Quality, that’s the first word that comes to mind when looking at a product. “Is this the best product?” Buying pillows may seem like a trivial thing, but in the long run, this is a fixture in our bedroom that contributes to the nature of sleep.
For the past decade, more people are starting to pay attention to healthy sleep products. Not just that, more are also paying attention to how they are contributing to global warming and leaving carbon footprints. Health is gaining more popularity as well as a saving-the-earth notion. All of these are stirring businessmen and manufacturers in the way they do things, perhaps to the better as it also means good business.
And now, before being able to say that this product is safe and will contribute to health, knowledge of the harm cheap pillows can cause is imperative.
Is it strange to discover that something as innocent as a pillow could pose a health hazard? It is better to be safe than sorry; and be wary of certain materials in pillows that are health risks.
This is the biggest problem found in pillows that have been used for at least 18 months. Fungal spores can worsen your respiratory system, cause asthma, sinusitis, and induce coughing and sneezing.
How bad is it? Just a few thousands of fungus spores in every gram.
A lot of individuals are unaware of the fact that they have an allergic reaction towards their own pillow. Have you noticed how you sometimes wake up sneezing and feeling like you just caught a cold? That’s just your allergy stirred by the dust mites and mold from your pillow.
Using pillows that were bought before understanding and measuring your ideal height is the biggest problem here.
No, this is not about drunk sleeping. Flame retardants that are used inside cushions, mattresses, and sometimes pillows, contain a lot of chemicals that prevent them from catching fire easily. Long-term usage of these items has been frequently linked to neurological damage.
Formaldehyde is one of the most dangerous substances that you can find in every house. Synthetic rubber contains them and synthetic latex pillows are made of rubber (unless you sleep on DIY bamboo or wood), especially in synthetic latex. Still, they are used widely and have been found to be a source of carcinogen according to US National Toxicology Program.
Latex Pillows Against Toxicity and Health Issues
When using the right latex pillow for you, there are significant changes and health improvements that you will notice for sure. The first thing would be the elimination of risks as mentioned above. The rest would be the following:
Synthetic, Blended, and Natural Latex Pillows
Now, it’s time to learn what these three types of latex are and what benefits they offer.
When we say synthetic, we mean latex pillows that contain only chemicals that are mixed to create a latex-like feel. No real rubber involved.
During usage, you’ll notice a strange odor coming out from your pillow. This is the smell of chemicals that are mixed in during the manufacturing process (the smell cannot be disguised or removed unless the pillow is thrown away).
Polyurethane, the main ingredient in synthetic latex, oxidizes, meaning, the rubber will ‘evaporate’ and turn to dust flying around your bedroom. Leave it be, and you’ll be inhaling dust and dangerous chemicals, and suffer from the health risks we mentioned above.
As of late, synthetic latex has been receiving the biggest blow when it comes to pillow and mattress toxicity. They don’t last that long either (5-8 years at best). Their only advantage compared to blended and natural latex is a lower price.
This is a better version of synthetic latex. A certain percentage of real rubber is involved here. Mostly you’ll see 30% or 70% latex (which may show in the certification too) in blended ones. Chemical ingredients add up those percentage to 100%.
Blended latex has been often compared to full-natural latex pillows. Several key points, such as price, durability, functions, and safety, are weighed against each other.
Obviously, the best of all, but the priciest as well. Natural latex uses at least 95% natural rubber in them. The manufacturing process is pretty simple, but due to the fact that it requires quite a lot of rubber sap from trees, it is always sold at a higher price.
This is the pillow on which you can sleep peacefully and imagine a nice, comfy, safe haven without fear of chemicals or dust. Another thing with natural latex is the fact that the process requires no chemicals or parts that release dangerous by-products, using all-natural latex is the way for those who want to do good to the earth.
Natural vs. Blended Latex Pillows
Pricing: Natural latex does cost more. A high quality, luxurious natural latex can cost from $60 to $160 each.
Smell: Both types come with the unusually strong smell. Which is why you are required to air them out before usage. Air them for a day and natural latex will lose its smell significantly. If you are not a sensitive person, you can air them in the morning and use them at night on the same day. For blended ones, the smell will persist a little depending on how much synthetic ingredient is inside.
Durability: Natural latex holds a bit longer then blended. Although, it depends on how much percentage of natural latex is in the blended one. Part of it is because natural latex does not oxidize and natural latex is made of milky fluid out of rubber trees that have been vulcanized and solidified.
Natural Latex: How do I know which one is which?
Similar to latex mattress, natural latex pillows will have the necessary certification to show that they are made of genuine rubber. Trusted certifications are Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Greenguard Gold, GOLS, and a few others that signify the amount of natural latex in a pillow.
Oeko-Tex Standard 100 tests products against hundreds of chemical substances and their standard go beyond several states. You can say that it is not easy to get the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 as they are pretty strict and aim to only provide it to products that don’t hurt the earth and are healthy for daily use.
Greenguard Gold checks the reactions of 360 different chemical emissions which refer to off-gassing of mattresses and pillows. You know that your pillow simply has that rubber smell (not chemicals) when they come with Greenguard Gold certification.
GOLS refers to the percentage of latex inside the pillow. It does not, however, tell you if it does off-gassing, leave carbon footprints, or not. It simply indicates the percentage of latex which leaves you to guess the rest of it.
Why the Investment Is Worth It
We’d all be lying if we say that natural latex is cheap. One thing that has been related to high-quality products is their price. Sometimes, we’d like to say that price speaks for quality and that is true with most latex pillows.
Latex tends to stand on the expensive side and natural latex is the highest. But the advantages that come with it cannot be exchanged for anything else.
Remember the health risks we mentioned at the beginning of this article? That’s where your investment goes to. In fact, you have to think who else is going to spend a third of their life on that pillow and mattress.
For those who are more concerned about whether they are leaving carbon footprints, natural latex is made out of completely safe and natural processes that don’t use a lot of chemicals. Check out the certifications that you want to have on your sleeping gears to know that you are not exchanging the earth’s sustainability for a better rest.
Paying a little higher now to have pillows that will last for ten years is better compared to changing your pillows every 2 or 3 years. If you decide to not change the cheap pillow after those years, know that fungi, dust mites, and oxidation have filled your bedroom and are being inhaled by the one who sleeps in there.
The Ideal Height
The only thing that you need to pay attention to when buying latex is that they have a fixed shape. As mentioned before, latex pillows retain their shape for a long time, which means they don’t ‘deplete’ or puff even when you’ve slept on them for a very long time.
When buying, it’s good that you measure the ideal height for you and check out the pillow’s size. Once you buy it, you’re stuck with the height, so consider this point.