Dec. 24 - Washing clothes in a ground breaking substance could blast away pollution, according to a British scientist who's developped a substance to neautralise harmful gases. Joanne Nicholson reports.
Even dedicated followers of fashion will be able to do their bit for the environment once a groundbreaking washing powder gets to market. Fashion designer, Helen Storey and chemist, Tony Ryan have developed a substance that turns clothes into pollution busting garments. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TONY RYAN, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY AT SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY, AND CO-DEVELOPER OF CATCLO, SAYING: "I sat down and calculated the surface area of my suit in this really boring meeting I had to go to and when I came back I had the answer of how we could use low-grade energy. We'd turn people into catalyst supports, so that they were covered in catalyst and could wander around using light and the surface of their clothes to clean up." The product, called Catclo, sticks to clothing fibres when added to the wash. It then reacts with the light to neutralize airborne nitrogen oxides - the gases that cause harm to the environment. And unlike other inventors, the pair are refusing to patent their product. They say the technology should be free to anyone who wants to use it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TONY RYAN, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY AT SHEFFIELD UNIVERSITY, AND CO-DEVELOPER OF CATCLO, SAYING: "One way we could have done this was to go to a big brand - Levi's, Gap, G-Star, and say let's treat your jeans, let's make your jeans catalytic and clean up, and that would work. It would work really, really well. However, it wouldn't be effective because there aren't enough people doing it so to make this work you need about half the population in a city to be catalysed." Ryan's co-developer, Helen Storey, is a professor of fashion science at the London College of Fashion. She's been testing clothes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HELEN STOREY, PROFESSOR OF FASHION SCIENCE AT THE LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION, AND CO-DEVELOPER OF CATCLO, SAYING: "This piece has now been sprayed for about a year and I've been wearing these jeans for about two years and so far there's been no detrimental effect to the process, either of the handle of it or the wear or the colour of it. But a lot of those things are a very natural process of taking it from something like this, which you could call almost installation art to a product that's fit for market." Catclo, developed at Sheffield University in the UK, is being tested by cleaning products company, Ecover. And Ryan believes it could hit supermarket shelves within a year.