August 12, 2009

A Warning on Labeling Bamboo Textiles

Bamboo fabric has been considered a miracle green fabric to date. It is super soft, absorbent, biodegradable, and considered antimicrobial. It is true that bamboo is considered an eco friendly plant because it can be grown quickly without the use of chemicals. Many products have been produced from bamboo - from floors to textiles. Some of the eco friendly claims have come under scrutiny, especially bamboo textiles.

Bamboo textiles are produced by two methods. One can be considered sort of green and the other not. With the first method, bamboo stalks are crushed and broken down with enzymes and then combed out. The second utilizes harsh chemicals to break down the bamboo stalks into pulp which is extruded by spinnerets. This second method is the same process in which Rayon fabrics are manufactured.

You can bet that the majority of the bamboo fabrics on the market are manufactured by the second method. Because of this, the FTC has declared that bamboo fabrics must be labeled Rayon with the qualifier from bamboo. While this is a controversial position taken by the FTC, it is more accurate due to the actual processes being used. The FTC has clamped down on some companies claiming their bamboo textiles are "green". The charges include falsely advertising some of the more outlandish claims of being antimicrobial and biodegradable.

Anyway, be careful of how you label bamboo. The FTC has further guidance on how to deal with bamboo.

(Photo copyright by Paul Vlaar, courtesy of, licensed with GNU Free Documentation License)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the bamboo procedures information, did not know that.