What is Natural Latex
What is Natural Latex?
- Natural latex comes from the milky sap harvested from the rubber tree (HeveaBrasiliensis). Rubber trees allegedly originated in Brazil, but were planted across the globe and now are mainly found in the tropics of South East Asia and Africa.
- Rubber tappers strip a thin layer of bark off the tree to release the latex and collect it from cups. This latex is then processed to become a wide variety of products, from rubber tyres to latex mattresses.
- Rubber plantations are managed carefully to ensure consistent growth of new trees for output. This is important, because it can take around six years for a rubber tree to grow large enough to have its sap harvested (see reference 1). Note that each tree can live for 100 years (see reference 2).
- To tap a rubber tree, a collector will make a thin cut on the diagonal to remove a small piece of bark. This allows the sap (i.e. latex) to run out of the bark down the tree and this fluid is collected in a bucket. However, the flow will stop after about 6 hours, but the tree may be tapped again with a new cut the next day (see reference 1).
- Natural rubber is significantly more elastic than full synthetic or blended latex foam. This means it is able to stretch more without breaking. This elasticity is the basic foundation of what makes natural rubber so desirable. Natural rubber is better able to conform to body shape and is more resistant to compression, meaning it is more durable than synthetic or blended latex.
- Our product is made from the most precious gift from the nature. The 100% Natural Latex products give you the most unique experience.
- Only with this selfless gift of pure nature latex product, you can enjoy the best sleeping experience.
1. Craig Freudenrich, PhD. "How Rubber Works", How Stuff Works
Pure Natural Latex
Latex is the premium choice for your sleeping comfort. In Europe where attention to "skin friendly" is demanded and tested, our latex pillow carefully chosen from the manufacture goes above even their standards. Today, most pillows are made with polyurethane or "memory foam" cushioning which is chock full of chemicals. 100% Pure Natural Dunlap and Talalay Latex is famous for it's flexibility and elasticity and ability to conform to your neck, spine, hips and shoulders.
Latex is only 100% natural in a liquid state. In order to take it from a liquid to a usable and solid state, all latex must be vulcanized. Therefore, a mixture of natural rubber (90-95%), zinc oxide (2-3%), fatty acid soaps (1-2%), sulfur (1-2%), and sodium (1-2%) is created which is essential for the vulcanization, foaming, and curing process. The finished core is then washed a minimum of three times to remove residuals that may be left over after curing. The finished product is approximately 98% natural latex rubber.
All Natural Latex pillows also have a lifespan of 7-10 years. They are comfortable, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, hypo allergenic, dust mite resistant, and biodegradable. They offer support where your head needs it to keep the spine aligned, and they relieve pressure point discomfort. It will move with your head during the night instead of keeping you stagnant. In a hot climate, it will help keep you cooler because the natural materials are more breathable and not intended on your brain heat up.
There Are Only Two Types of Latex
Two types of Latex exist: natural latex a product of the rubber tree without synthetics and synthetic latex or blended latex which is made completely or partially from chemical and petroleum products.
Synthetic Latex: Man-made from chemicals and petroleum with same cell structure as natural minus the proteins found in the natural. Before the Second World War, virtually all latex used in production was natural. During WW2 supplies of latex from the Far East were very restricted, hence the search for a synthetic alternative. Scientists tried to copy natural latex (derived from cis-polyisoprene) and largely failed: the latex produced was inferior to the real thing. Instead, they developed a latex based on a synthetic polymer that behaved in a similar way. The word "polymer" simply means a compound made up of long chains of molecules, each link in the chain being derived from simple chemicals known as 'monomers." A number of synthetic latices were developed, the most useful one being made by polymerizing styrene (a liquid) with butadiene (a gas) to give styrene-butadiene rubber, abbreviated to SBR. **Latex Matress Consumer Guide, coutesy of fitzz.com.
Synthetic latex is created from petrochemicals. It is known as Styrene-Butadiene-Rubber, scientific abbreviation of SBR. Sleep products will feature either natural or synthetic latex, or a combination of both; the most common blend being 30% Natural, 70% Synthetic.
It is important to note that because natural latex is a polymer of polyisoprene, synthetic latex is actually very different from natural latex. Thus, the performance of synthetic latex is not on a level comparable to natural rubber. Synthetic latex foam is springier and more elastic than standard polyurethane foam. However it is simply inferior to pure natural latex.
Pure Natural Latex: Harvested from rubber trees grown in tropical regions of the world. Natural latex is not a perfect product by the very nature of its being natural. The degree of difference is not great but enough that makes it necessary for purchasers of the raw material to test for quality. It is much like buying coffee beans to arrive at different blends. Natural and synthetic rubbers have differing properties. Natural rubber is very soft and elastic. When natural rubber is tapped from a tree it is very dilute, with the rubber content being only about 30%. It has to be concentrated before use to above 61.5% solids. Of these solids, 60.0% is rubber, and the remaining 1.5% are compounds unique to natural latex (proteins, phospholipids, carbohydrates, amino acids). These unique ingredients are very important in explaining the behavior of natural latex. **Latex Matress Consumer Guide, coutesy of fitzz.com
Natural latex is made from the milk of the Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). The scientific abbreviation for this is NR, standing for Natural Rubber. Natural rubber is resistant to dust mites and other allergens that common polyurethane foams are susceptible to building up over time. Natural rubber is also a renewable resource.
Natural rubber is significantly more elastic than full synthetic or blended latex. This means it is able to stretch more without breaking and to rebound similarly to a steel spring which makes for a much more responsive and supportive foam. This elasticity is the basic foundation of what makes natural rubber so desirable. Natural rubber is better able to conform to body shape and is more resistant to compression, meaning it is more durable than synthetic or blended latex. Natural latex foam typically is 3-4 times denser than the standard polyurethane foams used in mass produced mattresses.
Which is better, synthetic or natural?
Under most circumstances, a strong case can be made for natural latex being the superior product.
Although synthetic latex does somewhat mimic the feel and comfort of natural latex, it does not offer many of the same health benefits nor is it as durable. Natural latex contains proteins which severely limit the ability of dust mites and other bothersome allergens from congregating in your mattress.
Natural latex is desirable for its unique ability to stretch without breaking. Synthetic latex simply does not offer this same elasticity which leads to a less durable, less supportive product.
One of the primary benefits of sleeping on a latex pillow and mattress is the ability to conform properly to body shape. As the natural latex cells are more elastic and stretchable than standard synthetic latex it is easy to see why its ability to conform to the complex shape of the human body is enhanced when using higher natural latex content.
When it comes to synthetic latex the primary advantage remains to be one of price. Unfortunately we do not have rubber trees in North America, which means anything made out of this material needs to be shipped from great distances. Natural latex is more expensive to produce as the harvesting process is relatively slow so as to ensure sustainability of the trees.