A new laundry detergent that coats clothing in pollution-eating nano-particles is on its way to store shelves. The “CatClo” detergent would expand the hot new trend in green fashion to those environmentally consciousness consumers who want to purify the air without buying from couture brands. “If thousands of people in a typical town used the additive, the result would be a significant improvement in local air quality,” said University of Sheffield Professor Anthony Ryan. “This additive creates the potential for community action to deliver a real environmental benefit that could actually help to cut disease and save lives. In Sheffield, for instance, if everyone washed their clothes in the additive, there would be no pollution problem caused by nitrogen oxides at all.”
So-called Catalytic Clothing utilizes “Nano-titania, or nanosized particles of titanium dioxide, [which] work as powerful catalyst agents that speed up the conversion of harmful NOx air pollutants to harmless byproducts that can be washed away with the rain,” explains Scientific American magazine.
The trend began at a chance meeting between Ryan and fashion designer Helen Story at SciArt, an initiative to bring scientists and artists together. The next step is to turn the product into a detergent. ”We’re now working closely with a manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning products to commercialize our laundry additive,” Ryan said.
The detergent might cost a bit more, but given the heavy toll that air pollution takes in asthma, cardiac and other diseases, Ryan says it’s worth the price. “We believe that using the additive in a final rinse with a full washing load could potentially cost as little as 10 pence [about 16 cents] – a small price to pay for the knowledge that you’re doing something tangible to tackle air pollution and increase the life expectancy of people with respiratory conditions. We’re confident there’s a really big market out there for this product.”
[Image Credit: Flickr User shining.darkness]