When most people think of latex, they think of synthetic latex. Synthetic latex, is completely man made from petrochemicals. It can be commonly found in rubber gloves, condoms, balloons, band-aids, medical equipment and surgical devices just to name a few.
Some people can develop allergies to synthetic latex after just a few exposures. These allergic reactions can range from nasal allergies, hay fever like symptoms, conjunctivitis, hives, and mild to severe itching.
Synthetic latex is a man made reproduction of natural latex. And in fact, there are 3 categories of natural latex: Blended (30% Natural 70% SBR aka Styrene-Butadiene Rubber), 100% All-Natural, and Certified Organic.
So, what is natural latex? Why is synthetic latex in my mattress a health concern?
Latex is a milky white liquid naturally occurring in rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis). Rubber trees are native to South America and have been one of their greatest natural resources. During the 19th century, they were spread around the world because of their advantages in products production and manufacturing.
Rubber trees will start to create liquid latex 5 years after they are planted keep producing for up to 20 years. Just as maple syrup is extracted from sugar maples, latex is extracted out of rubber trees through a small piece of bark that is carved from the tree. Once the tree is cut, the latex flows freely without any harm being done to the tree in the process.
Synthetic latex was developed in the U.S. during WWII when natural rubber supplies were cut off from Southeast Asia. By then, most rubber/latex production had moved there and the war efforts kept these natural resources from being traded with the US.
One of the many uses is to fill mattresses. Even though we outlined a few negative health effects from synthetic latex it is still significantly better than polyurethane foam! Synthetic latex and polyurethane foam, the main ingredient of memory foam, should not be confused with each other. But they often are.
Synthetic latex mattresses and the even worse Polyurethane Foam, can have many other negative effects on your health and home. They can release chemicals like these that is absorbed through the skin and lungs. These mattresses don’t release moisture and trap heat causing mildew and mold in your home. They can become a breeding an environment for dust mites and bed-bugs. They can oxidize and create dust which is released into the air and settles around your home and in your lungs.
Enough with the negative, let’s get to all the wonderful benefits that a natural latex mattress, certified organic latex or blended latex can do for you!
Some mattress brands blend natural and synthetic latex together, like the “blended latex” that we mentioned above. Even blending latex creates a significantly healthier sleep than a synthetic latex mattress! It’s a perfect way for someone shopping healthy mattresses on a budget to get the best low cost product.
When shopping for a blended mattress consider the Oeko-Tex 100 Certificate. This is the highest certificate for off-gassing on non-organic products that is available. Posh & Lavish, which is one of the most popular brands of heathy mattresses, are 30% Natural Talalay latex and 70% SBR (Styrene-Butadiene). These materials together are known for its abrasion-resistance and durability. They also have all-natural Dunlop latex for the core.
Blended mattresses have a 20 year warranty, just like a 100% all natural and certified organic latex mattress. Thus, this blended mattresses should be considered a natural mattress.
All Natural and Certified Organic Latex mattresses also have a lifespan of 20-30 years. They are comfortable, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, hypo allergenic, dust mite resistant, and biodegradable. They offer support where you body needs it to keep the spine aligned, and they relieve pressure point discomfort. It will move with your body during the night instead of keeping you stagnant.
In a hot climate, it will help keep you cooler because the natural materials are more breathable and not intended on your body heat.
Here at New Living we strive to keep you and your home healthy, clean, and organic which is why we carry brands like OMI, Saavy Rest, and Naturepedic. See our collection of healthy sleep options online. And visit us in store to learn more about how you can create the healthiest home and home of your dreams.