Updated March 12, 2021Have you ever seen the terms “organic latex” or “certified organic” and wondered who decides what constitutes organic and how they do it? Organic certifications are a lot more than just a guarantee the latex products you’re buying are made of natural fibers. They’re a guarantee those products were raised, processed, and manufactured to the healthiest and safest standards possible.In the world of sleep products, one of the most widely regarded standards for organic latex is the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). Below, we’ll talk a little about what GOLS is, what it takes to get GOLS certified, and what GOLS can do for you.GOLS—The Gold Standard of LatexGOLS is a set of stringent requirements and quality controls for products made of natural latex. These controls set minimum criteria for how much organic material can be in a product labeled organic. They also regulate how many toxic chemicals, polymer fillers, and harmful emissions can be present in latex. Their limits on these substances are usually much lower than a given country’s legal limits.Everything from rubber tree farms to latex processing plants to retailers can be certified under the GOLS regulations. GOLS even utilizes transaction receipts to keep a chain of custody on latex products, tracking them through the supply chain all the way from the rubber plantation to the store.What It Takes to Get GOLS CertifiedThe first step in the GOLS Certification process is applying to have your products tested. Once the application is filled out, the certifying body determines the scope and testing activities appropriate for whatever item is being certified—whether it’s the raw materials, a component, or the finished product.Assessments can vary, but they’ll usually include purity tests, quality tests, and tests for a range of hazardous chemicals to ensure they’re at levels that won’t impact human health. If the organization passes the test, they’ll receive their certification. If they fail, the certifying body may issue guidance to help the manufacturer or grower get their products up to snuff.A few examples of criteria for the GOLS certification include:Environmental guidelines for pollution and impact minimization, like:Processing units must track their levels of energy consumption and wasteUsed water must be treated rather than dumpedPVC packaging cannot be usedSocial guidelines to protect farm and factory workers from exploitation, including:No child labor, regardless of local lawsNo labor coercion (i.e. slavery)Living wages and reasonable working hoursAcceptable working conditionsManufacturing guidelines to protect consumers from unsafe or unethical practices, such as:Banning synthetic sizing agents, heavy metals, GMOs, etc.Prohibiting auxiliary accessories from containing harmful substancesRequiring chlorine-free bleachWho Offers the GOLS CertificationControl Union (CU) Certifications is the certifying body that pioneered the Global Organic Latex Standard and offers certificates of compliance. CU is a USDA-recognized third-party assessor whose minimum standards for certification often go above and beyond the USDA National Organic Program.While CU offers their certification for many products made of latex, organic mattress manufacturers in the sleep industry are among the most common applicants. Many mattress companies advertising products as organic want to prove they’ve met the biodegradability, toxicity, and processing standards consumers have come to desire from their mattresses. And the GOLS label is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to do that.FAQsHow does a GOLS certified mattress benefit me?If you’re in the market solely for an organic latex mattress, GOLS is one of the best ways to ensure you get exactly what you’re paying for. When a mattress has the GOLS logo on it, they’ve demonstrated they’ve followed all the procedures to create a clean, safe latex product—giving you peace of mind you’re sleeping on organic latex and not a bunch of other stuff that just has a “natural latex” label on it.Is it safe to buy a mattress that isn’t GOLS certified?Sure. GOLS only deals in latex, so if you buy a mattress made of anything else, it cannot be GOLS certified to begin with. It’s also possible to get quality latex regulated under different certification standards. GOTS, or the Global Organic Textile Standard, is another great label to look for if you’re buying a mattress made of a number of organic materials.Other good labels to look for are OEKO-TEX®, CertiPUR-US®, and GreenGuard/GreenGuard Gold.How do I know if the final product is GOLS certified or if only a single component is?To make sure you’re getting a GOLS Certified Organic Latex Mattress (and not a mattress with just a couple of GOLS Certified components), ask to see a copy of the certification for whatever mattress you’re considering. Make sure the certification is granted to the manufacturer of the mattress and not to the rubber plantation the mattress sourced its latex from or one of the factories where they bought a component.Also, check the label. A manufacturer can only label their product “Certified Organic” if it’s made of more than 95 percent organic materials. If it’s not, they can only say something like “made with X amount of organic fibers.”Does a GOLS certification make a mattress cost more?Since eco-friendly, sustainable manufacturing processes are more expensive, and the GOLS certification itself can also cost a lot, it stands to reason that expense will get passed on to the consumer. So a GOLS-certified bed typically isn’t the best choice for shoppers looking for a budget mattress.However, if you’re concerned about toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process or the final product—or you just really want to sleep on an organic mattress—the added expense of a GOLS certified mattress will probably be worth it to you.What are Dunlop and Talalay? Are they both organic?Organic latex has to do with how the rubber trees are grown and how the raw material is processed. Plain natural latex is subjected to much less stringent rules, and thus can’t be labeled organic. Latex with an organic label has to be grown with few to no synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and it must be processed with as few chemical additives and synthetic agents as possible.Dunlop latex and Talalay latex are the two basic types of latex that go in mattresses, and they both are organic, but have different feels—Dunlop is firmer and denser while Talalay is softer and squishier.Bottom LineA GOLS certification is a great way for consumers to know exactly what they’re getting in their latex foam mattress. With a GOLS certification, you can rest assured your natural latex mattress has met strict health, environmental, and social guidelines that not only make it a safer sleeping surface, but a more ethical product.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. 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