Written by Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not just in the foods we eat—they are woven into the fabric of our lives. And as I strive to live an organic life, it includes not only what I eat, but also where I sleep.
A recent stay in a fine hotel made me realize it was time for a new mattress. I inquired at the hotel about their mattresses, which I had seen were handmade and could be ordered in their gift shop. Asking what they were made of, the woman read off a list of materials. But when she said “bio foam,” I stopped her. Asking what that was, she could not answer me. So she put me in touch with the company that makes the mattresses. They said the mattresses included polyurethane, corn, and soy. I inquired, “So the mattresses include not only petro chemicals—because polyurethane foam is made from a petrochemical base—but also include GMO corn and GMO soy?” And he answered, “Yep.” He knew I was not buying the bed. After doing a little more research I learned that these petro chemicals and GMO materials are commonly found in mainstream mattresses. This led me on a new mission: to find the purest organic mattress available. Unlike ordinary mattresses, organic mattresses are derived from natural materials. But it took much more research to find the right one, due to misleading “green washing.”
Like the food industry, advertisers in the bedding industry are making false claims about their bedding. Much like the term “natural” is meaningless on food labels, most of the terms on bedding labels are also meaningless and some are even not possible. Nothing is “chemical-free” or “100 percent nontoxic.” Thus without independent testing and third-party certification, there is no means of knowing what a mattress contains. Only third-party certification by an authoritative certifier using accepted standards, such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), can verify claims of organic.
Eventually, I found OrganicPedic by OMI to be the purest and safest bed for me. From the U.S. grown, certified raw materials to their Eco-Factory™ dedicated to building all organic products to the GREENGUARD® certification for chemical outgassing of finished products, their facility, materials, processes, and products are independently certified every step of the way. They even guarantee to make the purest mattress available with their “Purity Guarantee,” which states, “If you can find a purer mattress, we’ll give you ours for free.” Their natural rubber latex is 100 percent pure, while many other companies use synthetic latex or a blend of natural rubber latex and synthetic materials. OMI offers mattresses from crib size to Eastern or California king and can make many custom-sized natural rubber mattresses. And their pillows, mattress pads, and comforters are made with the same organic materials, Cruelty-free Eco-Wool™, certified organic cotton, and 100 percent-natural rubber latex used in the mattresses. Their mattresses are backed by an industry-leading 20-year limited warranty.
The beds are also made when ordered in their organic warehouse in California, rather than sitting around a warehouse gathering dust. A few weeks after we ordered ours, it was shipped (in a truck with other organic mattresses and nothing else to contaminate it) and arrived, along with the organic sheets, pillows, mattress pad, and blanket by OMI. I have never slept like I do on this bed. And given I spend one third of my life sleeping, if I live longer than this mattress does, I will buy another one. Learn more at OmiMattress.com.