improvement led us to a groundbreaking method of manufacturing polyethylene from non-GMO sugarcane! This innovation is what we continue to use in our crib mattresses today. The unique Naturepedic waterproofing satisfies our main criteria of being GOTS approved, naturally derived, and from a renewable source.

PFAS chemicas are ubiquitous and unintended trace amounts are always possible. There are tens of thousands of PFAS chemicals in industry and it’s impossible to even test for most of them. As such, even if we don’t intentionally use any PFAS, we are legally not able to make definitive claims. Naturepedic is firmly against the use of PFAS and it is our sincere hope that this family of chemicals be eliminated from all consumer products.

Example 3: Naturepedic Baby/Kids Products and Latex

Allergenic issues are generally considered a separate issue of concern from toxicity issues. Naturepedic addresses allergenic issues as well. Given that approximately 6% of the population is allergic to latex, we offer options both with and without latex for adults so people with allergenic concerns can still get a quality mattress. However, we opt for caution when it comes to children's products. As such, we don't use latex in our baby, crib or kids mattresses, or any other children's products. In fact, Naturepedic may be the only brand that avoids the use of latex in its organic crib mattresses.

In Summary

Organic and safe sleep does not mean chemical-free. There will always be some trace amounts of undesirable substances that are difficult to completely eliminate. However, it does mean that meaningful steps are taken to reduce unnecessary and potentially harmful chemical inputs to within reasonable thresholds, while working within the framework of global state-of-the art consensus standards defining organic and safer materials.

At Naturepedic, we rely on third-party organizations that audit, screen, and test our products/materials, including the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), the Oeko-tex standard, GREENGUARD, MADE SAFE and others. These organizations certify that our products and materials meet the current state-of-the-art standards. They are promulgated by chemists, scientists and stakeholders around the world that help define appropriate inputs together with their limits, with enforcement by third-party certifiers.

By adhering to GOTS, other rigorous standards and our own good sense, we aim to minimize potential issues with toxicity and questionable chemicals. There are well over 85,000 chemicals approved by the EPA for use in the United States, most of which have never been tested for health and safety. We believe that our products, with organic and other certifications, far exceed their conventional counterparts in terms of non-toxicity, as well as biocompatibility and sustainability. At Naturepedic, we work tirelessly with our suppliers and certifiers to uphold all standards and promote superior products.

Experience healthier sleep with Naturepedic. Explore our range of products and learn more about our commitment to creating a more natural, non-toxic sleep environment. We encourage the public to learn more about our standards and certifications. Eliminating the potential dangers associated with questionable materials in mattresses should be everyone's goal. This ideal is at the heart of Naturepedic's mission as we strive to be the world's most trusted brand for healthier and more environmentally friendly sleep products.