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Question from NS

I was just about to buy a latex mattress, and found out that during the process of making latex they use zinc oxide and sulfur. They also use ammonia, but said they use a de-ammoniation afterwards. He said that it might not get all of the ammonia out though.

I’m very wary now to purchase a latex mattress. They are very expensive, and for what I have to pay for one, I don’t want any chemicals.

I have a couple of questions: 1. Is iron oxide and sulfur bad? 2. Which mattress do you think would be less toxic: a Savvy Rest latex mattress(using talalay & dunlop), or an organic cotton/wool innerspring Royal Pedic mattress? I know innerspring mattresses aren’t optimal because of EMFs, but now I’m really concerned about the stuff added to latex.

I would love your input on this. Thanks for any information.

Debra’s Answer

I’m not concerned about EMFs in innerspring mattreses see EMFs and Innerspring Mattresses: A Correction.

Iron oxide and sulfur are both natural elements.

Iron oxide is not toxic, but it is what is known as a “nuisance dust” and so can cause lung irritation if present in high amounts. I don’t think a latex mattress would give off much, if any, iron oxide.

Sulfur is not toxic in small amount or in it’s natural state. Again, the breathing of sulfur dust is a hazard more than toxicity (damage to cells). When burned, sulfur turns into sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide, which are very toxic gasses.

I don’t know how much of either of these substances may be left in latex by the time it goes through processing.

I personally won’t sleep on a latex mattress or pillow because I can’t tolerate the latex itself. But I recommend them as a natural alternative to polyurethane foam, if others want to use them. It is also very common for people to develop allergies to latex from repeated exposure, as in wearing rubber gloves.

By contrast, an organic cotton mattress has fewer chemicals but an innerspring mattress has EMF problems with the metal coils.


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