Designed to Be Safe
Desire to Be Safe
Naturepedic is the business name of Safe For Home Products, LLC, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The company was founded by a board-certified environmental engineer and hazardous materials specialist, Barry Cik. According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer story, Cik was in a baby store looking for a crib mattress for a grandchild, reading the lists of ingredients. They all had chemicals he would not have in a baby’s bed. Not finding a toxin-free crib mattress, he determined to design and make one.
A Natural Name
When Safe For Home Products had its first mattress, he named it Naturepedic, and that is the brand name for all their products. Because of the chemicals used, Naturepedic mattresses, pillows, and other items do not have memory foam, polyurethane foam, or chemical flame retardants. All materials used are tested and certified as safe, and all naturally sourced ingredients are certified as organic at all levels of production and processing.
In 2012, Barry Cik and Naturepedic developed Lullaby Earth, lower cost baby crib mattresses to make them more affordable.
Old and New
The quest for a non-toxic mattress went to the bottom – the bottom of the mattress, that is. Most of Naturepedic Crib Mattresses have innersprings with 9-gauge perimeter rods, and most of the kids and adult mattresses have coil support. That is because, according to Cik, it is safer than the alternative of polyurethane support cores. Even though there has been progress in replacing some of the petroleum derivatives in the foam with plant-derived oils, most of the polyols come from petroleum, and the reactant is extremely toxic.
Barry Cik is also against the use of gel for cooling, because (1) it is chemically produced, and (2) it is not effective over time. On the second point, he agrees with Dr. Rick Swartzburg, who does not use gel in his designs, but relies on the patented Airflow Transfer System for temperature regulation.
The only synthetic ingredient in Naturepedic mattresses is PLA, a polyethylene made from plant materials without using any toxic chemicals. In tables of materials, it is listed as food grade polyethylene.
Other materials, beside steel and PLA, are organic fabric to encase pocket coils and microcoils, and organic cotton, wool, natural latex, cashmere, and alpaca. Some of these materials are used in more than one application.
Naturepedic sells its products both directly and through online retailers. They do have three showrooms.
Naturepedic has three collections of products: Adult Collection, Kids Collection, and Baby Collection. Each collection has mattresses, pads and toppers, and bedding/accessories. The Adult Collection has a Reverie adjustable bed, and the Baby Collection has bassinets, cradles, and changing pads.
As said above, most Naturepedic mattresses rely on coils for support. Bonnell coils are in five of the nine crib mattresses. The other four use a WaveSupport made of PLA. Most of the Kids and Adult mattresses have encased pocket coils, and two Kids models use Bonnells. One adult mattress, the EOS Trilux, has a latex support base layer.
Comfort layers in Naturepedic mattresses are mostly either natural Talalay latex or microcoils. No memory foam, and no gel. Some models use PLA fibers.
The cover fabric for Naturepedic mattresses is organic cotton. Regular cultivation of cotton uses pesticides and chemical fertilizers. GMO (genetically modified) cotton which has been made resistant to herbicides is raised in fields where herbicides have been used to kill weeds before planting the cotton. Some of the herbicides can find their way into the cotton itself.
It is not enough for the cotton to be grown organically. It must also be processed without toxic chemicals, including certain dyes. For instance, this means no treatment with formaldehyde for shipping.
Why organic cotton? No matter how much care has been taken to clean pesticides and herbicides off the cotton, some residue of these compounds still remains on the fibers. These may be bad enough for adults, but for babies, children, and pregnant women, the effects are more serious, disturbing development in fetuses, infants, and children.
Naturepedic makes pillows for adults, kids, and babies. The juvenile pillows are smaller sizes of the adult products. All the pillows are covered with organic cotton. Fillings include all-natural latex, PLA fiber filling, organic cotton batting, and a blend of organic cotton and organic kapok.
