February 28, 2018

One advantage that latex mattresses have over other mattresses, such as  memory foam mattresses, is that 100% natural latex is free of noxious gases.

What Is Off-Gassing?

Off-gassing occurs when new, manufactured items release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals into the air. These particles hang in the air and settle as dust, where they can be inhaled and ingested.

Off-gassing means that items saturated with industrial chemicals don’t just contain those chemicals inherently. They also give off those chemicals as particles, sometimes in large quantities. Simply sitting or lying down on a new memory foam mattress can release an invisible cloud of these unwanted chemicals. Sometimes you can smell these particles, and sometimes you cannot. Off-gassing can be especially noxious when a product is new.

One of the troubling things you discover as you research memory foam and off-gassing in mattresses is that there is a wide range of chemicals and processes in use, yet so little information from the mattress companies about those chemicals. This secrecy makes it difficult for the average person to assess, understand, or even identify what risks their mattress may pose to themselves, to their children, to their pets and to the environment. 

Latex for Less makes mattresses from one simple material: 100% natural latex, with no industrial chemicals or fillers. Our latex mattresses do not off-gas. We disclose our mattress ingredients because we have nothing to hide, and we believe you deserve to know what you’re sleeping on every night.

How to Avoid Off-Gassing

If your mattress is made from 100% natural latex with nothing added, you save yourself the trouble of worrying about off-gassing.

If you buy a memory foam mattress, some amount of off-gassing is going to occur from your new mattress.

Some owners of new memory foam mattresses and toppers report bad smells and acute symptoms, such as trouble breathing and asthma attacks. These may be the result of exposure to off-gassing industrial chemicals.

Some of the chemicals that are disbursed by memory foam mattresses are classified as carcinogens or potential carcinogens. Mattress adhesives and memory foam usually contain solvents like acetone, which can irritate your eyes and respiratory tract, or trigger asthma symptoms.

Everyone knows to open windows and ventilate well while they’re painting walls, because the paints we use off-gas. What many people don’t know is that the mattresses and mattress toppers they purchase may be off-gassing in a similar way, especially while they’re brand new. Again, 100% natural  latex does not off-gas in this manner.

If you want to avoid the off-gassing from a new memory foam mattress, it may be necessary to let it air out for at least one full week, in a well-ventilated room before sleeping on it even once. Even then, depending on the materials and manufacturing process, the mattress may continue to off-gas for months. During this time, it will emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in small but consistent doses. 

Less obvious, but also concerning: some chemicals that off-gas from new memory foam mattresses have no noticeable smell. Phthalates, for example, are odorless chemicals that off-gas. This means you can’t detect their presence using your senses, so there’s no way for the average person to know what their mattress is emitting.

What exactly have we been sleeping on?

Although companies may want to protect their “trade secrets,” we have a right to know what we spend one-third of our lifetime sleeping on. . 

One problem with “memory foam” is that it’s an open-ended description. Memory foam is a manufactured substance that does not exist in nature, and there are many ways to make it. Different mattress brands use different materials and processes.

Some mattress brands have more problems with off-gassing than others. And perhaps because their marketing departments know that customers are put off by too many strange-looking ingredients and industrial chemical names, many mattress companies choose to hide exactly which materials you’re sleeping on. This may be to protect trade secrets, but should they keep you in the dark about the mattress you sleep on every night?

The chemical mixtures used to produce mattresses vary from company to company. Solvent-based adhesives are generally used to hold mattresses together. Foam mattresses also may contain Asbestos Fluorinated Polymers or Chlorofluorocarbons, the chemicals widely associated with thinning of the Ozone. Other chemicals include carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, and dioxins. There’s also formaldehyde, which in part is responsible for that “new car smell.” That smell is off-gassing.

To make matters worse, many of the chemicals that are legal to use in furniture and other products in the U.S. have never been independently studied for their impact on people, animals or the environment.

Does Natural Latex Off-Gas?

No, natural latex does not off-gas.

New natural latex does have a smell, but that’s not due to off-gassing. It’s the natural scent of the hevea milk (rubber tree sap), and it’s not unpleasant or industrial-smelling. It’s not that formaldehyde “new car” smell or nail polish smell of acetone adhesives. It’s a nutty, natural smell somewhat like vanilla and it dissipates.

Do some research and know what materials are in each layer of your mattress and look at all certifications to verify their safety.

Latex for Less’s mattresses are free of industrial chemicals or fillers. Not only is 100% natural latex the healthiest and safest sleeping surface you will find, but it has these added bonuses:

  • Natural latex is naturally hypoallergenic
  • Natural latex is naturally antimicrobial

Latex for Less’s mattresses are 100% natural latex, and they are made by pouring the latex into molds and then steam-baking them. With our process and our principles, we err on the side of caution. We don’t add artificial chemicals . Why would any mattress company choose to expose consumers to these risks?

You deserve to know what materials you are sleeping on. With Latex for Less, you’ll never have to wonder. Your new latex mattress, pillow, or mattress topper is not only comfortable but it's healthy to sleep on.