To understand if Latex is safe to sleep on it is probably useful, firstly to define what Latex is. Latex is quite simply rubber. In order to make rubber, a milky white substance (latex) is harvested from a tree (Hevea brasiliensis), processed and then vulcanised. The processed latex can then be turned into a variety of products as diverse as chewing gum, tyres, shoe souls or more pertinently in our case, a mattress.
Not all Latex is created equal
Broadly speaking there are two types of latex - natural and synthetic (a more in-depth explanation can be found here). Synthetic latex (a manmade petroleum-based material) is often used as a core component in the production of cheaper memory foam mattresses. Natural latex is blended with water and natural agents which is then used in the production of chemical-free mattresses, like Snoozel Green’s. So when answering the question, is Latex safe to sleep on, I guess we need to think first of all what feels safer to sleep on, something natural or a product engineered from chemical compounds?
Synthetic latex and its potential risks
There are two core components in synthetic latex; Butadiene and Styrene. The US Environmental Protection Agency has listed various side effects caused by exposure to Styrene which include headache, fatigue, weakness and depression and, in large quantities, some really nasty side effects like an increased risk of lymphoma or leukaemia. To top that Butadiene is a known allergen — scary stuff. When these chemicals are mixed with other plastic-based compounds, over time, synthetic latex mattresses ‘off gas’ harmful emissions which can be damaging to your health.
Benefits of natural latex
Being a 100% natural product, you won’t be surprised to learn that some of the scary stuff associated with synthetic latex just isn’t an issue with the natural alternative. In fact, the opposite is true. Natural latex, being derived from plants, will not trigger allergies by dint of the open-celled way it is processed. Natural latex is also anti-microbial and, because of the botanical makeup of the material, dust mites and bacteria simply don’t thrive in this organic setting. You won’t find a natural latex mattress ‘off gassing’ either; the only thing you may detect is a faint vanilla odour which is completely non-harmful and totally natural.
So the answer to the question of whether latex is safe to sleep on is: it depends. Our advice? If you come across a mattress that claims to be made from natural latex, make sure it is 100% natural. When you find a 100% natural latex mattress like Snoozel Green’s — you can sleep easy knowing that you (and the planet) are safe.
Why not explore our range of organic and natural mattresses, toppers and pillows here.