In this article I want to clear the air as to what constitutes “Certified Organic” vs. the all natural aka “botanically derived latex” used by manufacturers of latex foam mattresses. As of today there is only one truly USDA/EU Certified Organic Latex used for latex mattress cores and latex mattress toppers. The company that manufactures that product has very limited amounts available so there are only a handful of mattress factories in the United States that can even get their hands on it.
The company that has broken the “Certified Organic Latex” barrier is Latex Green located in Sri Lanka. This has taken years to accomplish. Latex Green had to isolate a large part of their rubber tree plantation and keep it free from any chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers for years until it was finally awarded the organic certification in both the US and EU. In addition, a portion of the manufacturing plant had to also be isolated and kept sterile. This was a major undertaking and huge expense to pull this off but Latex Green's commitment to the earth and our environment has been nothing short of commendable and greatly appreciated by those of us who offer non-toxic sleep solutions.
Here's what Latexco, the only authorized distributor in the U.S., had to say about this long journey- “In order to meet the requirements for certification Latex Green segregated a section of the Plantation. The USDA requires that there be no chemical fertilizers or pesticides used on the trees or ground for a minimum of 4 years before any sap can be collected. After purging for 4 years the sap is collected and stored in a separate facility. It is then mixed, processed, poured, washed and packaged separately using separate equipment so as not to contaminate. You will notice that even the pincore pattern of the Organic is somewhat different from the regular (natural but not certified organic latex) Naturalux. That is because the newly commissioned molds used to produce the Organic are used solely for that purpose and never used to produce other products, assuring that there is no intermingling, residue or trace contamination. The material is also packaged in foil lined paper and stored separately in both the LG and our facility. This has been a long and costly process requiring years of commitment, diligence and investment but the results are the World's First Truly Organic Natural Latex”. This video can explain it further Organic Latex Mattress
When Mithra from the R&D department at Latex Green was asked “How does the organic latex mattress cores differ from the natural latex cores?” the answer was as follows in regards to the harvesting of natural “botanically derived” latex. “According to our plantation comments, it is common that fertilizers are being used at the very early stages until the rubber tree is grown and ready for tapping. Once the tapping starts (approx in 06-07 years) and the trees become mature, the use of fertilizers is reduced gradually allowing the tree to sustain the growth on its own. The plantations that we collect latex from have trees that are over 20 years old and therefore the need to use fertilizers has become unimportant.
Secondly, we use 100% natural latex in our compounds with no fillers or synthetic latex added. Therefore, we also think that our products can be recognized as “Botanically Derived Latex products”.
So the bottom line is that the only real difference is the use or non-use of fertilizers in the early stages of plant development. As explained above, even the natural latex, that is technically botanically derived, uses very little if any chemical fertilizers at its harvesting age. The follow up question I have asked is about the use of pesticides which will be the topic of a follow up article once I receive the reply but I expect a similar response.
The only remaining question would be one to ask of yourself, as organic latex mattresses are approximately 1/3 higher in price, and that is “how pure do you really need to go” when buying a natural latex mattress. As a side note, there has never been a reported case of a latex allergy associated with a latex mattress, latex mattress topper or latex pillow according to the FDA and that's because any residual chemicals that may have been present in the finished latex all get washed away during the 5 step rinsing process.
So to completely eliminate any possible chemical contamination the Certified Organic Latex would be the preferred choice. The likelihood that there are any dangers in natural botanically derived latex is extremely doubtful but not inconceivable. The remaining question is “is the difference in price worth the minimal risk”? My conclusion is this; there is no wrong choice here. Both solutions are head above heels better than any other sleep product on the market today. You simply cannot go wrong with either an organic latex mattress or a natural latex mattress.