Commonly, bamboo clothing is made through a process of “cooking.” During this process the leaves and shoots are set with chemical solvents like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide, eventually then through a process of “multi-phase bleaching”. The techniques are expanded upon at http://organicclothing.blogs.com/my_weblog/2007/09/bamboo-facts-be.html. Although bamboo fabrics have many green properties, it is also important to remember that the chemical processing of the plant into clothing may have some drawbacks.
To piggyback off kellsbells, while there are some benefits to the production and use of bamboo clothing, it is not foolproof. The problems with bamboo clothing are mainly in the production process. The initial processing of “bamboo linen” requires the breaking down of the plant using natural enzymes. Although expensive, labor intensive, and potential for environmental drawbacks, there may be ways to make this method more sustainable. Secondly, once made into linen, the bamboo is cooked in a cocktail of chemicals (sodium hydroxide, or lye, and carbon disulfide) which are harmful to human and animal life (especially aquatic life if water sources are contaminated).
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