Scientists at the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology at the Germany-based Hohenstein Textile
Testing Institute GmbH & Co. KG have developed a method that enables manufacturers to test a
fabric’s interaction with the wearer’s skin cells indicating its likelihood of causing an allergic
reaction or skin irritation.
“With this science, we can confirm for manufacturers that their textile products will perform
as designed,” said Dr. Dirk Höfer, director, the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology. “For
products marketed to a sensitive consumer segment such as children’s wear, intimate apparel,
bedding, medical devices and textiles, and products for people with allergies, this added
reassurance that fabrics will not cause adverse skin reactions will provide a significant
Textiles are tested against two criteria: first, the testing determines whether the fabric
causes chemical damage to the human skin cells; then it verifies the fabric does not trigger a
stressful response from the skin cells, which would signify a potential allergic reaction.
Manufacturers whose products pass both tests can market them as hypoallergenic fabrics that will
not irritate sensitive users.
June 17, 2009