Posts Tagged ‘Naturepedic’

Organic Mattresses – No, you can’t eat them

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

We make organic mattresses.

No, you can’t eat them.

Yes, I’m asked that.

I’m not insulted by the “can you eat them” question. The concept of non-food organics has largely not entered the public consciousness yet, but it will. Remember not too long ago organic food wasn’t even being considered by many.

As a kid, I didn’t know organic vegetables existed. Organic was as foreign to little me as fois gras or bidets (it squirts where??!!)

Is this an organic vegetable washer? What's organic?

Is this an organic vegetable washer? What’s organic?

Even after encountering the concept as a pre-teen (about organic produce, not bidets), organic food was confined to specialty stores populated by specialty people.

I never thought about the vegetables from my family’s garden as organic. Those were just vegetables.

Organic as a concept

Now in 2014, organic food has not only moved into the mainstream as a healthy eating option but as a familiar concept.

People now discuss the health benefits of organic food, and these considerations affect buying choices. Before these choices could happen, though, they first had to realize there were different options.

Now they are beginning to realize they have similar options with mattresses.

While all of us spend about a third of our lives in beds sleeping, the materials closest to our faces for most of the night (or day if a night shifter) have been ignored. Why? I don’t know.  Mattresses were “just there.” In the past someone would consider how a mattress felt but not even think about the materials inside or how they might affect health.

mom and baby grocery storeThankfully, an ever expanding circle of people are learning they can get a luxurious mattress without simply accepted materials as a given.

The truth is a lot of mattresses have questionable chemicals and synthetics: PFCs, flame retardant chemicals, pesticides and more. There is a choice to purchase mattresses with or without them.

They exist

Our belief at Naturepedic, supported by our involvement in scientific and environmental groups, panels and discussions, is it’s healthier to sleep on organic materials and avoid many of the synthetics and chemicals that have become industry standards.

This is our business, designed not as a marketing gimmick but built from our core philosophy outward. We believe fewer chemicals means healthier sleep.

Organic mattresses exist, and they are great.

 

You still can’t eat them, though.

The Naturepedic Factory – What’s that fresh smell?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

 

During my first visit to the Naturepedic mattress factory, something struck me.

The smell. The factory smelled fresh. As strange as this will sound, I thought it smelled … good.  

I’ve been in many factories, and good smelling is generally not a characteristic I’ve noticed.  Bakeries? They smell good.  Factories? Not so much.

Honestly, I first noticed the lack of expected smells.  Where was the combination chemical/solvent/adhesive/plastic smell I associate with factories?  Not there. 686A9951I knew in advance the entire factory was certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), but I still had an expectation of, well, a more industrial smell.  The lack of a heavy synthetic odor caught me off guard,  but in a good way.

Adding to my sense of surprise were the sounds, or, again, lack of. There was a LOT of activity, but the factory wasn’t loud.IMG_9378 All around was a beehive of productivity, with people hand-stitching at sergers, cutting organic cotton with large hand shears, and more.  Sure, there was noise, but this was the whirr of craftsmen, not giant machinery.  

The entire place is quieter than my house when my three sons are playing or arguing. It was after becoming comfortable with the lack of expected factory sounds and smells that I began to notice the subtle, underlying smell that IS there.

IMG_9456

Walking past giant rolls of super soft organic cotton, a type of earthy freshness sneaked up on me.  While not strong, cotton, like almost any agriculturally grown product, has its own smell.

More noticeable was the smell of organic wool, a healthy outdoorsy smell.  The smell of wool in bulk might surprise factory visitors born and raised in a city.  

It is simply not a city smell. Mingled with these smells is the scent of the pine wood used in the mattress framings to create an overall freshness of scent.  

 

Our organic Naturepedic life size mascot - he might not be real, but he doesn't make a mess, either

Our organic life size sheep mascot – he might not be real, but he doesn’t make a mess, either

I almost said “farm fresh”, but I grew up around farms, and they have a different type of fresh smell, particularly in regards to cows and pigs.  There was none of that fresh scent here. Walking through the Naturepedic factory, you know there is something special going on.  You can sense it.  You can see it.  You can hear it.

You can smell it.

 

Is Your Nursery Toxic? Check out this Experiment by Good Morning America and Greenguard Environmental Institute.

Monday, April 30th, 2012


non toxic nurseryA recent experiment conducted by Good Morning America and Greenguard Environmental Institute, a nursery was set up with indoor-pollution monitoring equipment, then furnished and decorated. Within a week, the equipment found 300 different chemicals in the room – some of which are known to cause allergies, hormonal disruption, and even cancer.

