A scientific review of the past 100 years of literature found no credible evidence that wool is an allergen.
Although wool is commonly believed to be an irritant (non-immune) and cause hypersensitivity (immune) cutaneous reactions, the evidence base for this belief and its validity for modern garments have not previously been critically examined.
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 comprehensive review found no credible evidence wool is an allergen, and concluded that if a fabric does cause sensations of itch and prickle, it is because of the large diameter of the fibres and not due to the fibre type being wool.
Importantly, the review found that skin irritation from garments is due to the incidence of coarse fibres protruding from the fabric (i.e. diameters greater than 30 micron) and that this cause is independent of fibre type. Skin irritation can just as readily be caused by coarse nylon or polyester fibres as by coarse wool fibres.
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