Archive for the ‘Naturepedic’ Category

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik Discusses Chemicals in Crib Mattresses and University of Texas Study

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A recent study published February of this year by a team of environmental engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has found that infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses.

Below, Naturepedic founder Barry A. Cik explores aspects related to this report to provide a greater understanding of the overall topic of chemicals in crib mattresses.

 

Friends and Colleagues,

I’ve been asked by several people to comment on the University of Texas study regarding chemicals in crib mattresses.  In particular, people want to understand the practical implications of chemicals in crib mattresses.  I’ll use a Q & A format.

 Are Chemicals Really a Problem?

The chemical problem is quite well established.  For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the following:

“Over the past several decades, tens of thousands of chemicals have entered commerce and the environment, often in extremely large quantities…A growing body of research indicates potential harm to child health from a range of chemical substances…there is widespread human exposure to many of these substances…These chemicals are found throughout the tissues and body fluids of children and adults alike…”   [Policy Statement – Chemical Management Policy: Prioritizing Children’s Health; American Academy of  Pediatrics, April 25, 2011; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/04/25/peds.2011-0523 ]

Naturepedic Founder Barry A. Cik talks chemical safety during the grand opening of the company's Beverly Hills gallery

Naturepedic Founder Barry A. Cik talks chemicals during the grand opening of the company’s California gallery

There are approximately 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace.  Most have been created since World War II, and never existed on planet Earth before.  An additional 1,000 new chemicals are created every year.  Most (actually, virtual all) chemicals have never been tested for toxicity or health concerns.  The EPA has the authority to take action for many other concerns, but, for chemicals, the EPA has virtually no authority.  Of the 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace, the EPA has so far banned five (5).

What Are the Primary Types of Chemicals of Concern in Crib Mattresses?

Flame Retardant Chemicals -  These primarily include Phosphate, Brominated, and sometimes Chlorinated or Antimony Flame Retardants.  When a chemical gets undue attention, and certainly if it gets banned, manufacturers tend to turn to other flame retardant chemicals.  But these substitutions are frequently known as “regrettable substitutions” because the new versions generally prove to be no better than the previous versions.  Various flame retardant chemicals have been associated with toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental issues, endocrine disruption, and reproductive issues, etc.

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) – PFCs are used as water-repellants and stain-repellants, and are frequently used to make the surface fabric of a crib mattress water-repellant.  In addition to being carcinogenic, one fairly recent study associated perfluorinated compounds with Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities [Philip J. Landrigan, Children’s Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York & Luca Lambertini, National Institutes of Health; published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 120, Number 7, July 2012.]

Phthalates – Phthalates are used to soften vinyl, and are linked to cancer and developmental issues.  Six phthalate chemicals were banned by Congress several years ago (as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) and a seventh has been added to California Prop 65.  Meanwhile, there are at least an additional seven or eight new phthalate versions now on the market, as well as other phthalate substitutes, which are technically legal (i.e. not banned) and are being used.  No one knows the effects of these substitute chemicals, and whether they will ultimately be shown to have better or worse or substantially the same health concerns.

Where Are Flame Retardants Found?

They can be found in the surface fabric of a crib mattress, and/or in a flame barrier directly beneath the surface fabric, and/or in the foam inside the mattress.  Most synthetic fabrics on the market are flame-resistant because flame-retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers when the synthetic fibers were made.  In the case of natural fabrics, being that the fibers themselves are natural and not synthetically created, the flame-retardant chemicals are generally added at any of several later stages of the fabric processing.

What About Using “Inherently” Flame Resistant Fabrics?

The industry sometimes uses the word “inherently” loosely.  When a mattress manufacturer buys a fabric to be used on the mattress, the mattress manufacturer generally would not even know the exact chemical formulation of the fabric (which may have been made by a third party, and perhaps in China), and would not know what flame retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers.  If the fabric that is used on the mattress passes the flammability test, then the mattress manufacturer will frequently simply call it an “inherently” flame-retardant fabric.  However, the only truly “inherently” flame-resistant fabrics in the marketplace are fabrics that are made with fiberglass.

