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Testing antimicrobial textile effects on skin

Industry News | July 1, 2013 | By:

Textiles that incorporate silver or other antimicrobials seemed to be a perfect fit for sports clothing worn close to the skin, preventing odors after strenuous, sweaty workouts. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, performed an extensive field study several years ago to ensure that skin’s natural flora were not adversely affected by antimicrobial fiber products. Recent media reports have re-opened the debate about whether antimicrobials are too strong for healthy skin flora. Conducting months of field trials for every new antimicrobial textile product is neither feasible nor economical, so the Hohenstein Institute developed a new test system that allows manufacturers to examine skin flora impacts during product development. An 18-hour wearing simulation pits the antimicrobial textile against an artificial skin material impregnated with several germ types from healthy human skin. If the difference between the number of germs on the artificial skin and on a control is insignificant, the antimicrobial textile is considered safe. The results can be advertised using the Hohenstein Quality Label “antibacterial and skin flora neutral.”

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