Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bamboozled . . . .

First it was allegedly mislabelled organic cotton and now Fashionista reads about the risk of mislabelling textiles that contain bamboo fibres.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that it has warned 78 retailers including such heavy-weights as Wal-Mart, Macy's and Bloomingdales "that they may be breaking the law by selling clothing or other textile products that are labelled and advertised as "bamboo", but actually are made of a manufactured rayon fiber".

As the FTC explains on its website "How to Avoid Bamboozling Your Customers", "most “bamboo” textile products, if not all, really are rayon, which typically is made using environmentally toxic chemicals in a process that emits hazardous pollutants into the air. While different plants, including bamboo, can be used as a source material to create rayon, there’s no trace of the original plant in the finished rayon product."

A "bamboo" product should be made with, guess what, bamboo fibre - but apparently, bamboo products are often referred to as "mechanically processed bamboo" which does not sound very 'green' to Fashionista. If a product is described as "bamboo" then it must be possible to establish by scientific evidence that the product is made of actual bamboo fibre and has all the qualities of bamboo products such as natural antimicrobial properties, being biodegradable. This sounds complicated, but there is help at hand in form of FTC's business guide fittingly entitled "Threading Your Way Through the Labelling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts" and "Have You Been Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?" for the bedazzled consumer.

Fashionista is amazed to read that as a result of the Canadian Competition Bureau's efforts to ensure that textile articles are accurately labelled and advertised, more than 450.000 textile articles have already been re-labelled and over 250 websites corrected!