What About “Soybean Foam”?

Soybean Foam, Soy Foam, Eco Foam, Harvest Foam ™, Plant Derived Foam, etc. are all marketing terms.  They are all Polyurethane Foam, except that some soybean or castor oil has been used to replace some of the polyols in the mix.  The Law Label regulations require that these materials not be identified by their marketing terms.  Rather, they must be identified by their correct technical term – which is Polyurethane Foam.

What About GREENGUARD and Other Certification Programs?

GREENGUARD is an excellent emissions certification program (and was introduced to the mattress community by Naturepedic).  However, even GREENGUARD has its limits.  For example, GREENGUARD only tests for the legally banned phthalates, but doesn’t test for all the replacements in the marketplace that are being used.  There are other certification programs available as well.  In each case, it is helpful to understand what is and is not being tested or evaluated.

Of all the certification options available in the marketplace, the certified organic program offered by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the most thorough.  It requires the use of certified organic fabrics and fill, and provides a high degree of chemical safety vetting for all other non-organic components that are required in a mattress.

How Do We Stop the Use of Inappropriate Chemicals?

Manufacturers and consumers can take several steps right now.  Chemicals of concern used in the manufacturing of a mattress can be replaced with less hazardous alternatives.  This reduces the risk up-front.  Then, exposure can frequently be limited in the product design and/or by separating the baby from the consumer item.  In the case of a crib mattress, this might include the use of an organic pad over the mattress.  Then, of course, manufacturers should be required to disclose and be transparent regarding what is being offered to the consumer.

Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it best:  “Manufacturers of chemicals are not required to test chemicals before they are marketed…Concerns about chemicals are permitted to be kept from the public…those who propose to market a chemical must be mandated to provide evidence that the product has been tested…relevant to the special needs of pregnant women and children…”   [ibid]

-  Barry A. Cik

 

Organic Mattresses Just for Kids

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Ever wonder how a mattress made specifically for a kid varies from an adult mattress? Isn’t it simply the same twin-sized mattress as an adult twin-sized mattress?

Not at Naturepedic. Our certified organic mattresses for kids are designed specifically for developing bodies. Here’s how.

Be Firm with Your Kids

Essential for babies, a firm sleeping surface also benefits the developing bodies of older children. Naturepedic mattresses for kids feature a steel coil innerspring, and alternating coil directions create a strong stable feel and a medium-firm support perfect for kids. This added level of firmness might seem too firm for most adult preferences, but it’s best for kids’ growing bodies.

Additionally, our kid mattresses are made with a heavy duty edge support. This edge strength is a perfect reinforcement to allow adults to sit on the edge of the bed without sagging to read that bedtime story.

Get On Out, Allergies

In adult mattresses, organic wool and latex are awesome, but as adults, we probably have learned what allergens to avoid. In terms of babies and kids, our focus is on safety first and foremost, so our kids’ mattresses do not include latex or 100_0084wool. You will also find no coconut coir, another possible allergen due to the latex bonding agent. Because young ones with little-sized lungs sleep on these mattresses, we feel the best approach is to simply avoid possibly allergenic materials altogether, just in case.

Like all our mattresses, Naturepedic kids’ mattresses are free of polyurethane foam and vinyl and are made without pesticides, PFCs, chemical flame retardants and other questionable chemicals, and that’s not just our word. Our mattresses are certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and meet stringent clean air standards from UL/GREENGUARD. While all of this is beneficial to children with chemical sensitivities, we believe everybody benefits from reduced chemical exposure.

The Wetting Planner

When young children move from the crib to a big kid mattress, the occasional bed wetting accident can happen. The Naturepedic 2-in-1 bed for kids has one side fully waterproofed. This means easy clean-up without the need for an additional protective cover. Nice. Even better, our waterproofing is accomplished without PFCs or the phthalates found in vinyl, instead using food grade polyethylene.

As the child gets older, flip the mattress over for a quilted organic cotton fabric side. While the quilted side has a softer feel, it nonetheless provides a medium firm support.

