bamboo = good for pandas, bad for babies
Over the past decade or so, consumers have been introduced to bamboo as a sustainable material that can be used in a wide array of products—from flooring and cutting boards, to socks, towels, clothing, and everything in between. Marketers have done a great job associating bamboo with a clean aesthetic and healthy lifestyle. And you’ve probably seen these types of benefits touted in various ads and packaging: “antimicrobial,” “renewable,” “odor resistant,” etc. On the face of it, bamboo sounds like a super-hero of a raw material.
The reality, however, is that bamboo’s use in fabric-based applications is neither environmentally friendly nor health promoting. Why not? Here are a few of the reasons:
1. There’s a 99% chance it’s not organic. Certified organic bamboo does exist, but it’s largely used in food, medicinal, and construction applications, not in textile production.
2. Turning bamboo into fabric is an extremely chemical-dependant process. It’s true that the growing of bamboo is relatively “clean;” pesticides are rarely needed. However, when it’s time to turn the raw bamboo into a fabric, highly intensive chemical processes come into play.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has chastised companies for misleading customers and notes on its website:
“The soft textiles you see labeled ‘bamboo’ don’t contain any part of the bamboo plant. They are made from bamboo that has been processed into rayon using toxic chemicals.”
Yes, in order for bamboo pulp to be turned into fabric, it’s soaked in a toxic solvent (carbon disulfide) that can endanger factory workers as well as pollute the air. It is estimated that around 50% of the hazardous waste that results from bamboo rayon production goes directly into the environment.
3. It’s not doing your baby any favors. We know you want the best for your little ones, and unfortunately bamboo clothing, blankets, towels, and other textiles are not the answer. The processing of the raw bamboo destroys any antimicrobial characteristics that may have once existed, and you may be paying a premium for glorified, chemically treated rayon.
Here at Finn + Emma, we use only GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton, which hasn’t been exposed to harmful chemicals and allows your child the healthy, breathable comfort they deserve. Boo to bamboo, yea to organic cotton!