Last month, the Federal Trade Commission announced that all those cool products you thought were made of bamboo are actually made of rayon.

To turn bamboo into a fiber, the plant must go through the same chemical process used to make rayon. The bamboo is treated with toxic chemicals that emit hazardous air pollutants, and the end result is a manufactured fabric with none of the plant’s original traits left. So, even though the label on your sheets and shirts may say bamboo, they’re actually made of rayon.Robyn Griggs Lawrence
Editor-in-Chief, Natural Home Magazine

While I am happy to see the FTC cracking down, this seems like it should have a greater penalty. I’m thinking something under the fraud statutes. Anyone else? I am a firm believer in the principle of caveat emptor, but that buyer can only be a-ware if they can adequately inform themselves of what they are buying. It is time for truth and accuracy in labeling.

A similar controversy recently erupted around the much-loved (“BPA-free”) SIGG water bottles when it was revealed that, oops, they were actually lined with trace amounts of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), heavily used in plastics manufacturing, and that this information was concealed from the public by the company’s chief executive. Even eco-geek (and dear friend) Simran Sethi did not know about the SIGG BPA fiasco. Eventually, and in large part due to Simran’s exposé, an exchange program was created and is ongoing.

These stories highlight the need for both consumer vigilance and legal action. We have a right and a need to know what we are putting in (and on, bamboo rayon manufacturers!) our bodies. So, don’t just throw in your bamboo towel! Take action! File a complaint yourself or get more information from the FTC website.

Thanks, Kim!

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