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Antimicrobial fibres, textiles & apparels demand to go up
Mar '14
Demand for antimicrobial fibres, textiles and apparel is set for strong growth, according to Textiles Intelligence.
Demand will be spurred primarily by growing awareness among consumers of the importance of personal hygiene and the health risks posed by certain microorganisms.
Also, the promotion of healthier and more physically active lifestyles will buoy demand as consumers look to purchase sportswear and fitness apparel with antimicrobial properties.
Moreover, the greater use of fabrics, particularly cotton, which are prone to harbouring large bacterial colonies will present opportunities for antimicrobial fibres, textiles and apparel.
Between 2013 and 2018, the global market for antimicrobial agents for all end uses, including textiles, is forecast to grow by nearly 12% per annum.
However, there is concern among consumers that some agents used to provide textiles and apparel with antimicrobial properties -- notably silver nanoparticles and triclosan -- are toxic. Such agents can become dislodged from a textile during laundering and thereby pollute water sources. Also, they can come into contact with the skin and cause skin irritation.
Amid these concerns, manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to develop effective and durable antimicrobial technologies which are less likely to be harmful to human health and the environment and which comply with environmental certifications.
As a result of such developments, antimicrobial products which are likely to record the strongest gains in sales over the coming years will be those that offer the highest efficacy and durability while posing little or no threat to the safety of consumers or the environment.
Consequently, the market for natural antimicrobial compounds -- although still in its infancy -- is likely to expand given the growing interest in environmentally friendly products among consumers and a tightening of the regulations which govern the use of many common biocides.
Environmentally sustainable antimicrobial technologies have been developed by a number of manufacturers.
Dow Chemical Company has produced a silver-based antimicrobial technology, called Silvadur, which does not release silver particles into the environment. In addition, Silvadur is said to help reduce the amounts of energy and water used by textile processing plants.
In a similar vein, Sanitized has developed a range of antimicrobial products, called Sanitized, which comply with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 -- which certifies that they are free from harmful substances.
Also, Quick-Med Technologies has developed a technology called Stay Fresh, and claims that this is the only hydrogen peroxide based antimicrobial technology approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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