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Speciality Sleep Association Launches Safety & Environmental Seal Program

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The Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) announced that it is launching the mattress industry’s first Safety & Environmental Program (SEP) to better educate and inform consumers of the components in the sleep products they buy. After more than a year of research and industry involvement, the leading trade association has created a two-step label and seal that will appear on mattresses from manufacturers who join the program that informs the consumer about the minimum environmental and safety compliance levels the particular product adheres to, along with a label that lists components in the mattress.

Manufacturers in the program pay a fee to the SSA to use the label and seal, and complete an extensive application process with documentation that backs up claims. Consumers wanting further information beyond the seal and label will be able to go the SSA’s website for more detailed information and can contact the organization if they wish to learn more about a specific manufacturer’s component filing.  

To display the Level I seal, a manufacturer must meet all federal safety flammability requirements; provide a warrantee for the product; meet all safety requirements for children’s products if applicable; disclose material construction with a descriptive label content; participate in an annual survey to identify carbon footprint issues and has committed to continuous improvement; and meet standards set by the Montreal Protocol Act when applicable, for reduction or elimination of ozone depleting substances. For the Level II seal, a manufacturer would have to meet all the requirements of the first threshold and in addition: meet California Section 1350 testing for low VOC emissions and validate that the mattress’ textile covering contains no harmful substances.

Several manufacturers have already signed onto the program and plan to show mattresses in compliance with the program at the forthcoming Summer Las Vegas Furniture Market beginning August 2nd. A leading industry supplier has provided the preliminary funding to launch a consumer education program through the enhancement of the current SSA website and a new social networking initiative that will launch when the first mattresses are expected to hit retailer’s floors.

“Purchasing safe and environmentally friendly products is an overwhelming concern of consumers.  The SEP program represents the best way to finally deliver a clear message, through a revolutionary new label and education program, that the bedding industry is listening to that concern.  The SSA is proud to have taken a leadership role in this important task of creating clarity in defining the broad terms being used to define environmentally friendly products as part of our ongoing mission to promote natural, healthier and safer sleep solutions for consumers,” said SSA President Dale Read.

“The SEP program is all about transparency and education. It represents a unification of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers around a set of environmental terms and definitions that will reduce confusion and bolster sales to consumers anxious to purchase environmentally friendly products,” he added.
SEP is the result of the SSA’s “Green Initiative,” which brought together 15 leading manufacturers, suppliers and retailers who studied and debated how the industry represented various environmental terms like “green” and “natural” to consumers. The group conducted a major study of consumers and retail sales associates to provide input, as well as looking at numerous certification programs and standards currently in use around the world. The process culminated in a comprehensive report delivered to industry leaders earlier this year.

“The Safety and Environment Program is the next step in standardizing the information about environmentally-friendly sleep products available to consumers. The SEP seal will not only provide an industry standard for what is green, sustainable or natural, but will also give retail sales associates the opportunity to discuss mattress safety, female consumers’ number one concern,” added Read.

Founded in 1995, the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) is a national not-for-profit organization created to facilitate the growth and positive awareness of the specialty sleep category. Its members develop and/or sell specialty sleep products, including natural and organic bedding, latex, memory foam, air, gel, water, adjustable, new spring technologies and related products. SSA membership includes more than 100 manufacturers and retailers ranging from small, family-owned businesses to large corporations. For more information regarding the SSA, please contact Executive Director Tambra Jones at: (559) 868-4187 or (559) 676-8639, tambra@sleepinformation.org or www.sleepinformation.org.

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