100_0071The easy-to-clean wipe down surface of the waterproof side is also a benefit when kids get sick, regardless of age. As a parent I know how much I worry when my kids aren’t feeling good. Flipping the mattress to the waterproof side won’t help us parents worry less about our children, but it does mean we won’t need to add those extra layers of blankets or plastic shields to protect the bed.

Kid Power

Naturepedic mattresses for kids - kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids – kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids are designed specifically to support their unique needs while also making life easier for parents.

Learn more about our mattresses for kids, or even better check them out at any store carrying our kids’ mattresses.

Who’s Serious about Preserving Earth’s Natural Resources?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

 

There are plenty of companies guilty of green-washing. From crib mattresses to cosmetics, manufacturers around the world are flooding the market with products that contain small – virtually negligible – amounts of natural or organic substances hoping to cash in on the desire of consumers to save themselves and the environment from toxicity. But some companies are really taking the decline of environmental health seriously – Apple being one.

Apple made a very smart move a year ago. In May 2013, the company hired Lisa Jackson, Obama’s former EPA administrator. Big win for Apple.

Here are just a few of the company’s recent accomplishments:

  • solar farmTheir data center in Maiden, North Carolina is majorly powered by biogas fuel cells and two 20 megawatt solar arrays. It is the largest privately owned installation in the country, generating enough energy to power over 13,000 homes. Although there are days when 100% of their power is from this installation, they sometimes have to rely on other resources. But when they do, the extra energy is from completely clean sources. This facility is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified.
  • In fact, 100% of Apple’s data centers (facilities that house the networked computer that store, profess and distribute voluminous amounts of information) – in North Carolina, Oregon, Nevada and California – are powered with renewable energy – as are 94% of their corporate facilities.
  • Apple’s new corporate headquarters, currently under construction in Cupertino, CA, will use 30% less energy than equivalent conventional buildings. And the seven thousand trees on their new campus will turn carbon dioxide into the badly needed oxygen currently being robbed through deforestation.
  • The new iPad Air uses a third less material overall by weight than the original iPad, and less material is also used in iPhones, iPods and Macs.
  • Vilified for years over not providing recycling for their products, Apple now also accepts all used computers, iPads and iPhones for recycling. They even pay you to do it with gift cards in the both the U.S. and UK.

Apple has a ways to go – but they are leading the way, and fully committed. Check out the Environment section of their website for more info.

Is Apple going to make money on this? Absolutely – despite the huge investment. Rather, because of it. It’s what the planet needs, and it’s what people want. Their customers will be more than willing to pay a little more for their products because of their environmental activism.

If more companies would get the idea that doing the right thing will actually increase their profits, we’d see a lot more action.

At Naturepedic, we are similarly committed. Not only are our products non-toxic, our entire factory is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Check our blog The Naturepedic Factory – What’s That Fresh Smell?

And stay tuned for more news on who is green-washing, and who’s really serious about preserving earth’s natural resources, and keeping its occupants healthy.

The Human Side of Organic

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Every purchased product, even if mass produced, was made by somebody with materials gathered or processed by real people.

Naturepedic always remembers that, even when sourcing materials. I am fortunate to know and interact with the real people who build Naturepedic organic mattresses. Most of the manufacturing team is made up of Amish men and women possessing considerable skills, and it’s impressive to watch these craftspeople build mattresses. With an office just outside of the manufacturing floor, I see the process frequently.

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

That said, although we make our mattresses here in Ohio, even coiling our own springs and then hand assembling them with organic cotton encasements one at a time, we still bring in raw materials like organic cotton, latex, wool and wood.

We don’t have our own live sheep at this point.

Did you know the organic certifications we offer for our mattresses and materials also take into account the human, animal and environmental impacts related to those materials long before our mattresses are even made?

Organic Certification

As a writer for Naturepedic, I generally focus on the end user benefits of a certified organic mattress, such as not being exposed to toxic flame retardants. There are, however, other aspects of responsibility that are near to my heart that do not get mentioned.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the standard to which Naturepedic mattresses and our entire manufacturing facility are certified, ensures that crops are grown and harvested without GMOs and toxic pesticides and fertilizers, but it goes beyond that.

