Between 10% and 15% of the population are allergic to dust mites, asthma is one of the most common illnesses in the world, and the number of people affected is rising year after year. Millions of Germans are familiar with year-round runny noses in the mornings, sneezing attacks, itchy eyes and severe reactions that may include shortage of breath. The symptoms often have a very detrimental effect on their everyday lives, so taking preventive measures is important, from the point of view of both the economy and healthcare policy. For allergy sufferers, the most important preventive measure they can take is to keep allergens away from their respiratory organs – especially in the bedroom.
One of the main areas of work at the Hohenstein Group’s William Küster Institute for Hygiene, Environment and Medicine (WKI) is conducting research on the compatibility of textiles for users, and this includes the management of allergens. That is why Hohenstein spotted the potential of textile-based allergy prevention at an early stage, and worked closely with the industry to find a solution: over months of fundamental research, and multiple optimization stages, Hohenstein developed a negatively-charged textile finishing that attracts positively-charged allergens like a magnet.
Now, in partnership with the Stuttgart-based bedding manufacturer Centa-Star, Hohenstein has turned this textile finishing into a marketable product: AllergoProtect – a trio of products consisting of mattress topper, duvet and pillow, which retain over 99.5% of the allergens inside the filling and the cover, even under great mechanical strain, for example when the bedding is shaken. This means the allergens are not breathed in and no longer cause allergic reactions. During washing, the allergens bound to the fibers are removed from the filling of the bedding, and the physical binding function of the textile is regenerated and remains fully effective even after ten washings at 60°C in a domestic washing machine using heavy-duty detergent followed by tumble drying. Hohenstein also helps with market positioning, thanks to its quality label and regular quality control of the materials that are used. AllergoProtect is certified under the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX Class I – the Standard 100 product class that has the strictest specifications for human ecology.
The endurance testing of AllergoProtect was carried out by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation, and it has been awarded the ECARF Seal of Quality. In trials with volunteers, the effectiveness of AllergoProtect was impressively demonstrated. Now, AllergoProtect is protected by a registered patent, and after just a short time is already in great demand in the retail business.