An article at TreeHugger about bamboo sheets (and socks) was brought to my attention after reading that bamboo sheets and towels were required for LEED certification of sustainable hotels. Bamboo has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, thus requires no pesticides when grown.
“A quantitative antibacterial capability test was performed by the China Industrial Testing Center (CTITC) from July 7th 2003 thru July 11, 2003. One hundred percent Bamboo Fabric was tested over a 24-hour incubation period with bacterial strain type Staphylococcus aureous. After the 24-hour period the numbers of live bacteria were counted in each sample. The results showed that 100% bamboo fabric exhibits 99.8% antibacterial kill rate.”
The mention of China raises questions about product safety and labor practices. An article in the L.A. Times Emerald City Blog deals with those issues in detail (excerpt from brief summary):
“Bamboo clothing is greener than conventional clothing, even though the processing of bamboo brings up some environmental and labor concerns.”
“To ensure that your clothing is free of dangerous chemicals, try asking about Oeko-Tek 100 certification. This certification usually isn’t on the product tag, but many bamboo retailers with this certification will mention it on their literature or websites.”