GOTS also examines the harvesting and processing of those materials and how it affects the soil, wildlife, insects, and the humans who gather and make the materials. In other words, GOTS looks at the entire global impact.

Cotton

The global cotton industry alone is responsible for some of the worst human rights violations anywhere. A 2007 report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK found that six of the seven largest cotton producing nations regularly employ child labor, often under the most grueling circumstances.

For GOTS-certified cotton (and any agricultural products), crops must be harvested through employment freely chosen, and all levels of the product must be made without child labor in a safe and hygienic working area. Our mattresses use USDA-certified organic cotton grown in Texas, so we already have a huge step up using USA-grown cotton compared to mattresses made in other countries with lax human rights standards.

GOTS-certified organic cotton also doesn’t use the synthetic pesticides of conventional cotton.

The EJF report mentioned above estimates that cotton covers only 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet used 16% of the world’s insecticides. The report found in India, a remarkable 54% of the country’s pesticides were used on cotton, which occupies a little less than 5% of land use under crops!

These figures are just for the growing and harvesting phases, but the processing phase can also pose threats to workers and the planet. GOTS-certified cotton cannot be processed with the same harsh chemicals used in traditional cotton that are so detrimental. The certification looks at the whole process, from planting to processing.

Latex

Sourcing of organic latex foam, where rubber sap can be harvested from trees growing in countries without the same level of human rights afforded us in this country, requires even more vigilance for human rights. Our latex is independently certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS. Like GOTS, GOLS certification requires the latex be harvested responsibly, with workers treated fairly.

Additionally, it means rubber sap is harvested in a sustainable fashion with minimal environmental impact.

The Big, Sustainable Picture

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Like GOTS, we strive to take a “big picture” approach in looking at overall planetary impact. Certified organic wool certified to GOTS, for example, must come from sheep raised humanely. But that’s not all. Even the wood we use to build our mattress frames has received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to guarantee it was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.

We make you the safest, healthiest mattresses we can possibly make, and you can rest easy knowing that. We hope you’ll also feel better knowing your mattress was made with respect for the planet overall and the people, plants and animals living there.

Jenni June and Naturepedic want to help your kids sleep

Friday, May 9th, 2014
Jenni June, bringing sleep to babies and parents!

Jenni June, bringing sleep to babies and parents!

At Naturepedic, we appreciate the goodness of sleep, and so does our friend celebrity sleep specialist Jenni June. Beginning May 31, 2014, Jenni June kicks off her latest 15-city West Coast tour, bringing good sleep to babies, toddlers and parents!

The tour begins in California with The Family Sleep Event, made up of four 20-30 minute educational discussions. Jenni June understands the frustration parents experience when children won’t sleep, so she makes sessions fun, engaging and most of all empowering. Sessions are designed to give parents immediate tips they can begin using that same night as well as suggestions for building overall good sleep habits in children. Jenni will also cover ways parents can green-proof the sleep environment of their children to promote healthier sleep.

The first 100 registered guests per city get a gift bag with items valued at $80, including a Naturepedic Organic Cotton Fitted Crib Sheet. At the event, parents can also browse baby products from Naturepedic and other companies.

The tour ends on August 9 in Denver. Naturepedic is sponsoring The Family Sleep Event tour and we are thrilled, not only because of our commitment to Safe, Healthy Sleep™  (we are the most highly awarded crib mattress manufacturer in the U.S.), but also because we really like Jenni June!

