Polyurethane foam mattresses, whether they contain a minimum of soy or not, continue to negatively affect human health and the environment, and soy foam is not even easily biodegradable, so it will end up in landfill with the rest of the toxic foam mattresses. Both polyurethane foam and memory foam are petroleum-based. First, that means they're made with a “witch's concoction” of toxic chemicals (more on that soon). Second, they break down over time, causing a significant release of VOC gases into the air you breathe.
And thirdly, they are extraordinarily flammable. Some fire officers even have the foam nickname “Solid Gasoline”. As a result, these beds are often soaked with the most potent and hazardous chemical flame retardants. Polyurethane foam is used in most mattresses on the market.
But polyurethane is made of petroleum chemicals that can emit VOCs, harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory irritation or other health problems. Some polyurethane mattresses are worse than others in terms of VOC emissions, so if you are going this way, take a walk and ask if the foam has been tested for VOCs. Mattresses are known to release minute amounts of gaseous chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC). These VOCs come mainly from polyurethane used in the mattress, but also from other chemicals used in flame retardants and plastics, researchers said.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certifies mattresses that are made of at least 70 percent organic natural materials and that they contain no flame retardants, phthalates, or other chemicals of concern. Happsy recommended and advocated together with 1% For The Planet, Green America, Women's Voices For The Earth, American Sustainable Business Council and Sustainable Furnishings Council (Gold), Happsy certified organic mattresses use certified organic cotton fabric, certified organic cotton wadding, organic wool, organic latex certified and coated coils. Unfortunately, none of the mattresses in the Best and Good Stuff categories will work for me and my husband. Last year, the organization released a report titled “The Mattress Still Matters”, in which several notable names in environmental chemistry and public health sounded the alarm.
More expensive and not so heavenly to the touch, but it's actually the cheapest organic mattress I've ever stumbled upon. Several organizations have certified the mattress, including the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), for its latex, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), for its cotton and wool. There was a Canadian-made mattress that said NO VOC, non-toxic, filled with sheep's wool, organic cotton top, no waterproofing, which was what I wanted. Like many mattress companies, Casper is also aiming for its CertiPUR certification from Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, a non-profit organization created by the foam industry that covers only the foam of a mattress, not the rest of the complex layers that make up a typical bed.
I did some research. The Futon Shop seems to have great organic mattresses with all certified organic ingredients at a cheaper cost than most competitors.