Another popular artificial yarn is anything with bamboo in it. After reading about the technology for chemically manufactured bamboo fiber using hydrolysis alkalization and multi-phase bleaching technology, … let’s just say I was very surprised.
According to the bloggers at OrganicClothing,
Growing bamboo is a wonderfully beneficial plant for the planet and most is naturally organic bamboo. The manufacturing processes where bamboo the plant is transformed into bamboo the fabric are where the sustainability and eco-friendly luster of bamboo is tarnished because of the heavy chemicals, some of which are toxic, that are often required.
Most bamboo fabric that is the current eco-fashion rage is chemically manufactured by “cooking” the bamboo leaves and woody shoots in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH – also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching. Both sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide have been linked to serious health problems. … This is basically the same process used to make rayon from wood or cotton waste byproducts. Because of the potential health risks and damage to the environment surrounding the manufacturing facilities, textile manufacturing processes for bamboo or other regenerated fibers using hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching are not considered sustainable or environmentally supportable.
(For specifics on the general process for chemically manufacturing bamboo fiber, refer to the OrganicClothing blog, also source for picture at top of page.)
This leaves many fiber crafters who try to limit their environmental “footprint” feeling either guilty or defensive. We need to remind ourselves that it is practically impossible to conform with all one’s ideals. We do the best we can!