Heimtextil 2013, gives a fascinating insight to the role textiles play in health indoors.

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heimtextil-2013We enjoyed a highly successful few days attending the Heimtextil Trade Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. As always it was an extremely impressive trade fair with a vast array of exhibitors from all around the world in the enormous trade fair centre that is Messe Frankfurt.

airmid healthgroup‘s mission is to help our clients with products and services for the built environment to improve their customer offerings through health related innovations and marketing. As textiles in bedding, floor coverings and soft furnishings contribute hugely to the built environment, this is a key trade show for us.

Textiles can have an enormous impact on the chemical emissions in the indoor environment as well as the ability to reduce exposure to indoor particulates including airborne pathogens and aeroallergens. OEKO-TEX certification was very well represented, particularly in the bedding hall, which is of benefit in controlling chemicals in textiles. A number of clients displayed textile products with claims relevant to indoor health such as allergen filtration efficacy and antibacterial properties. However there appeared to be little standardisation to the various claims. airmid had a number successful meetings looking at regulations, certification testing and claim verification with a number of bedding groups across the natural and synthetic sectors.

As we have blogged about before, there are a range of standardised methods available for testing antibacterial surfaces and textiles. It is certainly worthwhile to use these “off-the-shelf” methods as a first step to demonstrate proof of principle, i.e. to determine the efficacy of the incorporated antimicrobial in the treated surface/textile against a target organism. However it is worthwhile proceeding to fully explore the potential activity of the treated article. This could be done either by modifying the standard testing methods or by designing bespoke testing, from simulating realistic exposure conditions in the lab through to in-use evaluation (i.e. field studies). It is only then that issues arising in real life situations can be assessed. These issues include the effect of repeated fouling and cleaning of the antimicrobial surface/textile and the activity of the antimicrobial over long periods of time.

airmid also attended a number of keynote presentations looking at hygiene and ergonomics in the hotel and hospitality sector, particularly with regards to textiles and bedding. One company of particular note, SwissFeel, made the point that you do not serve your customers food on dirty plates, so why would you expect them to stay in beds that are not hygienic?

This area is of particular interest to airmid healthgroup with our ability to analyse environmental samples for key impactors on health such as allergens, viruses, microbes, bed bugs and molds.

We look forward to following up with a number of the people we met who were interested in our newly commissioned microbe strikethrough test to validate how textiles can impact on the quality of our lives and contribute to a healthy indoor environment by filtering bacteria and other airborne and surface pathogens.

Contact Graeme Tarbox if you have any questions on the issues raised in this article and how we can add value to your company: gtarbox@airmidhealthgroup.com

About airmid
We help our clients across a number of sectors improve, add value and differentiate their customer offerings through a focus on bio-medical data, health impact claims and air quality. We have a uniquely integrated facility which combines molecular biology and state-of-the-art air sampling in a highly developed environmental test chamber, where we can follow nominated allergens, viruses, bacteria, molds or other ultra-fine particles. As a world leading biomedical and aerobiology research facility our clients describe us as a specialised extension to their research capabilities, we capture, store and manage your data and most importantly convert it into value.

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