Some of the products were particularly volatile. According to the results: “the rocker contained seven times California’s recommended level of formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer, and the crib mattress gave off more than 100 different chemicals, including industrial solvents and alcohols. The paint used on the nursery’s walls contained chemical gases at five times the recommended limit.”

Can this be normal? Is that what every nursery is like? Did they go out of their way to find products that were suspect? No, they just furnished the room the way any parent would.

It’s hard enough for adult bodies to process that kind of pollution, but it’s particularly hard for babies!

How do you outfit a nursery so that it is safe for your baby? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are a few tips:

• Get wooden furniture, rather than plastic, and go for brands that use non-toxic materials in the manufacturing of their products. Check online – they’re not hard to find.

• Instead of carpeting or laminate floors, used natural products like wood or cork, and, as with the furniture, ensure they aren’t manufactured or applied to the floor with toxic chemicals. Several different companies offer flooring that doesn’t emit VOCs. Check Debra’s List for a list. Search ‘flooring.’

• Use low- or no-VOCs paints. Several name brands now offer these kinds of paints. They may be a little more expensive than others, but not much, and they are well worth it.

• Get a Naturepedic organic crib mattress. Our mattresses are GREENGUARD certified to the highest standard, and they are certified organic by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) – the only certification that guarantees a truly organic product. See more about this in our blog “Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic?

• Textiles – bedding, throw rugs, curtains – should be made with organic cotton, linen or silk. If you are going to use non-organic cotton or other natural materials, make sure you don’t get something that’s wrinkle-resistant, wash and wear, or no-iron. Wrinkle-free products are made that way with formaldehyde.

• Cleaning products and laundry detergents should also be natural and free of fragrance, phthalates or other chemicals. They’re available in health food stores but, for cleaning, vinegar, water and baking soda works on just about anything.

• To give the room a boost and help clean the air, try plants. See our blog “Cleaning Baby’s Nursery Air with House Plants”, for a list of the specific plants that are most beneficial.

Give your baby a good start in life by eliminating any chemicals they have to cope with as they try to develop into healthy children and adults.

Is Your Crib Mattress Really Organic? And How About Your Food?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012


Have you ever seen the word ‘organic’ on a product you bought only to find out later that it is not actually organic? I’ve had that happen plenty of times. The label says organic, I read the ingredients or materials list – if there is one – and see that it contains a certain amount of organic materials but, otherwise, is basically the same as any other product I could have bought for half the price.

Sometimes the label correctly reflects the ingredients and is not misleading; and at other times the manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the selling potential of organic products by making things look a little more organic than they actually are – this is known as ‘greenwashing.’

Figuring out whether or not a manufacturer is greenwashing can take quite a bit of research. But even with those manufacturers who are right up front about their products, we can still be confused. That’s because we don’t actually know the definitions and legalities of labeling terminology or the various certifications required by different types of products.

To make a very long story short, here are the basic labeling requirements for food and other agricultural products:

If something contains less than 70% organic ingredients, it cannot be labeled organic.

Products containing between 70% and 95% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients.”

If the ingredients are 95% to 99.99% organic, they can be labeled “USDA Organic”

If everything in a product is organic, the label can state “100% USDA Organic”

However, both the USDA Organic and 100% USDA Organic seals only apply to agricultural products in a relatively raw state. When cotton is harvested, cleaned and formed into cotton balls, it’s still considered an agricultural product. But to turn that cotton into fabric, various processes are used that are beyond the USDA certification limitations.

That’s where a different type of certification comes into play – Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

So, with a Naturepedic crib mattress, for example, the USDA organic certification would apply to the cotton interior, but not to the steel used for the springs or the food-grade polyethylene used for the waterproof covering, and so on.

Truth be told, both USDA and GOTS certification standards are full of a lot of little details we don’t really need to know – like whether or not it’s necessary to sew a product using organic cotton thread. Suffice it to say that if you’re talking about crib mattresses, the only certification that really says organic is GOTS.

Naturepedic is proud to display the GOTS seal. And, I must say, we are on a very, very short list of manufacturers who can say the same.

