If you’re currently in the market for new furniture, you’re likely aware of the extended delays. There are shortages in furniture frames, upholstery foam, textiles… Green upholstery can shave off some of the wait time. And, more importantly, it’s a healthier choice in terms of material content and off-gassing.
Not every manufacturer offers “green foam”. However, we are finding more who offer eco-friendly foam as a standard option. Others have it available upon request. So it’s much more accessible than ever before.
There are several options when it comes to green upholstery foam. Top among them are natural latex and soy- or corn-based foams and fibres. You may also find upholsterers and manufacturers who use coconut fibre foam (a blend of coconut fibre and latex), organic wool, organic cotton, or a combination of feathers and down.
Beware of Isocyanates
There’s also a material known as green polyurethane, which is “regular” foam without isocyanates. It’s important to note that even some uncertified foams may be isocyanates free. What are isocyanates and why should you care?
They’re compounds “classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.”
If you want to be certain the foam in your upholstery or mattresses is truly green, look for either the CertiPUR certified foam or GOLS certified organic natural latex labels. These third-party certifications ensure that product claims are legitimate.
CertiPUR certified foam:
- is made without ozone depleters;
- contains no PBDEs, TDCPP, or TCEP (”Tris”) flame retardants;
- is free of mercury, lead, and other heavy metals;
- does not use formaldehyde;
- is made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission;
- has low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million).
To achieve GOLS certification, a product must contain more than 95% of certified organic raw material. The GOLS standard features permissible limits for harmful substances, emission test requirements, and polymer and filler percentages.
Reposted from my Toronto-based colleague, Christina Mogk, MECC Interiors INC.