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Allergies, Dust Mites and Feathers vs Synthetics

Myths and facts about feather bedding allergies

MYTH: Feathers aggravate asthma and allergies more than other bedding fills. This is not true. It is an unfortunate misconception and quite the opposite is, in fact, true.

Studies have found that synthetic pillows can have eight times more mites than feather pillows.

Feather pillows and duvets have been found to reduce wheezing in asthmatic children previously using synthetic alternatives.

Most people experiencing allergies to their bedding products are allergic to the common dust mite, and not to feathers.

Dust mites are present almost everywhere but higher concentrations of them can trigger allergic reactions.

Asthma sufferers can have attacks triggered by dust mites or the presence of fungi, both of which are more common in synthetic pillows.

Feather and down products are usually encased in tightly woven "downproof" fabric, this tight weave restricts entry of dust and dust mites.


1. Synthetic fillings having eight times as many dust mites. British Medical Journal, 1997
2. Feather pillows contain fewer fungal species than synthetic alternatives. University of Manchester Study, 2005
3. Synthetic-filled pillows a severe asthma risk. British Medical Journal, 1996
4. Frequent wheezing positively associated with synthetic bedding. American Academy of Paediatrics, 2004
5. Polyester fibre pillows better at harbouring dust mites than feather pillows. Journal Watch, 1996
6. Reduced risk of wheezing in children using feather pillows is confirmed. US National Library of Medicine & British Medical Journal, 1997 (registration required)

(Some of the above sources may require registration.) Please note that most of the above sources are genuine medical journal articles. If you, as a discerning customer, wish to verify these allergy statements on your own (and you should do) you are encouraged to search for trusted medical journal articles. There is certainly much material available proclaiming that feathers and down are the culprits behind bedding allergies but please check the source thoroughly as these claims are usually made by the synthetic / down-alternative industry.