What’s ‘Greenwashing’ and How Can I Tell if Something is Really Green, Natural or Non-Toxic?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012


It’s time for New Year’s resolutions! The perfect time to get started on going green and natural and providing a healthy environment for you and your family – an environment free of toxic, or potentially toxic, chemicals. But embarking on such a journey can be confusing; you may have already experienced the let down of buying something that is labeled ‘green’, ‘natural’, ‘eco’, or ‘non-toxic’, only to find out that there’s very little difference between that product and its toxic competitors. That kind of marketing is now known as ‘greenwashing.’

‘Greenwashing’ is a relatively new term. It’s an adaptation of ‘whitewashing’, which is defined in Encarta as a “cover-up: a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”

The same dictionary defines ‘greenwashing’ as “bogus environmentalism: public relations’ initiatives by a business or organization, e.g. advertising or public consultation, that purport to show concern for the environmental impact of its activities.”

Examples of ‘greenwashing’ aren’t hard to find:

• Cosmetics that add a little aloe vera or Vitamin E and label their products ‘natural’, even though they have made no changes in the rest of their ingredients.

• Laundry detergents or cleaning products that add baking soda or enzymes to their products and display in big, bold letters on the box that they ‘clean with natural enzyme action’, but they fail to mention that they also contain phthalates, sodium laurel sulphate, and so on.

• With crib mattresses, and mattresses for adults, you might see something labeled as ‘eco-…’ or ‘soy-based’, giving you the idea that the foam they use is made from soybeans – what could be more natural? In fact, the soybean content is minimal, and the rest of the materials are the same as they used to be.

We couldn’t possibly put all the examples of ‘greenwashing’ in this blog, nor can we give you all the information on each chemical and its level of toxicity. But we can give you some information on where to find out this kind of information relatively quickly and easily. Here are some of our favorites resources:

Healthy Child Healthy World – A wealth of data, and a good search engine. Just type in the chemical you’re concerned about, or another question, and you’ll find answers.

Environmental Working Group – This site really keeps you up to date with what’s going on in the world of toxics and creating a safe home and environment. It also has a great menu system and search engine.

Cosmetics Database – This is a wonderful tool for information on the toxicity of the ingredients for cosmetics and personal care products – everything from baby shampoo to anti-aging serums. Lots of detail. You can use this database to find out about the healthiest choices in these kinds of products.

Home Safe Home and Toxic Free – Two excellent books by Debra Lynn Dadd. What chemicals to watch out for in what products, healthy alternatives, and more. Informative, complete, well-organized, fun and easy to read – you’ll want to read them cover to cover and keep them for easy reference.

As for baby crib mattresses and crib mattress bedding, check our website pages “What’s In” and “What’s Not In” for lists of the materials we use and don’t use, and why.

Of course, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of other sources of information, but with the few listed above, you should be able to find out just about everything you need to know. And they will help you cut through the greenwashing propaganda like a pro!

We’re looking forward to a happy, healthy, 2012 and wish the same for you and your family. Let’s make all our resolutions a reality!

Naturepedic Crib Mattresses and Accessories Certified To New GREENGUARD “Select” Program

Friday, December 9th, 2011


Worried about emissions of potentially toxic fumes into your nursery and other parts of your home? GREENGUARD is an independent organization that tests for emissions. They also offer several different certification programs to manufacturers whose products qualify.

Per GREENGUARD, common household products (which would include crib mattresses) release hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals into the air. Poor indoor air quality is linked to asthma, upper respiratory problems and other complications.

Naturepedic crib mattresses have been certified by GREENGUARD for the last five years. But there is now a new certification standard called “Select.”

In addition to the GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification Program, GREENGUARD’s previously highest standard, Select certification meets the latest scientific and marketing requirements. These include:

• Volatile organic compound (VOC) content limits
• Lower formaldehyde emissions requirements (driven by California Air Resources Board and California Department of Public Health’s 2012 CA 01350 requirements)
• Lead and phthalate content requirements (as defined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Information Act)
• Commercial furniture testing protocols (as defined by BIFMA)

According to GREENGUARD, “Participating in this elite program demonstrates market leadership in minimizing chemical exposures from products”.

We are proud to announce that Naturepedic is the first mattress manufacturer to achieve this new certification.

The Select certified products include all our crib mattress models, mattress pads for bassinetts, cradles, portable cribs, and so on, as well as all our bedding accessories.

As always, we have your best interests at heart and strive to give your baby a healthy start in life!

Updated Toxic Substances Control Act Back in Action

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


Lautenberg introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Millions of parents around the U.S. are becoming aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes and in the environment. They’ve taken steps to eliminate them: They buy organic crib mattresses, outfit their baby’s nursery with non-toxic furniture and décor, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, wear clothing made with natural fibers, use air purifiers, eat organic food, and so on. But we’re all still waiting for the federal government to step up to the plate and update the Toxic Substances Control Act to help give us the protection we need.