WEST COAST FAMILY SLEEP EVENT FROM JENNI JUNE

San Diego, CA: Saturday, May 31

Del Mar, CA: Sunday, June 1

Newport Beach, CA: Saturday, June 14

Irvine, CA: Sunday, June 15

Pasadena, CA:  Saturday, June 21

Los Angeles, CA: Sunday, June 22

San Jose, CA:  Saturday, June 28

San Francisco, CA: Sunday, June 29

Eugene, OR: Saturday, July 12

Portland, OR: Sunday, July 13

Olympia, WA:  Saturday, July 19

Seattle, WA:  Sunday, July 20

Boise, ID:  Saturday, July 26

Salt Lake City, UT:  Saturday, August 2

Denver, CO:  Saturday, August 9

Jenni June at the grand opening of Naturepedic's Los Angeles store

Jenni June at the grand opening of Naturepedic’s Los Angeles store

Register for The Family Sleep Event.  You can find more about The Family Sleep Event as well as information on Jenni June’s overall work promoting sleep at her website at jennijune.com.  Read more about the event tour here.

What is Organic Certification?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

What is large? Bigger than a mailbox? An elephant? A gymnasium?

Big ... but maybe not to a dinosaur! (CC license , Eve Livesey, photographer, on freestock.ca

Big … but maybe not to a dinosaur!
(CC license , Eve Livesey, photographer, on freestock.ca)

The word “large” holds no value without a reference point. A sandwich the size of a dachshund is large. An alligator that size is not.  The same holds true for “organic.”

Alone, the word “organic” is of questionable value. If you’re trying to sell me a product, I have even more reason to question the value of that word, as it will often be contorted to imply elements that simply are not there.

WHAT DOES ORGANIC MEAN?

If a mattress contains “organic” cotton but has a cotton fabric cover treated with a chemical flame retardant, is the mattress organic?  What if the mattress is waterproofed with chemicals like PFCs?  You probably don’t want a mattress off gassing fair amounts of VOCs regardless of whether there is organic cotton there or not, so how do you know what “organic” actually means on a label? How do you know if the label is even truthful?

You demand certification to a rigorous, globally recognized, third-party verified standard such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOLS)  or the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Whether for an individual component or an entire finished product, a global standard defines and ensures materials or products live up to the definition.

RED FLAGS FOR THE GREEN WORLD

So what greenwashing organic logo tricks are out there? Here are a few:

 Organization Memberships as Proof

Be cautious when you see memberships to organic and environmental organizations and groups used to prove organic authenticity of a product. We proudly belong to many organic and sustainability organizations but know membership doesn’t verify our products. While we are members of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), for example, we don’t suggest that demonstrates our mattresses are organic; we use GOTS to show that. Sadly that sneaky join-a-club logic is used by some companies: pay membership dues to a trade organization then use the organization logo to “prove” organic veracity. It just doesn’t work that way.

Improperly Used Logos

Naturepedic uses USDA certified organic cotton grown in Texas which we proudly mention on our website. What you won’t see though is the USDA logo on our mattresses. Why? Because that is a label for agricultural materials. The USDA does not certify cotton fabric, furniture or mattresses. They don’t even allow the use of their logo on manufactured products, so if you see that logo, it doesn’t verify the mattress or fabrics are certified organic.

Fake Certifications or Meaningless Graphics

The great thing about living in the information age is you can quickly find out the details of a “certification” with a quick online search. If you’ve never heard of a certification before, it’s time to check.

The FTC is becoming more vigilant against deceptive green labeling practices, but that they won’t catch all offenders. In 2013 the FTC required EcoBaby to stop using their made-up NAOMI organic seal. The FTC said the logo gave the impression of a third-party, independent certification based on objective criteria, which wasn’t the case. In this extreme example, the company had actually created a false, and meaningless, certification!

Similar to fake certifications are eye-pleasing graphics masquerading as certifications. A pretty image of a leaf that reads “organic,” “earth friendly,” or some other green claim may simply be a picture created by the company’s graphic artist.

Pieces vs. Whole

We offer GOTS certification for our entire mattresses, but that certification can also be for individual components. (Our entire manufacturing facility is GOTS certified.)  GOTS-certified components are great. However, if you want your entire mattress GOTS certified, be careful. Sometimes the GOTS logo is used to imply a whole product is certified when in reality only select components are.

 WHY CERTIFICATION? SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING.

