I went testing out new beds yesterday. I found that I prefer a bed on the firm side but with a cushy top layer. I'm a side/back sleeper. I have never really tried a latex or memory foam bed but based on web research, I initially had my mind set on an all latex bed. I ended up really liking the feel of the memory foam beds I tried though I understand the negative side. To be honest, the most comfortable bed I found was from Natura World, the Naturapedic Mirror ($1600). They claimed it to eliminate off gassing and overheating. Unfortunately this retailer has a no return policy so I will have to find the bed elsewhere if I really want it (there is a 20 year warranty).
The bed consists of 4" plant based soy biofoam base, 2" talay latex and 2" plant based soy memory biofoam on top and covered with wool. In the store they marketed this as a green, natural bed (though not organic) and the website says its made from 60% green, natural or organic components. Does anyone have experience with these "biofoams" or Natura World beds?
Is it possible to achieve the same feel with an all natural latex bed? I dont need to go overboard and purchase a 100% organic bed, but 100% natural would be nice.
My last question is related to the negative perceptions of memory foam - is it more of a health issue (ie, sleeping on any bed with chemical components will cause health problems), a durability issue or an environmental issue?
Thanks for any help and perspectives, this is a more complicated process than I envisioned!!
|this mattress in reality is around 30~40% natural components in reality (they claim 60% sustainable I believe?). the foam is 30% plant based, then you have your thin wool layer on top as well which brings that percentage up. I don't think its right for them to claim this eliminates off gasing. And I say this as a Natura dealer. Although to be fair...this type of feel cannot be replicated by any latex mattress. This is afterall a memory foam mattress with that classic memory foam feel on the surface.
Just a couple of thoughts about memory foams and biofoams.
As Budgy mentioned, biofoams replace some of the oil based polyols used to make polyfoam (regular and memory) with (usually) soy or castor bean derived polyols and this rarely goes above 30%. Typically it is less than 20%. Two examples of "alternative polyols" for foams are Cargil and Bayer.
There are tons of different names used by different foam manufacturers or mattress manufacturers (who rebrand the names) for foams that use "green" polyols.
There is a certification called CertiPur which tests foams for offgassing and durability and many of the major foam manufacturers now belong to this (Carpenter just joined this month). Information and a list of foam manufacturers that belong are here http://www.certipur.us/products.html I personally would prefer a polyfoam (including a memory foam) that came from a supplier that was part of the CertiPur program.
Oeko-tex is another testing program that tests for harmful substances (Oeko-Tex 100 class 1 tests for substances that could be harmful to babies up to 36 months) but the tests are different and apply to more than just foams. http://www.oeko-tex.com
I think there are several issues with memory foam and some are more important to some than to others. One is the offgassing issue (addressed to some degree by CertiPur) and how this affects different people to different degrees. The second is the degradation issue. The dust that is created when a polyfoam breaks down (long after the offgassing is no longer noticeable) is also a health issue to some. Of course durability of even the better memory foams is quite a bit less than latex. Heat issues and comfort issues are other areas that are are unique to each individual.
The issue of how somebody feels about memory foam is very personal and leads to some pretty extreme opinions. I personally like the feel of memory foam under something else like latex for example but tend not to like sleeping directly on it. I also personally tend to avoid memory foam because even though I am not normally a "sensitive" person ... for some reason sleeping on memory foam affects my breathing even after I can no longer smell it and I tend to sleep hot on it (this would be reduced or even eliminated by something over it of course). With other polyfoams I have no problem. I have no specific explanation for this.
So the issues involved with all poly foams ... as with so many other things ... are partly issues of personal sensitivity, partly personal preference, partly health, partly environmental, and partly perception.
Further to the last post ... North Carolina Foam industries have a polyfoam that uses 50% soy polyols http://www.ncfi.com/biobox.cfm which is the highest I know of. Basf has a castor oil polyol that is 31% http://www.plasticsportal.net/wa/plasticsEU~en_GB/portal/show/common/plasticsportal_news/2007/07_281 which is probably in several memory foams made by other companies as well.
When I went to look at the Oeko-Tex site, the only North American Oeko-Tex certified manufacturer of anything in the category "mattresses and fillings" on their website was Latex International. There were no certified polyfoams in North America. There were European and Asian Foam manufacturers that were certified but their database is really confusing because they mix categories up a lot when you do searches so its difficult to tell how many of these are certified for use in a mattress and exactly what foam is certified.
