Saturday, November 1, 2008

About Latex

Almost every day at least one customer will ask us about the relative merits of latex in mattresses, so we’ve set out this statement of our understanding about it.
Latex has become very fashionable and it was tempting to stock it when we first got into bedding. After all, latex mattresses do last a long time and are dust mite resistant.
However those who sell latex mattresses will not volunteer information about the very shortcomings which stopped us from trading the product in the first place.
Here are some of them:

  • It’s not a natural fibre. Latex is marketed as “natural” but in reality it’s a highly processed, man-made substance. It’s natural when it comes out of the rubber tree but that’s about the end of the matter. It has to be whipped into foam at high temperatures (vulcanized) and with the help of some setting agents, then triple filtered to try to get the smell out. It’s a bit like saying that polyurethane foam is natural because it comes from oil which comes out of the ground.
  • Despite the filtering process, it smells, and people are forever telling us they don’t like it and can’t get used to it. Numerous customers have had to get rid of their latex mattress because of that.
  • It doesn’t breathe. The latex marketers will go to great lengths to explain how they put holes in it to allow (some) ventilation; however this is no comparison to the way wool and even cotton naturally breathe.
  • Latex overheats many people and even bedding stores will tell you that latex mattresses “sleep warm”. People who tend to perspire (mostly males) will very likely have problems.
  • Latex mattresses usually have some sort of pillow top, usually wool, partly for comfort and partly for ventilation. However what the bedding industry calls wool is almost invariably a wool/Dacron blend; more man-made substances in a “natural” product.
  • If you are considering buying a latex mattress, at least have it tested by a Kinesiologist or similarly qualified person to see if it is suitable for you. From all of the experiences we have with this, the human body does not like being near latex. It is a man-made, not natural substance. If your body doesn’t like it, that means it is being subtly irritated, even though the mattress may be well constructed.
  • We know from our countless chemically-sensitive customers that latex is invariably out of the question for them. These people are like the mine canaries, indicating what is safe for the body and what isn’t, through their super-sensitive reactions. If they can’t use it then it’s not really pure.
  • Latex is an imported substance.

Not everyone has a bad experience with latex and perhaps at Blessed Earth we hear mostly from people who have had one, as they look for a purer alternative.
However the above case needs to be put for your own careful consideration.

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