In “The Mattress Still Matters,” three Green America certified mattress companies stand above the rest: Naturepedic, White Lotus, Lullaby Baby. Naturepedic ranks number one!
Babies are exceptionally vulnerable to chemicals in their environment as they are undergoing rapid changes in their development. Therefore, the materials in their crib, room, and on their bodies should be chosen carefully to ensure the baby’s healthy development.
Unfortunately, many baby products on store shelves do not disclose all the materials and their effects on infants. Chemicals of concern can be found in both baby and adult mattresses. Parents should not have to worry about exposing their babies to chemicals that could increase the likelihood of health challenges like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and more.
In a new report from Clean and Healthy New York and the Ecology Center, The Mattress Still Matters, researchers investigate baby mattresses from a number of companies on their materials and company disclosures. Since babies spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, the components of their mattress can have an outsized effect on their development.
The Mattress Still Matters is a follow-up report to the 2011 report, The Mattress Matters. In the newest report, researchers reviewed 227 product webpages from 37 crib mattress brands to determine the materials used. 13 mattresses were analyzed via laboratory testing to compare company disclosures with chemicals detected. The full report includes detailed analysis of potentially toxic chemicals, full laboratory results, and recommendations for parents.
The report notes that there are five key chemicals to avoid in crib mattresses: PFAS, antimicrobials, vinyl, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Polyurethane foam is also a material the report recommends avoiding for the harm it does to the lungs of production workers and for its potential cancer-causing contaminants. Additionally, low VOC tests (volatile organic compounds, which can be found in adhesives, paints, and more) like GreenGuard and GreenGuard Gold does not mean a product is nontoxic.
Out of the companies tested, the report found that 65 percent of companies did not disclose full information and of that, 22 percent were missing significant information. Several of Green America’s Green Business Network members were investigated in the report—Naturepedic, White Lotus Home, and Lullaby Earth were all rated among the best for honesty in product materials and safety of those materials.
Of the mattresses that underwent lab testing, the Classic mattress from Naturepedic scored the best. All components matched Naturepedic's claims, and the mattress is composed of entirely safe materials. White Lotus Home and Lullaby Earth did not have mattresses tested by the Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff Lab but were ranked among the best for material safety based on labeling. Many big name brands such as Serta, Sealy, and Ikea ranked poorly for company disclosure and material safety.
Unfortunately, the conflicts between what companies disclose and what unsafe materials are actually found in mattresses is troubling for families seeking healthy crib mattresses. When shopping for your baby, watch out for greenwashing claims such as “soy foam”, “infused with plant oil”, and “plant-based foam”, which can actually refer to polyurethane foam, since adding plant oils doesn’t change the other problematic chemicals potentially in the material. Other phrases, such as “nontoxic”, “eco-friendly”, and “organic” do not mean anything unless backed up with a certification logo from GOTS or GOLS—even organic cotton certified by the USDA can be processed with harmful chemicals. Therefore, families should seek companies like Naturepedic, White Lotus Home, and Lullaby Earth that have certifications and verifiably use the best materials in their products.
Additionally, parents can search our GreenPages.org for socially and environmentally responsible mattress manufacturers. It is home to brands like Naturepedic, White Lotus Home, Lullaby Earth, and many more mattress brands that have passed our rigorous certification standard for safe and healthy mattresses.