Demand for antimicrobial fibres, textiles and apparel is expected to grow in a big way, says Textiles Intelligence in its issue on Performance Apparel Markets. Demand will be spurred primarily by growing awareness among consumers about the importance of personal hygiene and health risks posed by certain microorganisms.
Also, the promotion of healthier and more physically active lifestyles will drive demand, as consumers look to purchase sportswear and fitness apparels with antimicrobial properties. Moreover, greater use of fabrics, particularly cotton, which are prone to harbouring large bacterial colonies will present opportunities for antimicrobial fibres, textiles and apparel, the report said.
It further added that between 2013 and 2018, the global market for antimicrobial agents for all end uses, including textiles, is forecast to grow by nearly 12 per cent, per annum. However, there is concern among consumers that some agents used to provide textiles and apparels with antimicrobial properties -- notably silver nanoparticles and triclosan, are toxic. Such agents can become dislodged from a textile during laundering and thereby pollute water sources. Also, they can come into contact with the skin and cause skin irritation.
Amid these concerns, manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to develop effective and durable antimicrobial technologies which are less likely to be harmful to human health and the environment and which comply with environmental certifications. As a result of such developments, antimicrobial products which are likely to record the strongest gains in sales over the coming years will be those that offer the highest efficacy and durability while posing little or no threat to the safety of consumers or the environment, report said.