The "S" brands?
Jan 13, 2012 12:17 PM
Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Points: 22
 I'm up to my ears in research and found this site.

I keep seeing reference that is almost a warning to the 'S' brands = I know this means the big name brands and I have studied them and all others to a faretheewell.

We had a Simmons BeautyRest for many years, it is on it's second life at our son's house and he still loves it.   From the BeautyRest we went to a memory foam based on medical advice, even though it stunk like mad for a few weeks we slept pain free and it was great for two and half years before something happened and it started being really hot and making me sick. We pulled a Serta from the guest room and are making do,  we had immediate relief from whatever the memory foam was doing to us, it was astounding, but the springs are beating me up nightly despite a topper and I can't stand the motion transfer.  

We had a Sealy Posturpedic for a daybed, not the best choice.   

I've considered latex, but have MCS and am really wary of the smell. I sleep on wool pillows and wool fleece topper, but know that a wool mattress is going to be too firm for me.   I get dizzy with all the information and don't see any way I can not try out a new mattress.   I'm fortunate to have many locations nearby to find organic mattresses and all those big brands - but it's exhausting and I'm shortening my shopping list. (The tips are fabulous here).  

Bottom line of this post is basically, "what is so terrible about the 'S' brands?"  Aside from mass production and corporate retailers....

I have found a local company who will make a latex bed and if we don't like it they will change the core - but if that's not good it's too bad.  They will make me an innerspring with a good layer or natural material, but not coil springs which means motion transfer.  I found another where I tried various combinations of latex or wool mattresses with toppers, this is why I think the wool may be too firm.  The majority of natural mattress companies do not have guarantees for satisfaction and at 2 to 3 thousand dollars that's a bit scairy.   My research shows that Stearns & Foster as well as Simmons make a line that sort of crosses over the natural and the coils  thinking and they have total satisfaction guarantee.

I'm a curvy gal at 5'2" 130lbs and have many health issues (arthritis and fibromyalgia for starters) - hubby is six foot 155 and not nearly as picky as I am, but this old Serta is messing up his back also.   Help!?!

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #22 Jan 20, 2012 1:19 PM
Joined: Aug 1, 2009
Points: 175
megalops wrote:

Thanks for those links. I've spent the past couple of evenings reading a bunch of stuff about the fire retardants in mattresses but hadn't read either of those pages. I did find a different site that countered some of Strobel's claims but lost track of it.

There is a whole lotta stuff out there on the 'Net, and I'm finding it difficult to find independent science -- that I can understand without a degree in chemistry -- and separate that out from various marketing claims and from the perhaps overly alarmist sites that equate the word "chemical" with "toxin."

I think I am more confused now than I was before. I'm now wondering, for instance:

  • Are mass-produced mattresses made before the FR regulation went into effect in 2007 considered safe -- should I buy a friend's 10-year-old barely used guest-bed mattress? -- or are they dangerous because of PBDEs and other FRs that have since been, or are being, phased out?
  • Are mass-produced mattresses made after 2007 more dangerous because of the newer FRs being used?
  • If I go with an all-latex mattress and there's a fire, will that latex turn into a giant fireball* if it's not covered with enough wool? (I don't smoke, use a laptop in bed, or use space heaters, but things can happen anyway.)

Meanwhile, I do all this research while sitting at my 20-year-old desk, made of particle board covered with some sort of laminate, wondering how much formeldahyde I've breathed in over the years....



* Short video of small piece of natural latex igniting:

This message was modified Jan 20, 2012 by Catherine
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #23 Jan 20, 2012 7:26 PM
Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Points: 8

 You suggest that we buy a simmons non pillow top mattress and then add latex toppers . It seems to me that if the underlying structure of the mattresses is collapsable because it is composed of polyeurethane , then won't the mattress soon sag even with the latex toppers ?

You can put lipstick on a pig....

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #24 Jan 31, 2012 8:07 PM
Joined: Aug 30, 2011
Points: 55
SallySmiles wrote:

Without taking up space with too much copying - I'm thrilled to have this much information and get this going


megalops, I agree with you and having been researching this for months I totally agree.  I still like the FloBeds, but when I go testing mattresses I can take my list and hopefully get some idea of price comparison for what is inside.  A few on my short list are similar.


This is why I am looking at latex mattresses - - NOT the S brands and this is why I was surprosed when i discovered that S&F had a latex that has cashmere in the cover etc/  I'm apparently more tired than I thought.   Yes I am aware that S&F is owned by Sealy - hard not too if searching on the web, but at least they give you a content list.   

I have nothing against them all - have been happy with Simmons for many years, but the times are changing and I would like to sleep.  I refuse polyfoam, period and have been appalled that manufacturers are allowed to say a latex bed even if ionly an inch. That's what's wrong with the S brands.

I am looking at several manufactureres who do not use boric acid and the wool is the flame barrier. Horray!  OMI, Englander, Natura, Southhard just to name a few.  Some do use boric acid, frankly I would prefer that to the unknown whatever it is and a fabric doused in formaldehyde. So I am going natural - one way or another.

If the weather works out we are going to test Englander, Natura, and OMI this weekend (yes OMI is short for 'Oh my - it's expensive') and I've tried Southard which uses wool.  I do know the difference between latex and plyfoam. The difference between organic cotton and just cotton, the difference between organic wool and just wool - - I won't have synthetic latex either.   I've got a discussion going with the retailer and covered exchange, returns, delivery - so far so good - they carry good products. 

