The Canada Competition Bureau is again warning consumers about false labeling claims involving textile and apparel products allegedly made of bamboo. This issue has been a long-standing concern for both the Canada Competition Bureau and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which have released guidance documents and pursued various enforcement actions over the years to eradicate this practice.
Rayon is a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees and processed with harsh chemicals that release hazardous air pollution. Any plant or tree – including bamboo – could be used as the cellulose source, but the fiber that is created is rayon. Textiles and apparel may be labeled as made of bamboo only if they are made directly with bamboo fiber (often called “mechanically processed bamboo”). Articles made with bamboo pulp that has undergone a chemical fiber-making process, however, must be labeled in Canada as made of “rayon”, “viscose”, “rayon from bamboo” or “viscose from bamboo”. The Canada Competition Bureau notes that the end product from the chemical transformation of bamboo fiber into fabrics for clothing, towels or bedding contains no trace of the bamboo plant or its antimicrobial properties.
Canadian authorities are therefore urging consumers to report any products that are falsely advertised or labeled as “bamboo” without the words “rayon” or “viscose.” The Canada Competition Bureau has issued guidance designed to help businesses selling textiles and apparel that are labeled as being made of bamboo market their products in ways that are truthful, non-deceptive and in compliance with the law. A copy of this publication is available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03021.html.