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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2016-17
STRATEGIC TARGETS (continued) Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2016/17 3. Support development of product market opportunities in categories such as corporate wear, safety wear, medical product and infants wear. On target. Adoption of wool base-layers by emergency services in many countries. 4. Develop specifications for next-to-skin wear to improve reliability and consumer confidence in Merino base-layer garments. On target. Good progress has been made on developing a medical specification. KEY RESULTS DURING 2016/17 Skin health • A study was initiated in early 2017 in the US (Louisville, Kentucky) assessing the impact of superfine Merino base-layers on children and adult eczema sufferers and is now 25% complete. It is due for completion in mid-2018. • Potential other study sites to confirm wool is ‘globally’ beneficial include Germany and Hong Kong. • Publications: o ‘Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy.’ o ‘Determining Effects Superfine Sheep wool in Infantile Eczema.’ Sleep health • A sleep study comparing wool, cotton and polyester sleepwear in summer conditions is being conducted at Sydney University and is due for completion in November 2017. • Publication: o ‘Calibration and Validation Processes for Relative Humidity Measurement by a Hygrochron iButton.’ Market opportunities • A study assessing barriers to uptake of wool base- layers by emergency services was completed in October 2016. It was found that the plethora of flammability test methods used in different countries and the fact that these methods have not evolved and kept up with market trends towards lighter weight base layers garments did not favour wool. However, there were no major barriers, as reflected by the adoption of wool base-layers by emergency services in many countries. Next-to-skin specifications • Primary medical specifications for sensitive skin have been developed and work is progressing on developing secondary specifications. • The Wool ComfortMeter value was identified as a key component of the specification and the elevation of the WCM Test Method from a draft status to a full IWTO Test Method in May 2017 was an important milestone for the specification. • Publication: o ‘Proposed Primary Specifications for Non- irritant Wool Base Layer Fabrics.’ The findings of AWI-funded skin health research have generated much media interest, for example on Channel Nine news in July 2016. Rheannan Williams (left), with her two-year old daughter who suffers from eczema, said she was delighted with the therapeutic effects of wearing Merino wool on her daughter’s eczema: “The eczema was red, painful and blistery. But within two to three weeks of wearing wool it was unbelievable... her skin is clear... I would 100% recommend it, it’s amazing.” Rheannan’s daughter took part in an AWI-funded study of approximately 40 babies and young children under three years old, at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, that showed significant advantages of superfine Merino wool base-layers over cotton in ameliorating the symptoms of eczema. REPORT OF 2016/17 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION 33 A high-powered group of medical professionals from across the world have reviewed research papers published during the past 100 years to critically assess scientific studies claiming wool causes allergy. This new analysis found no evidence that wool is an allergen, and if a fabric does cause any sensations of itch and prickle on the skin then it is because of the large diameter of the fibres and not due to the fibre type being wool.
AWI Annual Report 2015-16