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Which is more prone to cause allergies — synthetic fibers, or down products? Should I buy down products?

Common allergies such as skin reactions (eczema) or asthma consist of prolonged inflammation of skin or lung tissue caused by exposure to allergens. Some of the most common types of allergens are dust mite excrement, pollen, and pet dander. For many people, certain foods such as peanuts, nuts, seafood, or shellfish may also cause serious allergic reactions. Here, we will briefly discuss the relationship between allergies, synthetic fibers, and down products. In addition, we will examine the circumstances under which down products are not suitable for consumers prone to allergies.

In the past, people used to think that down materials were a type of agricultural waste which would include trace amounts of blood and dust due to the collection process and also stimulate mite growth when compared to products made of synthetic fibers due to the fact that down is made up of proteins. As a result, a common misconception formed that down was inappropriate for use by children, and products made of synthetic fibers tended to be recommended for use by children instead. However, allergies are actually caused by a variety of factors, and significant advances have been made over the years in the washing process for down materials during the final stage of production. In addition, all down processing plants utilize high temperature sterilization. Hence, many researchers now doubt the old assumptions about the allergy risks of down. Over the past 40 years, numerous studies have dispelled the belief that down bedding leads to asthma; in other words, the frequency of allergies and asthma is not higher for down products compared to products made from synthetic fibers.


Two landmark studies demonstrating these assertions is provided below:

In a study conducted at the Australian National University to assess the correlation between asthma, feather bedding, and dust mites in children, 197 children with dust mite allergies were divided into two groups. One of the groups used feather bedding and the other group used bedding made of synthetic fibers. Then, over a one year period, the frequency of skin allergies and the number of asthma episodes during sleep were recorded. The results indicate that no significant difference was found between the two groups, and the study concluded that there is no difference in the incidence of allergies or asthma between children who used bedding made from synthetic fibers or down. For more information, please consult the full text of the study: Feather bedding and childhood asthma associated with house dust mite sensitization: a randomized controlled trial.

(2) In Norway, feather bedding was long considered a major source of allergens and also a primary risk factor for developing allergies. In recent years, however, cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that the risk of developing allergies is in fact higher among users of synthetic fibers compared to feathers. In a study conducted at the Buskerud University College, in Norway, a total of 2,531 children were selected from generations born in Oslo and then divided by age into two groups — 0 to 2 years old and children aged around 4 years old — and the groups used feather bedding and non-feather bedding, respectively. The effects of the bedding on bronchi and the risks of developing asthma and allergic rhinitis were then compared between these children, and the results demonstrated that the risks of non-feather bedding were higher. Therefore, the results of this study appear to suggest that use of feather bedding does not increase the risk of allergic rhinitis and asthma in children. In conclusion, the researcher added the word “appear”. For more information, please consult the full text of the study: The use of a feather quilt, childhood asthma and allergic rhinitis: a prospective cohort study.


So, if you like down products, you don’t have to worry about allergies — the risk is no greater than synthetic fibers. After extended use, mites can to grow on any product that accumulates dander, oil, or fat. If you still have any concerns, always choose products made using mite-proof down produced by Kwong Lung and clean the product periodically. Double insurance provides peace of mind and ease of use. You can enjoy the lightweight and thermal insulation functions of down without having to worry about allergies caused by dust mites.