Look for the GOTS logo for organic authenticity

Look for the GOTS logo for organic authenticity

The bottom line is independent, legitimate organic certification lets you understand exactly what you’re getting, and not what a company wants you to think you’re getting.  Demand more and understand what a certification means.

Otherwise, you might just get a pretty logo and a bunch of chemicals.

Making Better Decisions: Eileen Fisher

Monday, May 5th, 2014

I have to admit I’m not much of a fashionista. I don’t quite follow the industry, which is not to say I don’t respect it or admire it. I just don’t necessarily prioritize my time or my budget as much as my friends do. When I do buy new things, I like classics and basics. And for convenience sake, I like washables. I just don’t have the time or patience for dry clean only.

Aside from the time and cost to take my “special” clothing to some other building and drop it off and pick it up, dry cleaning isn’t something that’s great for the environment. Why? Chemicals. Are they really necessary? I have countless items of clothes that suggest dry cleaning that went on the delicate cycle and once hung turned out fine. (Instinct and experience with a variety of laundered items prevails, please don’t send me your clothing bills if you test and ruin an item!)

So what are we to do when we need a red carpet worthy outfit that worn once requires a wash? Purchase the right fabrics – and even entire lines of clothing – in the first place! Don’t just read the tags to see if it’s your size, flip it over, see what it’s made with and manufacturers’ suggested laundering tips. Avoid buying those which are truly dry clean only. If you pay a little more for those items, count up your time, your transportation costs and that dry cleaning receipt you saved.

Is it possible? Of course. Where do you buy it? Well it’s as close as your local favorite department store. I just recently discovered Eileen Fisher clothing line. (If you’re thinking “Did you live in a hole?” refer the beginning of this blog post.) If you’re like me and haven’t heard of her, you’re welcome. A co-member of the Companies for Safer Chemicals Coalition, Eileen Fisher offers eco-friendly lines of clothes made with organic, sustainable and no-dry-cleaning-necessary textiles.

thisiseco

eileenfisher

And I’m sure you know how I feel about organic… Saving myself time on the laundry and saving the planet from pounds of insecticides to grow cotton? Two-for on this “Making Better Decisions” Monday.

Find out more about Eileen Fisher at eileenfisher.com, on Twitter see the #thisiseco campaign.

Naturepedic hosts gala for first Organic Mattress Gallery

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Hollywood celebrities,  organic and vegan food, wine, music and organic mattresses. Sounds like a party … And it was!

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The Naturepedic Organic Mattress Gallery in Los Angeles hosted a lively Grand Opening Gala on Sunday, April 27. Festivities kicked off at noon when Debbie Levin, president of Hollywood’s Environmental Media Association, took charge of the giant scissors for the official ribbon cutting. A sunny California day added an extra special touch as Naturepedic founder Barry Cik rolled out the green carpet for the guests, literally. Of course an organic mattress store would have a green carpet!

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Founder Barry Cik with actor Frances Fisher

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Founder Barry Cik with customer and actor Wendie Malick

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Celebrity Certified Sleep Consultant, Jenni June

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General Manager Ted Metas with Jason, Barry and Jeff Cik and VP of Operations, Charlie Beer

The gala proved to be loads of fun, with plenty of conversation, laughter and shared interests concerning healthier products. The event also marked an important milestone for Naturepedic, officially recognizing our first company-owned standalone showroom. We couldn’t have asked for a better day! If you’re out that way, make sure you visit our Los Angeles Organic Mattress Gallery at 456 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, one block south of Burton Way.

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Actor and customer, Constance Zimmer, lounges on a certified organic mattress

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CEO Jeff Cik with actor and customer Raphael Sbarge

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The Apprentice’s Omarosa with EMA’s Debbie Levin and actor and Naturepedic customer Wendie Malick

See all of the photos on our Facebook page! Or review the live-tweeting fun that was had with #NPLAGO 

Coping With This Year’s Allergy Season – The Worst In Years

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

pollen-grains-colorYou may have noticed that different species bloom at different times in the spring.  For months, we get to enjoy Mother Nature’s timetable. First we see little spring flowers poking their heads through the snow, then buds appear on the trees and not too much later, the grasses start budding and sporting their full color. By summer, they’re lush.  But for allergy sufferers, this schedule has special significance – the blooming season of each species is potentially something they dread. And this year is going to be worse than most.

