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Targeting ticks and bedbugs through eco-friendly textile materials - Dec. 10, 2013

Targeting ticks and bedbugs through eco-friendly textile materials - Dec. 10, 2013

A newly launched EU project seeks to combat the negative health consequences of the increasing populations of ticks and bedbugs in Europe. It hopes to achieve this through the development of protective, biodegradable textile materials. 

Population levels of ticks and particularly bedbugs have been steadily on the rise in Europe over the past decade - in part due to climate change - as well as a result of increased global migration, changes in insecticide use patterns and reduced insecticide susceptibility of the bedbugs. 

As a consequence, the development of a protective, natural material in line with EU-authorised biocide standards brought together a consortium of ten partners, in collaboration under the BETITEX project. The team are focusing their design efforts in two key domains including SMEs in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and domestic use in the form of home linen. 

Unlike bed bugs, which do not pose a serious threat to human health, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause diseases. A key concern of the BETITEX research revolves around the use of repellent spray. These sprays contain biocides that can result in higher protection against ticks and bedbugs, however, not all of them are accepted by the European Biocides Directive due to their toxicity and their environmental impact. To tackle this, the project will develop lab cultures of both bedbugs and ticks, alongside biocide efficacy testing of the insecticide-treated textiles. 

Although the textile and apparel industry is steadily waking up to demands to introduce sustainable production into the sector, the use of eco-friendly technologies is yet to be common place among manufacturers across the board. This is why members of the BETITEX consortium expect their results to contribute to the promotion of a greener and more competitive economy through the use of natural, biodegradable textile materials in combination with eco-friendly textile technologies. 

Set for completion in October 2016, BETITEX was awarded EUR 1.5 million under the current SME funding programme of the European Union.

Dec. 10, 2013