The New York Times Article on Organic Mattresses, 3 years later
Stores across the country have lately been trumpeting the benefits of “organic” and “natural” mattresses, for adults as well as babies. There are now models made with soybeans, stuffed with coconut husks, infused with green tea and treated with aloe vera (“known to have a significant effect on energy levels,” according to a press release from Serta).
But as mattresses like these have become increasingly common — and an increasingly popular subject of online discussion forums for parents — it has become ever harder for consumers to sort through the panoply of manufacturers’ claims.
No government agency regulates the labeling of mattresses as “organic” or “natural,” and trade groups like the International Sleep Products Association and the Specialty Sleep Association offer their members no guidelines for using the terms. Throughout the industry — as a number of people within it acknowledged in interviews — promotional materials are rife with vague or misleading information.
If you read down further in the article, you will even see yours truly quoted when I worked for that other company. The industry has changed quite a bit in the last few years, and I personally have learned a lot about the organic and green market.
In establishing Nest Bedding, I wanted to build a brand and a store that lived in the light of disclosure, that prides itself on educating customers, not trying to sell them, and let the customer make an informed choice. We don't hide where our latex mattresses come from, we don't give out fuzzy information about our fire retardant and we only carry products whose claims are certified by valid American-based organizations.
For example, our memory foam mattresses we sell in the Berkeley and Albany area are made in the USA, contain no chemical fire barrier and are certified to off-gas no harmful VOC's. I wanted to offer foam and pure latex mattresses in my store, as it's my opinion that consumers should have a choice. Not everyone likes the feel of an organic latex mattress, or not everyone wants to sleep on a memory foam mattress. In my extensive experience, consumers in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael and all the Bay Area tend to be more informed as a whole when it comes to environmental concerns. Never have I had more customers ask questions such as "What do you use to make the bed fire retardant?" or "Do you have a valid, current VOC report?" Some of the questions you can ask to cut through all the greenwashing and lies..."Do you have certification on ALL the foams you use, not just the top or bottom layers" or "Do you have a current VOC report?" Or..."Do you offer any third party testing or certification for your fire barrier?" Most companies will not be able to provide this information.
If you are shopping for a mattress sale in the SF Bay Area, in Berkeley, Oakland, San Rafael, do your homework. It has taken me years to learn about this industry and I am still learning things. It's hard to cut through all the claims and marketing terms. But use common sense, ask lots of questions and shop at a few stores before making your decision.
Nest Bedding in Albany Berkeley California believes in selling organic and natural mattresses in a non-pressure setting, educating consumers about the benefits of an organic mattress, non-toxic memory foam mattress, and natural, non-toxic American made bedding. Visit our store online, then come on in and test drive the mattresses in our beautiful store on Solano Ave, just along the Albany Berkeley border. Its a close trip for those in San Rafael and San Francisco, and we have even had customers visit us from San Jose!