My biggest concern at this point is whether I can stand the latex smell, there is a big difference in a small sample vs a bed.  

I agree natural is the best way to go. Not all will use boric acid, but they will use one of the other toxic chemicals and there is no way around it currently. Formaldehyde is also used in poly foams as well.

Englander is a great brand as well and get their latex from Sri Lanka. Again it will be either a blended latex or Latex of top of a poly core, but they have been around for a very long time and have a very good reputation. I would have to say Englander is the better of the ones mentioned above from my experiance. Southards is also a blended synthetic latex. I couldnt believe on their innspring mattress prices usign an intro level 460 coil offset innerspring unit on queen sets from $2200 too $4400. I would say they are at the bottom of the list with the ones mentioned above.

100% natural latex really doesnt have much of any smell. The smell will come from the blended latex or the synthetic.

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #25 Jan 31, 2012 10:31 PM
Joined: Dec 23, 2011
Points: 82
DaveStro wrote:

I agree natural is the best way to go. Not all will use boric acid, but they will use one of the other toxic chemicals and there is no way around it currently. Formaldehyde is also used in poly foams as well.

Davestro, if in the above statement you're referring to passing the CFR 1633 fire standards, please provide some proof to your statement. I find it very hard to believe that dozens of bedding manufacturers are blatantly lying to their customers in writing about something which can be easily proven by some simple lab tests.

If Strobel really believed the propaganda on its website, it would've already taken legal action against all these companies. There would be very nice civil lawsuits against them for trying to gain a competitive advantage by purposely misrepresenting their products. Business lawyers live for stuff like this, especially when it can be so easily proven, and especially when consumer health is involved.

I do like the fact that Strobel has tried to corner a portion of the market looking for a poison free mattress, but unfortunately they've gone too far by stating: "There are no natural, chemical free, or nontoxic systems that pass the severe open flame test." Their stunt of burning some wool yarn hardly proves the previous statement true. They're just trying to scare people into buying their mattresses.

This message was modified Feb 1, 2012 by megalops
Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #26 Feb 1, 2012 11:05 AM
Joined: Jun 16, 2011
Points: 171
wideawake wrote:



 You suggest that we buy a simmons non pillow top mattress and then add latex toppers . It seems to me that if the underlying structure of the mattresses is collapsable because it is composed of polyeurethane , then won't the mattress soon sag even with the latex toppers ?

You can put lipstick on a pig....

Not Jim, but the suggestion is not just to not buy a pillowtop. It's to buy a good quality FIRM mattress with a mimimum of foam padding in the top, then add whatever topper you like. To me, this is the most sensible and economical (if economics are a concern) solution. I did just that, and am very happy with the results. Yes, my firm innerspring mattress will eventually sag but I will get much more wear out of it than I would a pillowtop that is nearly guaranteed to sag badly within months, leaving you with an expensive, useless bed that you need to either replace or perform surgery on.


Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #27 Feb 9, 2012 2:31 PM
Joined: Jan 13, 2012
Points: 22
DaveStro - - we didn't go with Englander because frankly the retailer really ticked me off.  

In the end I didn't care what brands they carried, how good the reputation was, or pricepoint - and hubby really didn't want a Dunlop core because is tends to smell rubbery.  The retailer carried OMI and Natura - again good brands, but as a consumer I tend to be choosy about the people involved.  For a two hour trip I wanted some answers ahead, they dodged me on all counts other than the standard sales pitch.


So we went with Soaring Heart, local company who made us a lovely mattress, foundation and topper  - - we are sleeping now and getting rest,

Re: The "S" brands?
Reply #28 Feb 9, 2012 7:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2, 2011
Points: 481
I selected a Stearns and Foster 'Heathstone' plush mattress from Sears last June and gave it a couple weeks before knowing I didn't want to spend the next 8+ years on it.  I have a damaged right shoulder.  Tore the joint up years ago doing a bench press not warmed up and frankly wish I had never messed around with any barbell weights.  I'm not on sports teams.  8 years later, finally found a specialist in San Francisco, a pioneer in shoulder surgery who did an acromioplasty to make room for the impinged rotator cuff.  It helped but will always hurt a bit every day.


So, I don't get to sleep on my right shoulder in any bed out there.  The Stearns and Foster didn't allow it.  It felt pretty plush in the store, but the reality was the construction was cheap batting in the quilt and underneath, likely cheap foams with fancy trademarked names.  The plush feel firmed up noticeably in a few days to a week, then it took on a run-of-the-mill feel.  Good support from springs, mediocre comfort.

I'll skip talking abouty the Serta iComfort because I went a little too soft from the get go and had to ditch that one.

But, after 5 months, this Tempurpedic Cloud is a keeper.  I'd be surprised if the feel changed within the next 10 years.  I had a Tempurpedic Symphony pillow for at least 3 years, and it felt exactly the same as day one.  I've since switched to a TP Comfort pillow.

Yes, I would be concerned about any subtle effects of off-gassing, and yes, the Tempurpedic had a slight odor that lasted not for weeks, but months.  Noticeable when walking into room with closed door.  I don't notice the odor much now and of course hope there's never an affect, but I suppose there's always some affect from anything that smells.

Another time I might try the all natural, no returns route, but still, I'm happy with this Cloud base model because the support is really good and the comfort it exceptional!

This message was modified Feb 9, 2012 by slpngoc

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