Purohit, A. et. al. (2005)

Evaluation of group 1 mite allergen levels in synthetic and feather pillows: absence of difference

Purohit A, Shao J, Lieutier-Colas F, Pauli G, de Blay F.
Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Feb;94 (2):308-9.

It is possible that pillows with synthetic fillings may collect house dust mite allergens more quickly and to a greater extent than is the case for feather pillows. Synthetic pillows might increase the asthma risk for predisposed persons (allergy sufferers sensitised to house dust mites).

Study design:
Earlier studies have collected dust samples by vacuuming the surface of pillows. In this study samples were taken from the filling of feather and synthetic pillows. As a control parameter the allergen content of mattresses was determined using the Acarex® test.

The differences in respect of the allergen content of the filling of the two types of pillows were not significant.

The authors are critical of the determination of the allergen content of pillows through vacuuming the surfaces. It does not allow any meaningful information to be obtained on the severity of asthma when synthetic pillows are used.
This study supports the opinion that the greatest concentration of mites in beds is in mattresses rather than pillows.