Organic Mattresses Are Healthier and Safer: An interview with Barry Cik, founder of Naturepedic Organic Mattresses
Jul 02, 2015 07:25PM
By Gabe Canales
What is an organic mattress and why should consumers make a switch?
An organic mattress eliminates questionable materials and chemicals that are commonly used in mattresses, and instead uses only materials approved by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The term “organic” is unregulated for products like mattresses, and many mattress products claiming to be organic may not really be what you think, so it is critical to get an organic mattress that is certified by GOTS. Every material in a GOTS-certified organic mattress will either be made with USDA-certified organic raw materials (for example, organic cotton) or will be a non-toxic material to the GOTS standards. So, the “organic” standard is actually a combination of organic and non-toxic criteria
Why did you start Naturepedic Organic Mattresses?
About 12 years ago, I went to a baby store to get a crib mattress for our first grandchild. The crib mattressewere made with flame retardants, phthalates, pesticides, etc. Being a board-certified environmental engineer, I recognized that infants should not be sleeping on these chemicals for 12 to 16 hours a day. The store salesperson assured me that this is how quality crib mattresses are made. My moment of truth came when the salesperson said, “C’mon, if it wasn’t safe, the government wouldn’t allow it to be sold.” I refused to buy any of it, and went home and told my wife that we would be better off going to our Amish friends and using straw for the baby’s mattress. My grandfather, sleeping on straw, had a healthier product than any of this. So one thing led to another, and Naturepedic Organic Mattresses was born.
Is there an agency or nonprofit organization consumers can consult for objective measures and ranking comfort and safety of mattresses?
An organic mattress can be far more comfortable than a traditional mattress. At Naturepedic, for example, we use incredibly comfortable organic cotton batting grown in Lubbock, Texas. As well, we use highly comfortable organic latex, organic wool, encased coils, etc. There is no need to choose between comfort and healthier materials. You can have the best of both.
What chemicals are in conventional memory foam mattresses, and are those chemicals harmful?
Memory foam is made with toulene di-socyantes. According to the National Institutes of Health “Toluene di-socyanates are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.” As well, there are numerous other questionable chemicals and additives that are also used in conventional and memory foam mattresses. For example, most mattresses contain flame retardant chemicals. Other mattresses can contain pesticides, formaldehyde, phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals, etc.
As a recognized expert in the field, what are your credentials?
In addition to being a board-certified environmental engineer, I am also certified by the Institute of Professional Environmental Practice, a certified hazardous materials manager, an author of a textbook on Environmental Assessments for Government Institutes and a Certified Diplomate Forensic Engineer.
Jeff Kaplan, Co-founder of New Living, says, “Unlike many companies marketing healthier options, Barry has made the decision to not just sell an organic mattress, but to use Naturepedic as a vehicle to improve the overall health and well-being of American families. Barry is a leader because he understands that it takes a coordinated approach to reform the chemical industry and spur innovative, clean production methods.”
Why was it important to you to participate in The Beautiful Faces of Hope campaign?
We are advocates for chemical reform, particularly regarding chemicals that impact our most vulnerable members, which include children. Our belief is to work to make a positive impact. The Beautiful Faces of Hope campaign is a reminder that hope is essential for change even in the most challenging situations. It’s all worth it.
Naturepedic was recently selected as the 2015 recipient of Practice Greenhealth’s Champion for Change award for its successes in sustainability. Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading health care community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices and knowledge This award specifically honors businesses that have not only taken steps to improve their internal green practices, but that help their customers and employees expand their sustainable practices, as well.
For more information, visit Naturepedic.com/DFW.