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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2015-16
STRATEGY 6: FIBRE ADVOCACY AND ECO-CREDENTIALS STRATEGY 6 RESOURCES DURING 2015/16 $1,099,000 project expenditure + 1.7 AWI staff (full time equivalent) PROGRAM 1: FIBRE ADVOCACY INVESTMENT FOCUS Investment activities will largely involve partnership with credible research institutions around the globe in conduct of consumer-based research evaluating the comparative benefits of wool in the areas of: • Sleep quality and quantity – sleeping on or under wool bedding, or in wool (sleepwear). • Dermatology – challenging the widespread misconception that wool is an allergen, and demonstrating that suitably selected fine Merino products are healthy for the skin, especially for those with the most sensitive skin. • Flammability – demonstration of wool’s inherent flame retardance properties in support of product development and marketing opportunities. As a complement to these efforts, investments will address the development of technical specifications for trading and assurance of product qualities where these address wellness attributes of wool products. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2013/14 to 2015/16 Progress during 2015/16 Complete and communicate to technical and trade audiences research that: Unequivocally demonstrates that wool is not an allergen. Achieved. A review of historical literature claiming wool allergy has been undertaken by eminent skin health specialists challenging the credibility of historical studies and demonstrating there is in fact no credible evidence for allergy to wool. The paper will be submitted for publication in the Journal Allergy. Demonstrates the role of fine Merino base-layers in ameliorating chronic skin conditions associated with microclimate management of the skin, such as Atopic Dermatitis. Achieved. Clinical studies have been undertaken and scientific papers have been submitted for publication demonstrating that Atopic Dermatitis sufferers derive substantial benefit from wearing properly specified next-to- skin wool garments. Supports the recognition of wool bedding as part of a healthy night’s sleep, and development of Merino sleepwear and maternity-wear markets. Ongoing. The favourable outcome of an initial study of the effect of Merino sleepwear on sleep health has been published. A more comprehensive clinical study of wool sleepwear is under way at Sydney University. Supports development of product market opportunities in categories such as corporate wear, safety wear, medical products and infantswear. Ongoing. A project has been initiated to enhance wool’s access to base-layer garment markets for emergency services and the military. Existing flammability standards have not kept up with advances in textile processing technology and now present a barrier to the adoption of wool in these markets. KEY RESULTS DURING 2015/16 Skin health: • Two clinical studies assessing the skin health benefits of superfine Merino wool have been completed with the successful findings documented and planned for publication in high rating dermatological journals. • Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is described as approaching epidemic levels in Western nations, with up to 28% of all children born in Australia falling somewhere on the AD scale. Sufferers of AD have more sensitive skin than the rest of the population, yet properly specified wool base-layer garments have been found to be therapeutic for them. A study of babies and young children at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne showed significant advantages of wool clothing over cotton in ameliorating the symptoms of AD. The beneficial impacts of wool have been reported at dermatology conferences in Australia, Brazil and France and have generated recent media interest. A parallel study of adolescent and adult sufferers of AD in Brisbane by the Queensland Institute of Dermatology (QID) has confirmed the beneficial findings and the associated paper will shortly be submitted for publication. • A literature review of wool as a cause of Allergy has been undertaken by a team of eminent medical experts (immunologists, dermatologists and allergists) leading to a scientific paper challenging the historical understanding of wool as a cause of allergy. This paper will be submitted for publication in the journal Allergy. • The combination of these skin health studies of eczema and allergy will enable strongly held consumer perceptions of wool as prickly to wear and a cause of allergy to be challenged. A communications and marketing plan has been prepared to effectively take this message to target markets. REPORT OF 2015/16 OPERATIONS – OFF-FARM R&D 27
AWI Annual Report 2014-15
AWI Annual Report 2016-17