Additional Information on Latex and Latex Mattresses
Botanically Natural Latex foam rubber mattress cores are the most durable mattress support system available. They are completely renewable, sustainable, nontoxic, hypoallergenic, and have better sleep characteristics such as support, temperature regulation, and pressure point relief.
Botanically Natural latex comes from the milk of the rubber tree. Rubber trees grow best in regions that are within 10 degrees of the equator. Most of todays natural latex production comes out of southeast Asia from some of the best managed forest systems in the world. The milk from the rubber tree is turned into finished materials with one of two processes. At Bedrooms & More we select cores made with the Dunlop process, which has been around for 80 years, for all of our natural latex mattresses. The dunlop process is very eco-friendly and produces cores that may last 20 years or longer if they are properly maintained. This is in sharp contrast to the body impression issues that you find in mattresses with a high content of polyurethane foam, memory foam, or synthetic latex made with the Talalay process.
Synthetic latex is an attempt to recreate the benefits of natural foam by combining 4 laboratory chemicals. This is a lower cost alternative to natural latex but is not, however, as durable as natural latex. It develops impressions, much like polyurethane foam, and is not produced from a renewable source. On the plus side, synthetic latex doesn’t off gas harmful odors and is also nontoxic.
Another type of latex combines both synthetic and natural latex and is, aptly, called blended latex. Blended latex is less expensive than natural, but as you would expect, more expensive than synthetic rubber. It also happens to be less durable than all natural, but again more durable than all synthetic latex. Blended latex comes is many different ratios ranging from 3% synthetic and 97% natural to almost all 100% synthetic. It is our feeling that any latex core with more than 70% synthetic latex content should be considered to be in a category closer to polyurethane foam with regards to deterioration and body impressions than it is to the all natural latex category.
It is hard to find a mattress these days with that does not include materials that off gas. Fortunately, mattresses with all latex rubber core are a great option, and really the only option, if you are looking for a mattress of this type. However, you need to be careful because not all mattresses that are referred to as latex mattresses include only latex. Mattresses that use latex foam will often be combined with polyurethane foam layers, or even memory foam layers. For example, what is commonly referred to as an 8” latex mattress may not necessarily be 8” of all latex. An “8” thick latex mattress” may have only 2” of latex laminated to a 6” polyurethane foam core. Obviously this practice is highly disingenuous, but nonetheless is the road manufacturers and retailers have chosen to go down. This means that when you are shopping, it is a good idea to verify the components of a mattress that you are considering. It is perfectly permissible to ask to see the manufacturer's spec sheet. After all, it is your money that be spent and you have a right to make sure that you will get what you expect to get.