Bamboo is regarded as an eco-friendly material because of its remarkable attributes. It requires very little water, and grows faster up to one foot in a day. It is naturally regenerative, and is one of the fastest growing plants; reaching maturity in a minimum period of 4 years. Bamboo stalks are converted into raw fibres, and fabrics are manufactured from the fibres. It has lesser impact on environmental issues as compared with conventional cotton and other petroleum derived nylon, and synthetic fibres. Synthetic fibre manufacturing involves heavy chemicals like nitrogen and sulfur oxides which pose a threat to human health. Cultivation of conventional cotton involves a requirement of large quantities of water. A data states that conventional cotton consumes more water than any other agricultural commodity. In comparison, no such requirements are present for growing bamboo. It is environmentally friendly and can be considered as a potential substitute of conventional cotton fibres. Bamboo fibres are 100 percent bio-degradable.
Despite of all the positives, bamboo fabrics comprise some shortcomings as well. Like all cellulose fibres bamboo fibres also generally allow more moisture to drip in facilitating more food for the bacteria. Due to this wetness, of the fibres bacteria grow more on natural fibres rather than synthetic fibres. They create unpleasant odors. Apart from this, raw bamboo fabric allows the ultraviolet (UV) radiation pass through it and touch the skin. So the untreated bamboo fabric was not having anti-bacterial abilities.
Research scientists have now discovered a new way of making bamboo fabric. This fabric possesses resistance ability against the suns damaging UV radiation, and also has anti-bacterial properties. Bamboo fabric is dyed with special UV absorbing chemicals. This resulted in a reduction of bacterial presence in the fabric up to a considerable extent. This is a significant improvement over the untreated bamboo fabric. This fabric is anti-static and holds to the skin in a perfect way. It is a perfect type of clothing for people who are prone to skin problems and allergies.
This chemically treated bamboo fabric shows 75 80 percent of reduction of bacterial presence. Due to its anti-bacterial abilities, it can be used as sanitary clothing in hospitals. When testing for UV radiation, and absorbing capabilities, a value above 50 is considered to be good, and this chemically treated bamboo fabric has a UV protection value up to 56. The chemical presence in the fabric is said to remain consistent even after multiple washes. They kill the odor causing bacteria that live on human skin. They further posses insulating properties that keep the wearer warm during winters and vice versa. Clothing made from these fibres tends to be light and strong with an excellent drape of silk.
Some companies use chemicals to bleach the fibres and make it white, but companies that focus on producing organic clothes use the fibres unbleached. This fabric is currently available in China, Japan, India and a few other countries. The versatile features of this fabric, makes it an excellent choice of designers. Due to its UV protecting and antibacterial abilities, this fabric will soon find its way into many retail outlets and will be used in hospitals and sanitary clothing. If organic clothing made from bamboo becomes popular, it will lead to more bamboo plantations, more photosynthesis and less green house gas effects. Thus one of the critical problems facing mankind will become easier to solve.
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