Product added to laundry can clean city air


A leading fashion designer turned environmental scientist wants to clean up city pollution using no more than the clothing on your back. This may sound improbable but award-winning designer Prof Helen Storey is already at the point of transferring an advanced technology she calls “catalytic clothing” into widespread use.

“Catalytic clothing has the ability to purify the air around you using a product that you add to your laundry,” Prof Storey said. She was speaking ahead of her participation tomorrow in a Science Week event at the National College of Art and Design.

Working with Prof Tony Ryan at Sheffield University and others, her team has come up with a method for applying a titanium oxide-based catalyst to clothing.

The catalyst adheres to fabrics and in the presence of ultraviolet sun radiation and oxygen the catalyst is able to capture and break down pollutants. This includes nitric oxides and volatile organic compounds from city traffic,.

Modelling has shown that if many people use the product their clothing can have an impact on reducing these pollutants.

For this reason she does not want to protect it for financial gain given it is an “altruistic technology”. She wants all laundry detergent manufacturers to take the technology on board.

Prof Storey is currently a professor of fashion and science at the London College of Fashion.

* “Future Fashion: A conversation with Helen Storey, takes place tomorrow, noon-2pm, National College of Art and Design, Thomas Street, Dublin

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