Don't Be Bamboozled

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Growing bamboo is certainly gentler on the planet than drilling oil to make fabric, but the process that dissolves the plant and transforms it into pulp can involve harmful chemicals. Some textile mills, such as those in Japan, Italy, and Uruguay, use the smallest amounts of chemicals possible. But no bamboo fabric is completely organic. So how is a consumer to know if the bamboo skirt she's about to purchase is truly eco-friendly? "The only real way," says Hellen Edralin, a designer for Linda Loudermilk, "is to research and trust the integrity of the company that makes it. Most of the new eco-fabrics on the market are not 100 percent organic. They are a work in progress."