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From Home Furnishing Business

SSA Expands Mattress Contents Labeling

The Specialty Sleep Association is offering revised SSA Environmental & Safety Program for mattresses with green claims.

The organization's Seal of Approval applies to four levels of claims typically made in marketing of product made with bio-based components. Each of the levels requires the creation of a consumer disclosure label to be transmitted to the consumer along with the organization's seal of approval.

Participating manufacturers, including Boyd Specialty SleepInnomax,  Naturepedic,  Paramount,  and Spring Air,  who have been early adopters, must agree to licensing requirements and provide full substantiation for all environmental claims. The substantiations must cover claims ranging from percentages of bio-based content and certifications of flexible polyurethane foam, latex, gels, and textiles as well as claims about certified organic materials used in the mattress. Also manufacturers must declare on a Consumer Disclosure Label (CDL) the type and location of fire barrier in each model that earns the SSA Environmental and Safety Program Seal of Approval.

To achieve Level IV distinction, mattresses must achieve benchmarks including 95 percent certified organic and bio-based materials in fabric, quilt and core (unless steel is used) and achieve a third-party certification of the finished product. The finished goods must also be tested for volatile organic compounds.

Other updates to the SSA program resulting from public comments include the addition of air and water option for LEvels I and II and updating testing and certification requirements in Levels II and III. The complete program can be reviewed online.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission took action against three suppliers barring them from advertising mattresses as free from VOCs without scientific evidence to back up the claims. In addition to challenging the companies’ VOC-free claims, the FTC charged that two of the companies made unsupported claims that their mattresses were chemical-free and lacked odor. The FTC also challenged one company’s claim that its mattresses are made from 100 percent natural materials, and another company’s claim that its mattresses were certified by an organic mattress organization. 

“Updates to the SSA’s program come at exactly the right time,” said Vicki Worden, president of Worden Associates, Inc.  and sustainability consultant to the SSA. “Last July the FTC cracked down on unsubstantiated claims by several mattress companies. The FTC has caught up with our industry, and manufacturers can no longer make unsubstantiated “natural” or “organic” claims.”

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