Siebers, R. et. al. (2004)

Permeability of synthetic and feather pillows to live house dust mites and house dust

Siebers R, Nam HS, Crane J.
Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Jun;34(6):888-90.

Earlier studies have shown that synthetic bedding can intensify asthma symptoms experienced by sensitised persons. More recent studies have again been able to demonstrate that the use of feather beds by children has no link to bronchial obstructions, asthma and allergic rhinitis. The reason for this may be the lower permeability of feather pillow encasings, which impede penetration by house dust mites.

Study design:
This study examines the permeability for house dust mites and house dust of feather pillow encasings compared to those on synthetic pillows. For this, living house dust mites and house dust were applied to different fabric samples. The number of house dust mites remaining on the surface after 24 and 48 hours were counted and the dust that had penetrated the fabric was collected and weighed.

After 24 hours all mites had penetrated the standard encasings of synthetic pillows. However, encasings for feather pillows and an innovative cotton/polyester encasing had still not been penetrated by house dust mites after 48 hours. The permeability of house dust for standard synthetic encasings was also several times greater than for the other encasings (0.88%, 0.07%, 0.07%)

The encasings of feather pillows are much more tightly woven than is the case for synthetic pillows. Measurements by an electron microscope show a pore size of 57 µm compared to 18 µm for feather pillows. It is therefore not surprising that in this study all living house dust mites could penetrate the fabric of the synthetic pillow encasings. Bedding with the NOMITE® seal uses the tightness test in accordance with EN1386 as a basis and can therefore be recommended as suitable bedding for house dust allergy sufferers.