Fighting Air Pollution: As easy as getting dressed every morning?

4 Dec 2012

From across the pond comes an innovative product idea that could revolutionize the fight against pollution.  Scientists at the University of Sheffield and fashion designers from the London College of Fashion developed a liquid laundry additive called “CatClo” (catalytic clothing) which contains pollution-eating titanium dioxide (Ti02) nanoparticles. 

According to Scientists, catalytic clothing harnesses the power of a photocatalyst to break down air borne pollutants and in the course of an average day, one person wearing clothes treated with CatClo would be able to remove an amount of nitrogen oxides from the air roughly the equivalent to the amount produced by the average family car (5g).  Nitrogen oxides from cars aggravate asthma and other respiratory diseases, and cause other harmful processes such as ozone smog and acid rain. 

The nanoparticles grip to fabric very tightly so clothes only need to be washed in the CatClo additive once, while the treated pollutants, which are odorless and colorless, are removed harmlessly when the wearer sweats or when the clothes are next washed.

The research was featured as part of an exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art in New York this summer and more recently as part of the 2012 Manchester Science Festival.  It is thought that the technology could become a commercial reality in less than two years.

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