Toppers are not usually covered in these mattress reviews. However, they are significant here. Naturepedic makes toppers for crib mattresses that are billed as very breathable. Their Lullaby Earth line includes Airflow Toppers using Naturepedic’s Airflow Technology, a 3-dimensional design to let air move both vertically and horizontally. Unlike the Airflow Transfer System used by Selectabed, Tempflow, and Snuggle-Pedic, it is all in one layer, what one would expect in a topper.
Naturepedic has a page for all the certifications of their materials, processes, and facility. They preface the list with “Naturepedic’s efforts to make healthier and chemically safer mattresses and bedding are evidenced by the following certifications.” In the list are GreenGuard Gold, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), OCS100 Organic Content Standard, Forest Stewardship Council® / Rainforest Alliance, and Made Safe. Additionally, all of their products have been tested by UL and are Formaldehyde Free Verified. Naturepedic also participates in the Bedfax program of the Specialty Sleep Association.
Test by UL to GreenGuard Gold standards, all Naturepedic products are certified as free from chemical emissions.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
All natural fabrics and fibers used by Naturepedic, especially organic cotton, are certified by GOTS as non-toxic. Not only this, but it includes working conditions of agricultural and industrial employees and the environmental impact.
This is U.S grown cotton, certified by Oregon Tilth for GOTS. Oregon Tilth also certifies organic wool produced in the U.S.
Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)
The same parent organization administers the GOLS certification, which applies specifically to latex. This covers the material from planting rubber trees to making the latex foam.
OCS100 Organic Content Standard
The OCS100 Organic Content Standard is administered by Control Union International, a global inspection services firm, for the Organic Exchange Certification Program. OCS100 is certification that a product has 95-100% organic content. It is issued for businesses upplying materials to other businesses. What this means for Naturepedic is that they are assured of the level of organic content in the materials they receive to use in their products.
Forest Stewardship Council® / Rainforest Alliance
The Forest Stewardship Council has a Chain of Custody certification for forest products to assure manufacturers that forest products they receive are from certified producers meeting standards for good forest management. The Rainforest Alliance administers certification of Chain of Custody for latex.
Made Safe is a non-profit agency which tests entire, finished products for toxicity. The reason for testing the whole product is that some non-toxic ingredients may combine to produce toxins. This has an analogy in medicine, where drug interactions are a concern. The products tested are from American companies.
Bedfax is not in itself a certification. It is a labeling program of the Specialty Sleep Association. The Bedfax labels used by participating manufacturers are full disclosure of all materials used in the products bearing the tags. Naturepedic is one of the first mattress manufacturers to enroll in Bedfax.
Besides these certifications, Naturepedic has also awards from 16 organizations. According to them they “have won more awards than any other mattress company.”
Evaluation and Comparison
The first point in evaluating Naturepedic mattresses with memory foam mattresses is that they do not use any memory foam at all. Barry Cik does not use it because of toxic ingredients. However, in curing the foam, the most toxic of these materials have been radically transformed into a totally different material, which is basically nontoxic.
Where concern does come in is in the emission of gasses. With the original versions of memory foam, some of these were admittedly toxic. Research, refinement and testing have reduced these where quality foam is made, such as in North America and Europe.
Some progress has been made in elimination of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). One of these, Biogreen, used by Selectabed and Tempflow, has VOCs of only 00.039 mg/m3, 1/13 of GreenGuard Gold, the strictest standard.
The materials used in Naturepedic mattresses are breathable. This includes not only fabrics and battings, but Talalay latex, with its many perforations, and coils, with their open spaces. However, descriptions of the all-latex models do not reveal anything like the Airflow Transfer System used in Relief-Mart mattress brands (Selectabed, Tempflow, and Snuggle-Pedic).
Naturepedic’s mattress reviews are generally favorable. A large part of this is because of the commitment of the company and its founder to totally avoid toxicity in bedding products. For some models with latex, they have alternative comfort layers with microcoils. Though they do not have memory foam mattresses, they nevertheless have good mattresses.