Natural vs. Synthetic Rubber: What's the Difference?

As the popularity of manufactured rubber exploded during the 20th Century, so did the concerns with its impact on the environment, absence of eco-friendly disposal practices, and the potential health risks of the artificial rubber itself.

So how bad is commercial rubber for your home and your family? It's really bad. Toxic.

How Synthetic Rubber is Made

Commercial rubber is manufactured in petrochemical factories, and is comprised of Neoprene, otherwise known as polychloroprene. Neoprene is created by reacting acetylene and hydrochloric acid together.

Neoprene is so bad it was named "Allergen of the Year" in 2009 by EWG, based on 10 years of research conducted by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group.

Although Neoprene itself is not categorized as unsafe for domestic use by the government authorities, the gases it releases during its production, Butadine, can be toxic. In fact, Butadine is classified by the EPA as a toxic pollutant. The theory is that by the time the synthetic rubber pillows or mattresses are sold, that the gases have long since dissipated. However, further research should be performed on what residual particles still linger.

Natural Rubber

In contrast, natural rubber comes from the most natural source: Trees.

Natural rubber (sometimes called "India rubber") is a runny, milky-appearing substance that oozes from one of a number of different plants when cut. The most common source, however, is the Para tree. Its primary polymer is Latex.

Currently, about 44% of the world's produced rubber is of the natural variety. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are the primary sources for natural rubber.

To produce the rubber, rubber trees are punctured and a pail is hung from a wire around each tree to catch the dripping Latex. The Latex is either collected before it coagulates, or coagulated Latex is processed into a dried concentrate.


Whether you suffer skin-related allergies or air-based allergies, clearly you do not want to be breathing in the synthetic fumes off gassing from a synthetic rubber pillow or mattress!

Natural rubber that is ethically harvested and manufactured is the only choice for your home and your family!