Since we spend a third of our life sleeping, the mattress on which you sleep should be free of off-gassing toxic chemicals and allergy triggers. That is not as easy to achieve as one might think, as product goals are often in conflict with one another.
Let me explain:
Organic Cotton Benefit: Grown without pesticides, organic cotton is a far better environmental choice than traditionally grown cotton, which may be the single most polluted crop on the planet. Issue: Many sensitive individuals find that they cannot tolerate organic cotton, as it is not stripped of its natural oils and aromas in the traditional bleaching process
Natural Latex Benefit: Unlike its petroleum-based synthetic counterpart, natural latex provides resistance to dust mites, a common cause of allergy symptoms. Issue: Latex is a major allergy trigger for some people.
Wool Benefit: A natural flame retardant that naturally enables consumers to fulfill U.S. law that requires flame retardant in all mattresses -- which sadly means that most of the mattresses in this country are filled with toxic chemicals on which we sleep for 1/3rd of our lives -- a perfect example of how a well-intended goal (preventing death by fire) has done more harm than good in its execution (exposing adults and the more fragile developing bodies of babies and kids to significant toxicity levels). Issue: Wool is also an allergen that can cause many people trouble.
The good news is that, if you are like me and have issues on all of the counts above, there is still an option.... an all-cotton bed. It requires a doctor's note that protects the manufacturer if they sell you a mattress without any flame retardant in it.
A great resource for beds that fit your environmental and personal goals can be found on "The Queen of Green" Debra Lynn Dadd's Green Living website.
After much review, I decided to try a 100% Cotton Chemical Free Mattress from White Lotus Home, with a note from the allergist. It met my personal health criteria, and was more affordable than many other alternatives, even after I splurged on the full 8" thickness instead of the standard 6". I expect that these beds will provide a very firm sleep, which is a personal preference. I will let you know how it works out.
CONCORD GREEN — lisatharp.com
I'm an interior designer, raising awareness about healthy and sustainable design. We built THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME to showcase these principles, while wrapping them in a beautiful, classic aesthetic. Want to make your home Healthier? Greener? More Comfortable and Inviting?
Visit www.lisatharp.com, or email me at Lisa@ktharpdesign.com to learn about our interior design services.
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Thoreau's Cabin - On Walden Pond
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. To front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau
Design Excellence = Old + New
THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME harnesses the best of old and new building principles. Like our ancestors, we respected the position of the warming sun, cooling breeze and shady trees. Better than the past, we super-insulated to retain comfortable indoor temps and minimize energy use. The home is rooted in classical architecture, but was panelized off-site to cut waste and protect materials from weather, thus reducing chance of rot and mold.
A big thanks to the design team members, who were open to the rather frightening idea of having two sets of architects for THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME: ZeroEnergy Design, green architects/mechanical designers, and Connor Homes, creators of reproduction "New Old Homes". This project would not be possible without Aedi Construction, our resourceful healthy home builder.
To Sam, my rock. Thank you for your love, your steadfast support, your ability to make me laugh no matter what, and your patience with my "canary" ways. Without you, none of this work would be possible.