Although the Toxic Substances Control Act has been on the books since 1976, the way it’s written makes it virtually impossible for anything to be done when goods made with toxic chemicals enter the marketplace. In fact, about 80,000 new chemicals have been created and introduced to our daily lives since 1976 and only about 200 have been tested for safety and only a handful have been restricted.

Last fall, an updated Toxic Substances Control Act was introduced to congress by New Jersey’s Senator Frank Lautenberg. Check out Sen. Lautenberg’s video about the bill. It did not pass at the time, but has just been reintroduced.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence linking toxic chemicals to health problems. Study results have been clear enough to warrant 18 states passing their own laws. Also, hundreds of thousands of businesses now offer non-toxic alternatives. Almost every major grocery store chain now carries non-toxic cleaning supplies, for example, and some corporations, like Walmart, have even taken it as far as banning products with specific, very commonly used but dangerous chemicals from their shelves.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is just one group of supporters. It represents more than 70,000 businesses – Naturepedic is among them.

Our founder – also a grandfather, concerned citizen and environmental engineer – Barry A. Cik, was quoted by the ASBC in a recent news release:

“I saw Lake Erie die and then observed how the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 helped bring it back to life,” he said. “Our company was created to help stop the rampant misuse of chemicals. Naturepedic is determined to give babies and their families an alternative free of questionable chemicals. There are very few, if any, responsibilities that we have that are more important than providing a safe environment for our children. Naturepedic is asking Congress and the American public to level the playing field for businesses and make sure that all babies and children are provided with safe and healthy products free of questionable chemicals by passing this needed legislation.”

With 18 states having their own laws in place – although they don’t cover all the bases by a long shot – and hundreds of thousands of companies offering non-toxic goods, you can have a close to toxic-free household with little effort. But the new Toxic Substances Control Act will give us more choices and make it easier to get what we need to help ensure the health of our children, ourselves, and our environment.

To summarize the new law, called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, we would see the following changes:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain.

Any product containing chemicals and being introduced to the marketplace, or continuing to be available, would be required to first supply basic health and safety information.

Scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals would be upgraded to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences.

Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.

If you would like to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, call your congressman and let him know how you feel.

New Study Finds Link Between SIDS and Alcohol Consumption

Thursday, December 30th, 2010


One more way to keep your baby safe.

Every parent is concerned about SIDS. Although there are many theories about it, and some feel they’ve narrowed down possible causes, it is still the # 1 cause of death in children between the ages of one month and one year. New research has now linked SIDS to parents or caregivers drinking alcohol. It may not be the sole cause of SIDS, but it might enable you to make changes that could keep your baby safe.


The study, conducted by University of California sociologist, David Phillips, reviewed 129,090 SIDS cases that occurred between 1973 to 2006.

The findings showed that SIDS deaths increased at times also known for increased alcohol consumption. For example, SIDS deaths spiked by 33% on New Year’s Day. Researchers also discovered that SIDS deaths were higher on weekends and on the fourth of July.

This lines up with other statistics on SIDS: Babies of mothers who drink are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS.

One doctor commenting on the study said, “”Although the study alerts us to considering the increase in SIDS at this time of the year (meaning New Year’s), it concerns me because it does not have evidence to suggest a cause or action to prevent this increase.”

Actually, the ‘action to prevent this increase’ is pretty clear. Don’t drink alcohol AND take care of babies. Pretty simple.

Many other factors are suspected of contributing to SIDS:

Babies suffocating in extra quilts, blankets, pillows, very soft mattresses, or by sleeping on their stomach. Recommendations are to put the baby to sleep in his or her back with no extra or heavy blankets, toys, etc., and ensure they can’t roll over.;

Babies overheating if they’re over-dressed or in a room where the temperature is too high. We have a tendency to bundle babies a little too much and have their bedrooms very warm. Most doctors recommend that if you are too hot or too cold in a room, your baby probably is, too. Don’t use extra blankets or clothing; if the temperature’s good for you (unless you are particularly sensitive), then it’s probably fine for baby;

Some experts think breathing fumes coming from the chemicals in baby crib mattresses. Naturepedic crib mattresses have been independently tested to ensure the air around them is safe for baby.;

And others are still being researched.

