Plant-Based or Soy Mattresses are not Healthy

Genetically Modified Soybeans

Today, we're delving into the world of plant-based or eco foam mattresses to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your sleep. While these mattresses are often marketed as a healthier and more sustainable option, let's dig deeper to understand whether they live up to the claims.

So what are these "soy mattresses" and "soy pillows" all about?

Only 5-20% of the mattress is actually made up of plant-based ingredients like soy. That means over 80% is still petroleum-based chemicals. Clearly not plant-based.

This would be fine if companies marketed them as eco-friendly mattresses that contain X% of soy. However, companies mislead you, calling them eco memory foam mattresses or plant-based organic mattresses and pretend they're healthy, safe and natural.

Jack Dell'Accio, Essentia CEO & Founder, Explains What Eco Foams Truly Are


The "Eco" Misconception

The first thing to recognize is that not all "eco" or "plant-based" mattresses are created equal. Many manufacturers tout the eco-friendliness of their products, but the reality can be quite different. It's crucial to understand that a mattress labeled as such might still contain a significant percentage of petroleum-based chemicals.

The Greenwashing Challenge

The term "greenwashing" comes into play when companies use misleading marketing tactics to present their products as more eco-friendly or healthier than they truly are. This practice is especially rampant in the mattress industry. To avoid falling victim to greenwashing, it's essential to scrutinize the materials used and the manufacturing processes involved.

The Soy Myth

Soy-based foams in mattresses often claim to offer health benefits. However, the truth is that the benefits of soy in mattresses are relatively minimal. Furthermore, some soy-based ingredients come from genetically modified sources, raising concerns about both health and environmental impacts.

The Environmental Implications

One of the reasons consumers opt for plant-based or eco mattresses is their perceived lower environmental impact. However, the reality might surprise you. Some plantations, such as those for soy in countries like Brazil and Argentina, contribute to deforestation, leading to the loss of vital habitats for various plant and animal species.

Hidden Chemical Odors 

Have you ever wondered why some eco memory foam mattresses emit strong chemical odors? This phenomenon occurs due to the use of harsh chemicals in the production of synthetic foams. In some cases, manufacturers add green tea extract or industrial perfumes to mask these odors, but the underlying issue remains.

Bamboo Fabric Misconceptions 

Eco memory foam mattresses are often wrapped in bamboo fabric. The percentage of bamboo is anywhere from 20-60% bamboo.

You guessed it. Bamboo fabrics are far from eco-friendly. It takes so much processing the final product is considered man-made, so they're not biodegradable.

According to the OTA, Organic Trade Association, "bamboo may be a more ecologically sensitive source of feedstock for rayon production, the rayon itself is not distinguishable from rayon produced from any other feedstock, and uses a lot of toxic chemicals in the process. So while the bamboo itself may be considered environmentally friendly, the production of rayon is not, and the public should not be misled into thinking that the bamboo-derived fiber can be considered "natural" - it is clearly synthetic. There are a lot of misconceptions about the "natural" label too, whether it is related to food or textile products." 

What About CertiPur Foam Mattresses?

You may have heard of CertiPUR foam, which emerged as a response to increasing awareness among smart consumer about the drawbacks of traditional polyurethane foam (polyfoam).

CertiPUR foam is marketed as a certified product designed to be more environmentally friendly and beneficial for sleepers' health. As a result, it's often touted by some mattress brands as a certification that somehow makes the mattress more "eco-friendly", or somehow less toxic to the sleeper. 

In reality, CertiPUR foam is an initiative driven by polyfoam manufacturers who have a vested interest in presenting a more eco-conscious image for their product. While it's true that some foam products labeled as CertiPUR may contain fewer harmful chemicals than others, it's essential to understand that no polyfoam is entirely safe or non-toxic, nor can it be considered genuinely eco-friendly.

While this "certification" does set standard of zero to low for some of the most harmful and talked about chemicals in mattresses such as PBDEs, formaldehyde, ozone depleting substance, mercury, lead, and heavy metals, the testing standards are very low only taking into account the emission for 72 hours. This is versus more rigorous Control Union certifications that test for 7 days or longer.  

What does this mean? While levels may be different depending on the foam, you will still firn harmful chemicals in a CertiPur certified foam such as: 

  • Syrene
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde

Clearly this is not a standard for a truly healthy mattress.

What is a Truly Healthy Foam? 

As you consider your options for a healthier and eco-conscious sleep, it's essential to look beyond marketing claims and dig deeper into the materials, processes, and environmental implications of the mattresses you're considering. Not all plant-based or eco foam mattresses are created equal, and understanding the nuances can help you make a more informed choice.

Here at Essentia, we are proud to produce our patented Beyond Latex slow response organic foam. This foam has all of the good characteristics of a pressure relieving foam, without any of the gunk! Our patented foam is made entirely of GOLS certified organic hevea milk and combined with other organic essential oils and plant extracts. This means you can have a truly organic, healthy mattress which still also experiencing the pressure relieving benefits of foam. 

Remember, a little extra research can go a long way in ensuring your sleep environment truly aligns with your values and health priorities.