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Bamboo Fabric Lovers Glad or Sad?

Last month press releases were distributed about bamboo textiles. All were in relation to the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) announcements that textile manufacturers, importers and retailers are soon required to comply with the country’s Textile Labeling Act (TLA) and the Textile Labeling and Advertising Regulations (TLAR).

The CCB is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choices. The CCB published Guidance on Labeling Textile Articles Derived from Bamboo to assist the textile supply chain to deal with new compliance in Canada.

Accordingly, until 2009 August 31st, existing bamboo fiber inventories that were in production, manufactured, labeled or packaged prior to 2009 March 11th, can be sold. However, after August 31st, the CCB will conduct marketplace surveillance to ensure compliance with the TLA.

Bamboo materials sound fabulous until the manufacturing process is investigated. In reality, they are primarily produced by concocting the bamboo leaves and woody shoots in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH which is also known as caustic soda or lye), and carbon disulfide in a hydrolysis alkalization chemical mechanism combined with multi phase bleaching. There are serious health problems linked and the chemical method is not considered sustainable.

Bamboo fiber products often make claims such as eco-friendly, organically grown, naturally antibacterial, UV ray protection, or biodegradable. But the CCB states that whenever an article is made of man-made rayon fibers derived from bamboo, that the generic fiber name must first make reference to rayon, or the corresponding chemical process outlined in the TLAR, and can then be followed by the words “from bamboo“.

CCB states that bamboo is not an acceptable generic name for a textile fiber unless natural bamboo has been mechanically processed in a manner similar to the process for making flax into linen-like fabrics.

Bamboo lovers are bound to feel mixed emotions. Truth reveals the good, bad and ugly, but is always a positive occurrence in the long run. I welcome your comments.


Written by Delia Montgomery

I am Delia, d/b/a Chic Eco on, and established myself as an eco fashion guru by learning "who makes what in the world of environmental fashion and design."

Enjoy reading some of my freelance writing about environmental design, fashion and art -- from both consumer and supplier perspectives. You may notice I focus most on individual eco designers, movers and shakers.

From sustainable fashion apparel to paint and flooring, discoveries are a rush. I get my kicks this way. I also offer sales representation of earth-friendly designed products for wholesale buyers. Retailers may take advantage of my services with factory-direct pricing. Spend less time sourcing and prevent green-washed purchases!

My other forte is connecting suppliers with business-to-business tools. Aspects of my business vary with consulting services while I'm proud to be the aide that embraces unique and innovative gigs.

I'm originally a Kentucky Blue Grass gal who relocated to Maui early 2006 and the tropical Puna District of Big Island, Hawaii late 2007. Walk the talk is my motto here.

Early 2009 I constructed a yurt home office in a semi-urban setting on a tiny lot. My water comes from the sky, contained in a catchment that's not likely to dry in this rain forest. The electric is designed for solar conversion. I grow about 30% of my food organically, compost, and recycle to the hilt. Permaculture with a full eco system is my gardening style.

In fact, gardening is my ultimate joy. I seek gigs like design, weeding and planting between other jobs. My love is Hawai'i which has more climate zones than any state. There are frequent earthquakes here, typically under a 3.0 magnitude, and I happen to dig the vibrations. It's a wonderful simple life in paradise. As I grow older and wiser, I become more and more grateful.


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