The American Down & Feather Council (ADFC) is “a section of the Home Fashion Products Association (HFPA).” Its members are companies which manufacture products using down and feathers or distribute, buy/sell, or process feathers and down. ADFC itself, as a national association, is a member of the International Down and Feather Bureau (IDFB), and its members have IDFB membership through ADFC.
The primary concern of the American Down & Feather Council is “to further the common interests of the down and feather products industry and to maintain and improve product quality.” This means adherence to national and international standards for down and feathers and accurate labeling of down & feather products. To this end, there are standards of compliance and testing to verify compliance.
Generally, standards for down and feathers and their use in consumer products have to do with
- Humane methods of obtaining the material,
- Sanitation of the material,
- No harmful chemicals or heavy metals on or in the material,
- Proper indentification of material and sources, and
- Allergen-free (hypoallergenic).
ADFC has a “labeling compliance program” for down and feather products. There are 10 areas of compliance: Down, Nestling Down, Plumule, Down Cluster, Species Identification, Fill Power, Oxygen Number, Turbidity, Filling Weight, and Thread Count.
- The first five are definitions of the terms for down and feathers.
- Species Indentification is properly identifying whether the down and/or feathers are from ducks or geese (or specific species of these), and the balance of blends.
- Fill Power and Filling Weight are physical properties of the material having to do with its support and density.
- The Oxygen Number and the Turbidity are measurements related to cleanliness of the down and feathers and the likely level of allergens in the material.
- Thread Count is the average count of the number of threads per inch in the weave of cover/ticking fabric
ADFC also has a list of labeling requirements. The label terms covered are:
- Down Products: 75% minimum down cluster – state percentage on label.
- Down and Feather Blend Products: Minimum down percentage listed (no tolerance) – for example, “50% Down/50% Feathers.”
- Feather Products: Goose and/or duck feathers must be minimum 80% to label as “Waterfowl Feathers.”
- Species: Minumum 90% of a species to be labeled as that species,
- Hypoallergenic Claims: Meet industry hypoallergenic standard of ≤ 48 Oxygen Number and ≥ 500mm Turbidity Level.
Standards testing for down and feathers and products using them is performed by laboratories certified by the International Down and Feather Bureau. These include IDFL Laboratory and Institute, Intertek Testing Services, Down and Feather Testing Laboratory, and Hohenstein Textile Testing Institute (co-founder of OEKO-TEX).
On its website, the American Down & Feather Council has information for both consumers and retailers. For consumers, it has “Factzzz on down and feather” – three downloadable information files:
- Down and Feather: Tips on Purchasing Down
- Down and Feather: The Healthy Choice for Allergy Sufferers
- Down and Feather: The Healthy Choice for Sweet Dreams
For retailers, ADFC says, “Feather and down used in bedding products are a byproduct of the food industry,” and has the link to a US Department of Agriculture document. Then they assert, “ADFC member companies do not support or condone illegal harvesting of feathers and down from live birds.”
ADFC lists seven Participating Members:
- Blue Ridge Home Fashions, Inc.
- Down Décor
- Eurasia Feather, Inc./Down, Inc.
- Hollander Sleep Products
- Pacific Coast Feather
- United Feather & Down, Inc.