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Eco-friendly mattresses may come with a high price tag

Several manufacturers make mattresses designed to appeal to eco-conscious consumers. However, most of these niche brands aren't covered in professional sources, so it's hard to rate their overall quality. One eco-friendly brand that gets a couple of mentions is our Best Reviewed pick, OrganicPedic by OMI. Handmade in the U.S. in a "smoke-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free environment," these mattresses contain only natural materials and aren't treated with chemicals like flame-retardants yet still meet fire safety standards. Materials include natural rubber latex from sustainably harvested rubber trees, certified organic cotton and the company's own trademarked cruelty-free Eco-Wool.

Sarah Bernard, who tests 100 mattresses in an article for New York Magazine, names an OrganicPedic mattress as her top choice. Made with three layers of natural latex, this mattress is designed so the top layer can be removed and replaced if it starts to sag, so the entire mattress doesn't require replacing. Although the specific model Bernard tests is no longer available, several current OrganicPedic mattresses include the same removable pillow top. One of these is the Terra, which earns the top prize in the bedding category in the 2009 Innovative Green Design Awards at Upstate House magazine. Editors say the Terra "embodies all aspects of innovative green design," from sustainably produced latex to vegetable-based adhesives.

OrganicPedic mattresses' impeccable "green" credentials come with a high price tag. Its lowest-priced model, the Midori, costs $2,000 for a queen, and its top-of-the-line OrganicPedic 81 costs $9,200. These prices are for the mattress alone; foundations are sold separately.

For those who are on more modest budgets but still want to be as eco-friendly as possible, a basic latex mattress may be a good choice. According to Upstate House magazine, latex is "naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal and biodegradable." While the Sultan line by Ikea includes two latex mattresses costing less than $1,000 for a queen size, Ikea doesn't use 100 percent organic materials. The Elsfjord (*Est. $500) is made from synthetic latex, with polyester fabric in the cover and wadding; the Edsele (*Est. $980) is 85 percent natural and 15 percent synthetic latex, with a cotton cover and wool wadding. Ikea mattresses earn good ratings for overall satisfaction in customer-satisfaction surveys; see our section on latex mattresses.

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