What exactly does Certified Organic mean?

October 11, 2016

 Control Union Certified logo

Your consumer vote is a powerful thing. Bit by bit, it can push the marketplace towards a more ethically sound place. Giving environmentally friendly choices is what we've built our brand around here at MyOrganicSleepOf course, we offer a selection of products labeled both "Organic" and "Natural."

An organic certification has implications not only in the final product, but in the production process.

Why Organic Matters

The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is one of many designations from Control Union Certifications, a global entity of inspectors in the agricultural industry formed to ensure sustainable production. Latex that meets the requirements to be labeled "organic" are associated with the esteemed GOLS logo. Organic cotton is given the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) label. To keep certifications, farms and manufacturers are audited every year.

GOLS and GOTS logos 

Criteria

When latex goes from liquid to solid in production, foaming agents are added to the substance for it to properly "bake." Organic Latex labeled 100% Natural is required to contain an actuality of at least 94% rubber, with only organic fills and dyes.

It must contain:

  • No synthetic blenders such as sand, ash or petroleum byproducts.  
  • No GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) or GM seeds
  • No toxic persistent pesticides
  • No toxic heavy metals, flame retardants, or similar toxins
  • No antibiotics
  • No artificial growth hormones

Organic Cotton must contain:

  • at least 95% organic fibers to be labeled "Certified Organic"
  • at least 70% organic fibers to be labeled "Made with Organic"
  • Dyes that are biodegradable and toxicity-free
  • No GMOs, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones
  • No chlorine bleaching (bleaches must be oxygen-based)
  • No toxic heavy metals, flame retardants, or similar toxins 
  • No toxic persistent pesticides

    Health Benefits

    Health risks are significantly lowered due to no off-gassing.

    • The immune system is not compromised by toxic chemicals.
    • There is a decreased risk of cancer, reproductive toxicity, and immunotoxicity.
    • It creates a better environment for babies and the unborn, reducing risk of health and learning disorders such as Autism and Asperger syndrome.
    • Organic materials are hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and resistant to mildew and mud.

    Workers' Rights

    One of the central reasons organic products are more costly is the time and labor that goes into it. The reduction of toxic pesticides makes conditions safer for workers, as they are no longer exposed to the associated health risks. Buying organic contributes to the ethical treatment of workers in third world countries.

    Powerful certifications like the GOTS or the GOLS include these requirements in regard to fair trade practices:

    • Farms and factories must use environmentally safe practices
    • Access to proper health care
    • Safe and hygienic working conditions
    • Living wage that meets workers' economic needs
    • Fair compensation regardless of quantity of crop output that year
    • Right to organize and collectively bargain
    • No child labor, excessive work hours, or discrimination
    • No discrimination, harsh or inhumane treatment
    Environment

    Organic materials must grow in an environment with a low carbon footprint, and where harvesting, processing, and manufacturing is done without harmful chemicals. There must also be proper wastewater treatment.

    In order for farmers to successfully switch over to an organic procedure, they must choose clean seeds and trees; and soil must be chemically free for three crop seasons to be considered for the 100% organic certification.

    Our Definition of Natural and Organic

    It's important to note that the difference in between traditional and organic cotton is quite large, as explored in our blog post Why Go for Organic Cotton? The difference between natural and organic latex, not so much.

    As explained in our post on Natural Latex over Memory Foam, natural latex is still a top choice for socially conscious buyers. An organic certification requires a rigorous, intensive auditing where every step and component of the production process is traceable. Not all producers of natural latex can afford the certification, nor pull off every process necessary to meet the requirements. That being said, many natural products essentially meet organic standards without having been certified yet.    

    Beware of other companies that are quick to throw around the term "natural" in products that are only partially or semantically natural. Here at MyOrganicSleep, all of our "natural" products are still eco-conscious and made with sustainable production.




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