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Corn-based Fabrics Provide Healthy Products for the Home

(ARA) - Leading Japanese fashion designer Mizoke was at the very cutting edge of fashion a few years ago with a line of prototype clothing made from fabric based on a surprising ingredient: corn. How did this humble Midwestern crop show up on a fashion runway? Through a new and innovative process that uses corn as the basis for creating fiber instead of petroleum.

Not many people realize how many common household items are manufactured using petroleum or oil. Everything from plastic packaging and food wrap to sports clothing and pillow filling is made from petroleum products. The resulting manufacturing process emits green house gasses and uses precious nonrenewable resources like petroleum. Now there is a superior performing and greener alternative.


Beginning this season, bedding products from Pacific Coast Feather Company will be made from NatureWorks(TM) fibers and will be available to consumers at retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Younkers throughout the United States.

Additionally, products made from corn-based fabrics will soon be available to the average consumer in the form of a variety of household items. NatureWorks fibers will be used for clothing, carpets, upholstery, interior and outdoor furnishings, and as a fill for bedding products such as pillows, comforters, mattress pads, fiber beds and even mattresses.

NatureWorks fibers are created entirely from annually renewable resources, using simple plant sugars from corn, rather than petroleum, as the raw material. Through a simple fermentation and separation process, similar to making yogurt, the sugars are changed into a new material, which is then spun into a superior performing fiber. Because corn is substituted for petroleum, the production uses 20 to 50 percent less fossil fuel than is usually needed to create conventional fiber, resulting in significantly less CO2, or greenhouse gas emissions.

For consumers with allergies or aversions to synthetics, corn-based fibers are a welcome alternative. The fabrics have similar properties to natural fibers such as cotton and wool, but are more comfortable, durable and as easy to care for as synthetics. Moreover, they also exhibit superior loft, which makes pillows bounce back each night. Another advantage is the improved wicking in comparison with natural fabrics, which makes the corn-based items dryer and therefore warmer than the traditional choices.

As the demand for products that are easier on the environment increases, goods made from a renewable resource like corn will become more prevalent. Whether it is the food they eat, the cars they drive or the items that they bring into the home, consumers are becoming much more aware of how their buying behavior affects the earth.

"A day is coming when we no longer have the option of using limited fossil fuel resources in everyday items," said John Ohman, commercial director of sleep products at Cargill Dow. "The new natural-based fibers deliver great comfort, loft and durability without the 'environmental shortcomings' of petroleum-based, polyester fibers," explained Ohman.

Courtesy of ARA Content  

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