Published on October 8th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe1
Clothes that Scrub Pollution from the Air
What if your t-shirt could help fight pollution? A new laundry additive called CatClo could help your wardrobe clean the air as you go about your day to day!
CatClo uses titanium dioxide nanoparticles to absorb nitrogen oxides from the air right into your clothing. The product – still in development – works after just one washing. Once a garment has been washed with CatClo, there’s no need to use it again. They have no smell and don’t change the feel of your clothes at all.
Professor Tony Ryan from the University of Sheffield told the from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council:
If thousands of people in a typical town used the additive, the result would be a significant improvement in local air quality. 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.
Not too shabby, right? The developers of CatClo are working with a green cleaning products manufacturer and hope to have CatClo on the market within a couple of years.
My only concern with this new technology is what the impact of those nanoparticles in our waste water would be. The makers of CatClo say that the captured nitrogen particles “break down harmlessly” either from your sweat or in the next wash, but they don’t talk about the excess CatClo that washes down the drain or how the broken-down nitrogen particles interact with the ecosystem.
I remember when colloidal silver was a hip laundry additive, because it’s antibacterial, so you can wear your clothes more times without washing to save water. It turns out that this technology had unintended consequences: disrupting fragile ecosystems and causing problems at wastewater treatment plants. I’m not saying that CatClo will necessarily have similar problems, but before we tout it as a green solution, we definitely need to see more research on the wastewater from laundry washed in this product.
What do you guys think about CatClo? Would you use this on your clothes, or do the unknowns give you pause?
Image Credit: Pollution Scrubbing Clothing photo via Shutterstock