In 2015 the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) had many big box retailers pull their bamboo bed sheets off their shelves. Why? According to the FTC, "soft textiles you see labeled ‘bamboo’ don’t contain any part of the bamboo plant. They are made from bamboo that has been processed into rayon using toxic chemicals."*
Once bamboo is chemically processed down to a textile, it is depleted of the natural bamboo that it started as and the result is a rayon, lyocell or viscose fabric. Rayon, lyocell, and viscose are man-made fibers that have no evidence in being antibacterial or earth friendly that bamboo bed sheet manufacturers and retailers claims to have. As the FTC further explains, "Rayon is a man-made fiber created from cellulose found in plants and trees and processed with chemicals that give off hazardous air pollution."** In fact, rayon, lyocell, nylon and other manmade fibers have been found to have negative effects on our environment and health. The chemicals that process these fabrics have linked to cancer, immunity damage, nervous disorders and the like. These chemicals are not only bad for you but they can lead to having negative effects on your sleeping capabilities. The potent carbon disulphide gasses that rayon releases cause restlessness, depression, unconsciousness and sometimes death.***
Despite warnings the FTC issued to major retailers in 2010, some stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Nordstrums, JcPenneys and Backcountry.com continued to falsely claim “bamboo” products as bamboo when in fact they were stripped of all of their actual bamboo fibers. Many retailers also continued to claim these bed sheets as having antimicrobial properties when in fact once the bamboo was chemically processed to change it into a textile, all antimicrobial properties are gone.**** These big box stores were forced to pay penalties of $1.3 million to make up for their false claims.
However, when the real, natural, earth-friendly fibers that are healthy for a person are brought to these big box retail buyer's desks, some retailers still pass. According to DeBora Rachelle from DeBora Rachelle Luxury Linens, in June 27, 2018 DeBora presented her 100% handpicked extra long staple cotton bed sheets to Bed Bath and Beyond Bed Sheet Buyer, Clarissa Gates. DeBora Rachelle bed sheets presented her bed sheets to Gates as, "HEALTHY, LUXURY bed sheets that STAY on your bed and ENHANCE your sleep". Immediately, DeBora Rachelle was told by Gates that Bed Bath and Beyond Bed would not advertise DeBora Rachelle's sheets as "healthy" because that would "make all their other bed sheets in Bed Bath and Beyond stores obsolete". Gates didn't say they wouldn't carry DeBora Rachelle Bed Sheets, she simply stated that Bed Bath and Beyond wouldn't be willing to use the word "healthy" because that would ruin the relationships their stores had with their other vendors.
The FTC's ruling regarding bamboo labeling concluded that the word bamboo could still be used on these bed sheets since the process started with bamboo, however, the word lyocell, rayon, or viscose, etc. must also be added to the word bamboo on the packaging. So consumers will now see "bamboo lyocell" or "bamboo rayon", "bamboo viscose" or the like on these types of sheets. As for being anti-bacterial, that word is banned by the FTC to be used on any product that does not have prior testing to acknowledge this fact.