If parents took care of all of the known or suspected risk factors, would SIDS be over? No one really knows. But we do know that we can lower our baby’s chances of SIDS by addressing the things in the above list. And now, thanks to this new study, we know that drinking alcohol and caring for babies do not mix. Abstinence may be the best policy for parents and caregivers of young children.

Still Considering A Polyurethane Foam Crib Mattress? Here’s Dr. Greene’s Advice.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010


baby sleeping on chemicals?Unless we bury our head in research papers, it’s sometimes difficult to find the information we need on which chemicals are safe for our babies and which aren’t. So, we take the advice of experts. One such expert is Dr. Greene, a pediatrician who has had an online presence since 1995. His mission: “To improve children’s health by informing and inspiring those who care for them. By providing information, wisdom, and perspective, we strive to prepare parents to become knowledgeable partners who can work with their children’s physicians in a new and rich way.”

On June 1, 2010, Dr. Greene appeared on the ABC News Now Program, Parenting with Ann Pleshette Murphy. Here is Dr. Greene’s explanation of why polyurethane foam is not the best choice for a crib mattress or, for that matter, anyone’s mattress.

“Kids spend 93% of their childhood indoors these days, and indoor air is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air on average in terms of toxins. If I were to pick one green purchase to make, one big organic purchase to make, I would pick a mattress for your baby – because the conventional mattresses are often made with polyurethane foam, which is like frozen petroleum, solid petroleum. And you can smell the gasoline fumes right above it. Because of that they have to put all the chemical flame retardants on it otherwise it would be explosive. And there’s a little gas cloud of that on top. Then the whole thing is wrapped in vinyl with PVC and phthalates in there. So for about six inches or so above the mattresses there’s this cloud of chemicals. And babies are small. They’re right there 12 hours out of the day often. Naturepedic makes organic and all natural mattresses without all the chemicals that are there. It’s smart for all of us. None of these are things people should panic about but it’s just making smart choices. It tilts the odds in favor of health.”

That’s pretty clear.

In this TV interview, Dr. Greene also gives helpful information on other children’s products that contain toxic chemicals and which brands you can use to replace them.

Check it out!

Does Non-Organic Cotton Contain Pesticide Residues?

Monday, December 13th, 2010


pesticide residueMany parents have questions about cotton. Is regular cotton okay, or should you use organic? The major difference is pesticides – organic cotton is grown without pesticides; regular cotton is grown with them. Are residues from those pesticides still in the cotton clothing, sheets and blankets you’re using for your baby?

This is an important question if you’re concerned about your child’s health. Pesticides have been linked to several diseases and conditions, including asthma, autism, learning disabilities, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. In fact, the President’s Cancer Panel recommends that we eat organic food in order to avoid pesticide poisoning. Here’s a quote from the latest President’s Cancer Panel Report.

“Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers…Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications.”

But food is not our only exposure to pesticides. As with other chemicals, residue can also become airborne. And when they do, they are in the air our babies breathe.

More pesticides are used on cotton crops than any other crop in the world – a full 25% of all pesticides used are used on cotton crops.

The good news is that by the time those cotton crops become fabric, the pesticides are gone. However, according to Debra Lynn Dadd, Queen of Green and author of Home Safe Home, there are other problems with cotton, including the cotton batting sometimes used in crib mattresses:

“Cotton batting does contain pesticide residues, if it is not organic, as it is not as processed as cotton fabric. So it is imperative to buy organic cotton batting, as in a mattress or pillow.”

Finishes and dyes on some cotton fabrics can also be a problem:

“The problem with cotton fabric is the finishes, such as a permanent press finish, which releases formaldehyde. Most fabrics of any kind have a “sizing” applied, which washes out in the first wash. Five washes is plenty to remove sizing, but no amount of washing removes permanent press. Dyes are also not a concern if they are “colorfast,” that is, they don’t bleed when you wash them.”

According to Ms. Dadd, there are also environmental reasons to use organic cotton:

“The reason to buy organic cotton is that conventionally-grown cotton uses a huge amount of the most toxic chemicals, which get into our air and water and soil, and indirectly into our bodies.”

At Naturepedic, we use only organic cotton in our crib mattresses. So you know your baby is safe from pesticide residues and the residues of other chemicals that may be used on the crops or in processing.

As for your baby’s jammies, sheets, blankets and other goodies, regular cotton is probably fine. But do find out about the dyes used and treatments or finishes such as permanent press. If it looks like the chemicals used there might not be safe, go with organic.