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.