Why? As with other tricks up Mother Nature’s sleeve, the bloom timetable is a result of a complexity of factors  -  just one of which is the weather.  And as anyone north of tropical or semi-tropical climes will attest, the recent winter was long and severe. Even now, near the beginning of May, there is still snow on the ground in some locations  – and the timetable is a mess.

Since it wasn’t warm enough for trees to get a head start on the grasses, they’re all going to be blooming at once. For allergy sufferers, that means a double or triple dose of the pollen they dread!

How Can You Meet the Challenge of All That Pollen?

Of course, you will have to follow your normal allergy routine, but pollen is only one source of onslaught to the immune system. If you can relieve the burden of other sources, you have a much better chance of fighting off the pollen.

How do you do that exactly?

Everything that is toxic to your body – whether ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin – sets your immune system into action. When the body has to deal with too many things, you wind up with symptoms of overload. In the case of pollen, those symptoms are usually a runny nose, difficulty breathing, swollen and itchy eyes, sometimes a rash, and so on.

The simple solution is to eliminate as many as possible of the other things putting demands on your immune system.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Stop eating food containing preservatives and other chemicals. Instead, choose fresh, organic produce, meat and poultry without hormones and antibiotics, and stay low on the sugar and other junk food. Not only will this relieve the chemical burden, it will actually boost the immune system.
  •  Switch out your furniture. Okay, that’s not so easy to do. Not all of us can afford to replace all their couches, chairs, tables, and so on with products that are made with organic materials or, at the very least, don’t contain chemicals that may be off-gassing toxic fumes into the air you’re breathing. But you can, and should, make some changes if at all possible. One good change to make is your beds – after all, you spend about eight hours a day in bed, with your nose very close to the mattress, not to mention breathing the bedroom air. This is especially important for kids, who don’t have the resources adults have to fight off allergies because their immune system is still developing.

At Naturepedic, we make organic crib mattresses and twin mattresses that are perfect for your kids. Not only are they free of toxic chemicals, some even have built-in dust mite barriers – dust mites can also cause reactions. Plus, our infant and kids’ mattresses don’t contain latex or wool, both of which can be a source of allergy or sensitivity.

I hope this helps you and your children to really enjoy the season and have a lovely spring!

A hidden guest bed with your Symphony organic mattress? Could be!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
Call this a Symphony in Comfort

Call this a Symphony in Comfort

Psst. I’ve got some inside information for you. Naturepedic’s newly redesigned and sublimely comfortable Symphony organic pillowtop mattress offers a hidden “guest bed.”  We don’t market this as a feature, so this will be our little secret.

If you have a Symphony, I doubt you’ll be offering it to guests, not even to a favorite sister. With a base of two layers of support coils, each coil individually wrapped in certified organic cotton fabric and hand assembled, how can you be expected to go without that glorious support and isolation of movement? I’m not judging. I didn’t even mention the 1 inch of certified organic natural latex foam built into the base. Listen. I understand. The Symphony takes comfort to a remarkable level.

This base alone is already incredibly comfortable as a cushion firm mattress.

Of course on top of this base you have a two-sided pillowtop made with 3 inches of organic latex. One side of the pillowtop is deeply quilted for an uber-plush, luxurious feel. Flip the pillowtop over and you find a lower-fill quilt design that creates a firmer sensation while still delivering a plush level of support. Three sleep sensations, depending on your preference, or even mood.

So here is the secret.  If you’re in a pinch and need one more additional sleep surface, you can pull that lush pillowtop onto the floor for a comfy, cushy pad. You still get an incredible sleep sensation, and your guest(s) gets a cloud-like sleep surface better than any cot or couch could ever offer.

An "inside" peek at the Symphony

An “inside” peek at the Symphony

You’ll sleep satisfied. Instead of giving the shirt off your back, you’ll have given the top off your mattress, and that’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it?

Yes. It really is.