Design: The Millennium Collection Nos 8 & 9: The Sylvan Corporation Anti-Asthmatic Pillow and Pertex Fibre
So far, more than 200 Millennium objects have been chosen for excellent design. This week we examine two associated products which together might eradicate the problem of dust mites, believed to be responsible for the allergens which aggravate asthma
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Friday 21 August 1998
His first attempt was a failure. Using a breathable material that lets vapour out but keeps air in, he created a sealed pillowcase to cover the pillow. But when he tried to rest his head on it, his head bounced off; because the pillowcase did not let air out, it was like an inflated balloon.
To overcome this problem, he created a new version with internal air sacs built into the covering. When the sleeper's head touches the pillow, instead of bouncing off it displaces air into the air sacs at the sides, and promises a dust-mite-free night.
The pillow is made by the Sylvan Corporation, which Walker runs in Manchester, and business has been brisk since it went on sale earlier this year. Now it has won a place in the Millennium Dome exhibition of 200 products for the year 2000. It will be featured alongside a fabric normally used to make weatherproof outdoor wear which has been adapted for use by asthmatics. Pertex is made from continuous-filament polyamide fibres that are finer than human hair. They are densely woven, so they prevent penetration of the dust mites, and can be used as protective sheets covering mattresses.
The fineness of the weave means that Pertex, made by Perseverance Mills, Lancashire, provides a natural barrier against the mites without the need for additional chemicals - which can themselves trigger an allergic reaction.
Around 2 million house dust mites live in the average mattress, feeding on dust. Their droppings contain allergens that are believed to aggravate asthma, but there is uncertainty about whether reducing the mites eases the symptoms.
A spokesman for the National Asthma Campaign says: "There is a shortage of medical research to show whether reducing dust mites really helps. We recommend sufferers to try different materials, synthetic and natural, to see what works for them."
The Sylvan Corporation (01706 712925); Perseverance Mills (01282 778711). Marks & Spencer sells Pertex duvets (pounds 100-pounds 150), mattress-protectors (pounds 79- pounds 95) and pillows (pounds 37 for two)
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Poldark star Heida Reed says show is not that racy: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
Glastonbury 2015: Coldplay will not headline but Florence Welch might play, says Emily Eavis
Kanye West drops 'All Day', music video to come from Steve McQueen
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'