Monday, March 15, 2010

"Bamboo" fabric is just "Rayon"?

Four US sellers of clothing and other textiles products have been charged by the FTC for claiming bamboo fiberc ontent on products manufactured from rayon. The complaints also charge the companies with making false and unsubstantiated “green” claims that the products are manufactured using environment friendly methods, they retain the natural antimicrobial properties of bamboo and that they are biodegradable.

According to the FTC, the companies falsely claimed that their textile productswere "100 % bamboo fiber" when they were essentially rayon. Noted from the Commission (FTC), Rayon is a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees and processed with a harsh chemical thatreleases hazardous air pollutants. Any plant or tree could be used as the cellulose source, including bamboo, so once the cellulose undergoes the regenerating process (rayon or viscose processes) the generic fiber name wouldbe Rayon. According to the Rules and Regulations under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act 16 CFR 303.7, the definition of Rayon is:
A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, as well as manufactured fibers composed of regenerated cellulose in which substituents have replaced not more than 15% of the hydrogens of the hydroxyl groups. Where the fiber is composed of cellulose precipitated from an organic solution in which no substitution of the hydroxyl groups takes place andno chemical intermediates are formed, the term lyocell may be used as a generic description of the fiber.

Therefore, unless a product is made directly with bamboo fiber — often called “mechanically processed bamboo” — it can’t be called bamboo. If your product isn’t made directly of bamboo fiber — but is a manufactured fiber for which bamboo was the plant source — it should be labeled and advertised using the proper generic name for the fiber, such as rayon, or “Rayon made from Bamboo.”

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