Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Treated Clothing Detoxifies Pesticides

Date:
March 24, 1999
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Clothes may soon be able to protect agricultural workers, or even weekend gardeners, from more than the sun. Scientists at the University of California in Davis say they have made cotton fabrics with built-in pesticide detoxifiers. They add that clothes made with the new material could be cleaned and the detoxifying chemicals reactivated simply by washing them with bleach.

ANAHEIM, Calif., March 23 -- Clothes may soon be able to protect agricultural workers, or even weekend gardeners, from more than the sun. Scientists at the University of California in Davis say they have made cotton fabrics with built-in pesticide detoxifiers. They add that clothes made with the new material could be cleaned and the detoxifying chemicals reactivated simply by washing them with bleach. The development was detailed today at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Related Articles


Past studies report that up to 97% of pesticides entering the body do so through the skin. Currently, workers exposed to high levels of pesticides must wear synthetic materials to block entry of pesticides. Because such clothing does not allow entry of air, they create heat stress. Workers exposed to lower levels of pesticide, therefore, have to choose between comfort and protection. In addition, today's protective clothing must be discarded after use, which can be costly and create additional environmental concerns.

"I had a chance to go to some of the strawberry fields in California," says University of California graduate student Louise L. Ko, "and you'd be surprised to see the harvesters just wear regular denim jeans and t-shirts," rather than wear the uncomfortable protective gear.

Ko and UC faculty advisor Gang Sun, Ph.D., decided to go beyond blocking the pesticides, trying instead to decompose them on contact. They grafted a chemical compound, called a hydantoin, to the surface of common cotton/polyester fabrics. Ko hoped "it would be breathable and comfortable, as well as giving (the field workers) some kind of protection." When armed with a chlorine atom and exposed to certain pesticides called carbamates, she says the activated compound "breaks down the pesticide into smaller, unharmful fragments."

After a day's work, garments made by this process could be tossed in the wash with chlorine bleach. "The small fragments will be washed away during the regular laundry process and, along with that, the active sites will be regenerated by the bleach," says Ko.

In laboratory tests, treated textiles took less than five minutes to degrade some carbamate pesticides by as much as 99%. Ko cautions, however, that this treatment has not been tested against organophosphorus pesticides, which account for a large portion of currently used pesticides.

Both carbamate and organophosphorus pesticides are used on a wide variety of field crops, such as corn and cotton, as well as on fruits vegetables. In 1995, the University of California says use of the carbamates aldicarb and methomyl in that state were most often on cotton and lettuce respectively. The organophosphorus pesticide malathion was most commonly used on alfalfa and strawberries.

Interestingly, the same chlorine-armed halamine compound that works against carbamate pesticides also seems to work as an antibacterial agent. The process to create the protective clothing has been patented and the technology purchased by Halosource Corporation of Seattle, Washington. This research was funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Treated Clothing Detoxifies Pesticides." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990324062226.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (1999, March 24). Treated Clothing Detoxifies Pesticides. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990324062226.htm
American Chemical Society. "Treated Clothing Detoxifies Pesticides." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990324062226.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins