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2nd February 2017, Boennigheim

New biofunctional fabrics prove effective against dust mites

Restful sleep is important for health and well-being. Bedding with a finishing treatment helps to relieve allergy symptoms and contribute to restful sleep. © Oeko-TexPermethrin is a widely-used substance for treating textiles against mites. However, the neurotoxin may also cause undesirable side effects, such as headaches or deafness, in humans.

The William-Küster-Institute for Hygiene, Environment and Medicine at the Hohenstein Institute has now tested a new product made by Proneem France, which contains alternative active ingredients but proved highly effective against mites. In a test in accordance with NF G39-011, Proneem finish by Proneem France was able to inhibit the growth of a mite population by over 90% and was therefore awarded the Hohenstein quality label Effective against Dust Mites.

“This shows that the Hohenstein test for effectiveness against dust mites in accordance with standard NF G39-011 is also suitable for alternative, permethrin-free finishing treatments and offers textile manufacturers a way of developing optimised bedding and home textiles that will reduce the symptoms of house dust allergy-sufferers,” the Institute explains.

Permethrin treatment

Dust mites prefer to live in duvets and mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpets where they find ideal hygrothermal conditions. Using treated bedding can reduce the rate of reproduction of the mites and so decrease the allergen load.

Normally, these finishing treatments contain the acaricide permethrin. As a toxin that can be ingested or absorbed, it is effective against numerous insects, including mites. Permethrin is a neurotoxic chemical which, in insects, causes agitation and cramps, then coordination disorders and finally paralysis. Permethrin is poorly absorbed by healthy skin, but nevertheless attempts are being made to find alternative finishing agents.

Dust mite allergy

Between four and five million Germans suffer from a house dust mite allergy. However, this is not caused by the mites, but by their faeces. The little arachnids prefer to live in duvets and mattresses, upholstered furniture and carpets.

Mites of different sizes on a textile. © Hohenstein Gruppe

The conditions there are perfect for them are: an average temperature of 25 °C, humidity of up to 70% and the human skin flakes on which the small creatures feed. The faeces disintegrate into very small particles, and when stirred up, these particles enter the mucous membranes through the respiratory tract, causing allergic reactions with the typical symptoms, including a runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and in severe cases even asthma and breathlessness.

www.hohenstein.de

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