Is having an Organic Bed Mattress important?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 3, 2008
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What’s wrong with conventional mattresses? I know that fire retardants, used in mattresses, are supposed to be pretty bad for you. Considering we spend say eight hours a day nestled on top of ’em, are organic or naturally-sourced latex mattresses worth the big bucks? If you have allergy issues, probably so. If you have insomnia issues, maybe it’d help some not to be breathing in off-gassing mildly toxic crap. For babies and children (in more sensitive developmental stages), probably so.

I found an interesting, if spendy selection at Colorado Futons, my local mattress purveyor. When I know more, I’ll say more—in the meantime, if anyone out there has experience or knowledge in this matter, please comment.

PS: the benefits don’t stop with you. When you toss your mattress, it’d be nice if you can recycle it or, if it ends up in a landfill, if it’s not full of evil stuff.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “Is having an Organic Bed Mattress important?”

  1. Rio says:

    Hi Waylon,

    I work for The Futon Shop, and we tend to think that having Organic bedding is very important, both for your health and the greater health of the planet.

    You might want to check out our website:, as we’ve compiled a lot of information and links about organic cotton, natural latex and wool mattresses.

    Thanks for an insightful post on the subject,


  2. Russ says:

    With latex allergies on the rise, natural latex is problematic as well.

  3. liane says:

    Before the SIDS-preventing "back to sleep" campaign began, SIDS research was just beginning to focus on the role of bedding materials (such as quilts, mattresses that off-gassed enough chemicals to reduce the overall oxygen available, squishy materials in which the baby could sink, etc.) Anything that reduced air quality or quantity was suspect.

    We used the information available to settle on trying to find an organic, non-squishy futon for our baby's crib mattress and decided to use thin cotton flannel blankets combined with blanket-sleepers to keep our kids warm as they slept. We found a local futon company that made organic cotton futons for sofas, and asked them to make a crib mattress. We were the first customer to ask for such a thing, and it took them a couple of weeks to research whether they could legally make crib mattresses. In the end, they could, as long as they used a flame retardant. We chose non-toxic boric acid. It lasted well through both of our children before being donated to a family in need. For our adult sleeping, we were given a latex mattress, which is very comfortable and helps with arthritic joints. We had used an organic futon for ourselves for many years, but age has made that a non-option.

    Now that organic futons and mattresses have become a "specialty" product, the prices have gone through the roof. If we were just beginning now, we'd be unable and unwilling to pay that much money for an item as simple to produce as a futon.

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