The Canadian Competition Bureau is satisfied that Lululemon's apparel is made with seaweed. However they don't think much of claims such as it "releases marine amino acids, minerals and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture." Lululemon has agreed to remove labels with such claims, and the Globe and Mail reports that the Competition Bureau is now focusing on all firms that make health, therapeutic or environmental claims about sustainable fibres such as bamboo and soybeans, according to Larry Bryenton, acting assistant deputy commissioner at the bureau.
"We'll certainly keep a careful eye on where the industry is going," Mr. Bryenton said in an interview. "It's certainly something that's caught the bureau's attention ... Lululemon happened to be in a situation where they made unsubstantiated claims that happened to relate to one of these new types of products out there."
Lululemon labels showing contents as SeaCell and Lyocell
The Globe reports that the following fabrics are being looked at for their purported health claims, produced by various companies:
Bamboo fibre is made by pulping the bamboo grass until it separates into thin threads that can be spun and dyed for weaving into cloth. Bamboo fibre resembles cotton in its un-spun form, a puffball of light, airy fibres. Some of the purported health benefits include natural anti-ultraviolet properties that help to protect skin from sun damage, and help "reduce bacteria that thrive on clothing and cause unpleasant odours."
Soy silk is made from the by-products of the tofu-making process. The liquefied proteins are pressed into fibres, which are then spun and woven into threads, yarns, knits, etc. Soy is considered the "cashmere" of vegetable fabrics. One soybean fabric maker said the product contains "18 kinds of active materials which are necessary to [the] human body." Another manufacturer claims its soy-based fabric contains 16 amino acids that are "healthy and nutritional to people's skin."
Made from a seaweed base, this fibre is typically mixed with others, including cotton, to form fabrics for clothing. SeaCell's health benefit claims include supporting skin blood flow, stimulating cell regeneration, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A combination of Japanese bamboo leaves and kumazasa plants, which are common in Japan. Health benefit claims include that it is a natural antibacterial and deodorant and helps block UV rays. "No other fabric in the natural world is able to block 80 per cent to 90 per cent of ultra-violet rays without any processing," one maker says.
Derived from wood-pulp cellulose, Lyocell is the building block of plant cell walls. The textile has similar properties to cotton but is manufactured under more environmentally conscious practices. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, "Lyocell is the generic fiber name for a form of rayon that is often marketed as Tencel." The fibre is used in the production of many clothes, such as dresses, slacks and coats, making them highly resistant to shrinkage and wrinkling, unlike other rayons. . ::Globe and mail