I’ve been thinking of getting bamboo crib sheets rather than organic cotton. Are bamboo crib sheets okay for a baby? Is Bamboo Safer Than Cotton Crib Mattress Bedding?
Bamboo is a great natural resource in a number of ways. However, as with many of our natural resources, bamboo becomes a mere shadow of itself while undergoing the processes used to bring it to market. In fact, according to a recent ruling from the FTC which determined that four manufacturers of “bamboo” textile products (including crib sheets and baby clothing) are guilty of making false claims, “bamboo-based textiles, actually made of rayon, are not antimicrobial, made in an environmentally friendly manner, or biodegradable.
So, why is bamboo-based fabric still a better option than completely man-made textiles?
- Its natural antimicrobial properties enable it to be grown without pesticides. The processing does eliminate the natural antimicrobial properties, but at least we are not subject to the possible dangers of pesticides.
- It is a hardy and renewable resource. Because bamboo plants survive drought and flooding and come to maturity relatively quickly, bamboo may be among the most sustainable plants to use for textiles. And you’re not killing any rain forests in the process.
- It can apparently be bleached without the use of chlorine.
- It is easy to dye and therefore doesn’t require harsh chemicals to hold a color.
- I have also been told that there are ways to create bamboo fabric without using harsh chemicals. My understanding is that the result is a rough, somewhat abrasive fabric – not something you’d want to put on a crib mattress and have right next to your baby’s delicate skin – but I would be on the lookout for other manufacturing methods that may give us the silky products we now know.
The organic cotton story is as simple as the bamboo story is confusing – our crib mattresses are made with cotton that was grown without harmful chemicals, and no harmful chemicals were used in processing. Although bamboo is better than some fabric alternatives, organic cotton is probably the best option.