A quick search only a page deep showed that Bedinabox and Garme both say or imply that their memory foams are Oeko-Tex certified. In the case of bedinabox they use Purecel which is their trademark re-branding for BASF foam and I really doubt that it is certified because there was absolutely nothing on the Oeko-Tex website for BASF, North Carolina Foam Industries or any of their foams I searched. Garme was not listed either so they probably get their foam from someone who is in Europe or Asia. Seems strange ... or maybe not ... that there is so much outright lieing going on.
Added later: Bedinabox make it clear on their website that their foam certified by Certipur and this is confirmed on the Certipur website.
|I was also told recently from Natura that they are no longer using Soy content in any of their poly foams, they now list it as plant based foam. Apparently they are using castor bean oil now as rain forests are being clear cut in some parts of the world to plant soy. When it was soy content they could guarantee 30% plant based polyols in the mix. Now it could be somewhere between 20~30%, which is still good but its a little less clear than it was.
The lupranol is from castor oil (changed the post above) and it is about 31% and they say if it is used exclusively in a mattress it will result in a 24% castor oil content in the mattress. I'd guess this is what Natura is using. If it is I'm glad because I read the same thing you pointed out. The castor oil apparently also doesn't have to be chemically altered in the same way soy polyols do.
Apologies for reviving an old thread, but we have been trying to de-stink a Carpenter memfoam topper, and I recalled this post. Following the link to the Certipur site I was interested to note that the Certipur certification for Carpenter DOESN'T include their mem foams! So it is safe to assume that, certification aside, Carpenter memfoams still have the bad old stuff in them (otherwise why wouldn't they have certified them too?).
Ours certainly has something nasty in it - after 4 days of airing with a fan on it, it still has a "burnt coffee" sort of smell, which fills the entire room. We wouldn't dare sleep on it like that, so if it doesn't clean up its act in a couple more days it is back to the store.
"So it is safe to assume that, certification aside, Carpenter memfoams still have the bad old stuff in them"
It's impossible to know for sure but in the case of memory foam especially, I think it's safer to make that a working assumption. There are other certifications besides CertiPur and there may be some memory foams that have other certifications but given that there is so much choice, I personally would make sure it was certified by some organization that somewhat satisfied me. I couldn't find any certifications for Carpenter's Isotonic memory foam on their site or anywhere else. Even though the CertiPur certification isn't as stringent in it's testing chemical wise ... I do like that it includes quality testing and that they re-test every 6 or 12 months.
Another thing about Carpenter that gives me pause is that they have another website for a fake organization, sleepbetter.org, that is made to look like an independent, informational site, but recommends only Carpenter products. Nowhere on the site (that I could find) is it identified as being a captive, commercial site belonging to Carpenter. One could argue that this is deceptive.
The carpenter site links directly to it so I had it on my list as a "Carpenter site". In all fairness as well the site here does make the connection pretty clear.
They too though seem to be "riding on" the popularity of Dr Breus which I find questionable since it seems pretty clear to me that he has "sold out" to the commercial value of his name.
There's no question at all about who owns "sleepbetter.org" - just look up the WHOIS data on it and it says Carpenter owns it.
A surprising number of individuals and companies fail to understand how much info is in domain's WHOIS listing... I once called a gentleman up at home and suggested that it was REALLY time for him to quit badmouthing me on his anonymously-run "review" site... since the next step was for officials to visit him at (read off his home address to him). :D
I have also found sites like this one http://www.robtex.com very helpful in giving "clues" when you are trying to track something down.
Sometimes when there are several "linked" websites that you might want to know about, they will be on the same server for example.
Another great source of information for finding sources you don't know about (as opposed to rating the ones you do) is a BBB search for a certain category in a certain city. I was amazed at what showed up sometimes that didn't show up in a google search.
Sites like Thomasnet and Manta can also be very helpful.
Love your story (laughing)
Sure if you look hard enough you can find some clues, but they never come out and say the site is exclusively a promotional site for Carpenter, and that the seal or approval they portray prominently on the main page is "awarded" only to their own products (at least, I have never seen it on anything but theirs).
And they say stuff like
At SleepBetter.org, we also like to share tips on our favorite sleep related products, both in stores and online.
So look for the Sleep Better™ seal as a way to easily identify products recommended for their superior quality or scientifically based design.
Which sure sound to me like they are trying to present themselves as a independent informational site. maybe even one that actually tests products from various sources.
So while the deception may be not be criminal, it is enough to make me suspicious of anything else Carpenter tells me.
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