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— Environment

Food additive could find use in more efficient non-toxic antifreeze

By - March 27, 2015 1 Picture
Because of its sweet flavor and aroma, thousands of wild animals, pets and children are poisoned by drinking automotive antifreeze/coolant every year. Its particularly nasty ingredient is ethylene glycol, which affects the central nervous system, heart and kidneys to the point that it can ultimately prove lethal. Now, however, scientists from Colorado-based ACTA Technology, Inc. have replaced the ethylene glycol with another compound that's not only safe, but that also improves the performance of the antifreeze. Read More
— Science

Toxin-detection system inspired by turkeys

By - January 22, 2014 2 Pictures
Turkeys may not be everyone's idea of beautiful birds, but they certainly have colorful skin on their heads. What's more, that skin changes color with the animal's mood. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have now copied the process by which those color changes occur, and used it to create a biosensor that could be used to detect airborne toxins. Read More
— Military

Future military uniforms could automatically transform into hazmat suits

By - December 5, 2012 1 Picture
While there are already protective cover-all suits that offer protection against chemical and biological agents, it’s unrealistic to suggest that soldiers should carry such suits with them at all times, and hurriedly pull them on in the event of an attack. Instead, research teams from several institutions are developing something a little more practical – uniform fabric that automatically becomes impermeable to toxic substances, when it detects them in the area. Read More
— Electronics

Dip Chip biosensor uses microbes to instantly detect almost any toxic substance

By - May 16, 2012 1 Picture
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always give us immediate results. Additionally, they’re usually only able to test for specific substances, and not simply for “anything that’s toxic.” An experimental new device known as the Dip Chip, however, is said to address both of those problems. Read More
— Environment

Lab-in-a-briefcase designed to test for polluted soil, on the spot

By - July 8, 2011 1 Picture
In the same way that polluted water can be deceptively clear, polluted soil can just look like plain old dirt. Given the contaminants that can be left behind by gas plants, oil refineries and other industries, however, it's very important to check that the soil in an area isn't toxic, before building houses or growing crops there. Presently, soil samples have to be sent off to laboratories, where processing can take up to two weeks. British entrepreneur Ed Bell, however, has invented a briefcase-sized soil-testing unit that can be carried into the field, where it provides results within minutes. Read More
— Environment

LED bulbs not as eco-friendly as some might think

By - February 14, 2011 1 Picture
LED light bulbs are becoming increasingly popular with designers and consumers of green technology, as they use less electricity, last longer, and emit more light on a pound-for-pound basis than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, while it may be tempting to look at them as having solved the problem of environmentally-unfriendly lighting, researchers from the University of California would advise against such thinking. Read More
— Environment

Zeolite-based wood glues shown to absorb pollutants off-gassed from particleboard

By - January 14, 2011 1 Picture
It has been estimated that up to 85 percent of all wood materials (such as particleboard or plywood) contain adhesives that in turn contain formaldehyde, and the World Health Organization has classified formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to simply avoid eating those wood products – even the fumes given off by formaldehyde have been shown to pose a health hazard. Many people turn to keeping spider plants in their homes or offices, as they help neutralize airborne toxins, but now help could be coming from another source. German researchers have discovered that by adding special minerals to wood adhesives, those adhesives themselves can help clean the air. Read More
— Science

Artificial antibodies used in high-speed detection test to combat food poisoning

By - August 8, 2010 1 Picture
Anyone who has suffered the very unpleasant experience that is food poisoning will be happy to hear that researchers have developed technology enabling the high-speed detection of the toxic proteins that cause it. The new sensor was manufactured by employing a combination of artificial antibodies which capture these toxic proteins and a signal converter which converts those “capturing events” into optical signals. Read More
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