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Author Topic: Can anyone tell me about the chemicals involved in making Bamboo fabric?  (Read 6195 times)

Offline Karen W.

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It is so soft, but how safe is the process for those making it and for those wearing it?

I am assuming it is safe for wearing for the obvious reasons, but what about the workers

that are handling the chemicals?

What are the chemicals and is there risk from exposure to those handling them?
« Last Edit: 12/12/2009 03:00:21 by Karen W. »


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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I do think they bleach the bamboo fibres until they're white, otherwise, to make the fibre, the bamboo is just heavily pulped until it separates into thin threads of fiber, which can then be spun.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Oh.... I thought there was some big chemical process involved!
So Bleach eh.. that does not seem so bad!

Thanks C4M.
 

Offline Karsten

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"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. Breathing low levels of carbon disulfide can cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage. Carbon disulfide has been shown to cause neural disorders in workers at rayon manufacturers. Low levels of exposure to sodium hydroxide can cause irritation of the skin and eyes. Sodium hydroxide is a strong alkaline base also known as caustic soda or lye. In its dry crystalline form, caustic soda is one of the major ingredients of Drano. 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.

While specifics can vary, the general process for chemically manufacturing bamboo fiber using hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching technology – which is the dominate technology for producing regenerated bamboo fiber – goes like this:

   1. Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted and crushed;
   2. The crushed bamboo cellulose is soaked in a solution of 15% to 20% sodium hydroxide at a temperature between 20 degrees C to 25 degrees C for one to three hours to form alkali cellulose;
   3. The bamboo alkali cellulose is then pressed to remove any excess sodium hydroxide solution. The alkali cellulose is crashed by a grinder and left to dry for 24 hours;
   4. Roughly a third as much carbon disulfide is added to the bamboo alkali cellulose to sulfurize the compound causing it to jell;
   5. Any remaining carbon disulfide is removed by evaporation due to decompression and cellulose sodium xanthogenate is the result;
   6. A diluted solution of sodium hydroxide is added to the cellulose sodium xanthogenate dissolving it to create a viscose solution consisting of about 5% sodium hydroxide and 7% to 15% bamboo fiber cellulose.
   7. The viscose bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles into a large container of a diluted sulfuric acid solution which hardens the viscose bamboo cellulose sodium xanthogenate and reconverts it to cellulose bamboo fiber threads which are spun into bamboo fiber yarns to be woven into reconstructed and regenerated bamboo fabric."

More here:
http://organicclothing.blogs.com/my_weblog/2007/09/bamboo-facts-be.html
or here:
https://www.bamboosa.com/bamboo.php?PID=63
No idea how good the info is.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Thank you very much Karsten that was more in line with what I had been hearing and I was really curious.. I thought I had asked before but could not find the thread.. Thank you for the links! and the time you took to find m this answer!
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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I thought I had asked before but could not find the thread..
You did, and I gave you exactly the same link  ;D

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=24980.0
 

Offline Karen W.

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LOL..Thats why I thought I nhad read that and asked already! Thank you7 boys!..Hee he hee..
 

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