last updated: Mar 8, 2017
Plant-Based or Soy Mattresses are not Healthy
The latest scam the mattress industry is fishing with is eco mattresses or plant-based foam mattresses.
So what are these "soy mattresses" and "soy pillows" all about? Let the truth be known!
Only 5-20% of the mattress is actually made up of plant-based ingredients like soy. That means over 80% is still petroleum based chemicals. Clearly not plant-based.
This would be fine if companies marketed them as eco-friendly mattresses which contain X% of soy. However, companies mislead you, calling them eco memory foam mattresses or plant-based organic mattresses and pretend they're healthy, safe and natural.
I guess saying it's 20% healthier for you wouldn't be as effective.
Misleading the public into thinking products are green, natural or eco-friendly is called greenwashing. There is no monitoring of these claims.
No Benefits to Soy in Mattresses
There is very little benefit to putting soy in a mattress.
In fact, the company behind soy-based ingredients called BiOH® polyols, is Cargill.
Cargill is also the world's largest soybean processor and trader. Their soy-based ingredients are also genetically engineered.
Genetically modified foods are still banned in 19 Europen countries and more than 40 countries now require GMO labeling. USA and Canada are not among them.
3,800 barrels of oil are saved when 100,000 mattresses are manufactured with soy-based foam. You'd expect considerable savings for the consumer right? Nope. Soy-based memory foam mattresses or bio-foam mattresses are actually more expensive than regular memory foam even though they cost less to produce. Companies overcharge since they can promote the “eco-friendly” characteristics.
Replacing a portion of the chemicals in foam makes it 5-20% healthier. Is 5-20% good enough?
Are Soy Memory Foam Mattresses Environmentally Friendly?
No. The expansion of soy plantations in countries such as Brazil and Argentina means that rainforests are being completely slashed and burned, eliminating critical habitats for many plants and animal species.
Every day 86,400 football fields of rainforest are cut down to mainly make room for livestock, soy, palm, and corn.
Genetically modified soy accounts for 94% of all soy grown in the United States as of 2012.
What’s that Chemical Smell from my Eco Foam Mattress?
People who’ve purchased eco memory foam mattresses are experiencing strong chemicals odors, smells or off-gassing.
Soy does not produce this odor, the odor derives from the harsh chemicals used to make these synthetic foams. Green tea extract or industrial perfumes are often added as an attempt to mask the odor.
Are Bamboo Mattress Fabrics Eco-friendly?
Eco memory foam mattresses are often wrapped in bamboo fabric. The percentage of bamboo is anywhere from 20-60% bamboo.
You guessed it. Bamboo fabrics are far from eco-friendly. It takes so much processing the final product is considered man-made, so they're not biodegradable.
According to the OTA, Organic Trade Association, "bamboo may be a more ecologically sensitive source of feedstock for rayon production, the rayon itself is not distinguishable from rayon produced from any other feedstock, and uses a lot of toxic chemicals in the process. So while the bamboo itself may be considered environmentally friendly, the production of rayon is not, and the public should not be misled into thinking that the bamboo-derived fiber can be considered "natural" - it is clearly synthetic. There are a lot of misconceptions about the "natural" label too, whether it is related to food or textile products."
Where to Buy Eco Memory Foam Mattresses?
Soy memory foam mattresses and soy pillows have been seen on QVC in the U.S. and The Shopping Channel in Canada. Many brands sell eco memory foam mattresses.
Chances are your local store probably has a bio memory foam brand. It may also be marketed under plant-based mattress, coconut foam, biofoam, eco foam mattress or eco-friendly memory foam mattress.
The foam industry is very small. There are only a handful of companies in the USA making polyurethane foams and memory foam. Almost all mattress companies buy from one of these manufacturers or import foam from Europe or China. The rest is marketing.
If you've made it this far, well done. You’re now a little more equipped when the mattress salesperson tell you “it’s plant-based memory foam”.
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