Japanese suit that fights flu

Suit 1496431F
Big year for flu suit fashion… In Japan –

The company has produced 50,000 of the suits and will start selling them on Thursday, according to a company spokesman. The suit is coated with the chemical titanium dioxide, which reacts to light to break down and kill the virus when it comes into contact with it, according to Junko Hirohata. The chemical is a common ingredient in toothpaste and cosmetics. The suit – which is indistinguishable from any other worn by Japan’s legion of “salarymen” – comes in four colours and styles, which are medium grey, charcoal, navy and a grey pinstripe.

4 thoughts on “Japanese suit that fights flu

  1. While part of the blurb about Ti02 is correct (it is used in cosmetics and toothpaste, and paint too), it’s function in these products is usually only as an opacifier. Its very white and inert. Its possible that it increases the light reflected between the strands of the fabric increasing the amount of light that hits any nasty germs (since UV will do a good job of killing lots of micro-organisms), the TiO2 itself isn’t really going to be doing anything chemically.

    What I have discovered from a quick look online is that TiO2 nano-particles can act as a photocatalyst, leading to all sorts of interesting affected, including inducing cell death in cancer cells. However, other papers also indicate that the amount of UV light required to activate (photo-excite) the TiO2 nano-particles exceeds that present in sunlight. So all up, I’d say treat this as a attempt to cash in on swine- and avian-flu hysteria, especially since its only going to be effective on germs that end up on your suit, not those sneezed out by the ailing person riding the bus next to you.

  2. TiO2 in the threads of your suit may sound cool, but it won’t do a thing to stop you from catching a virus. As Dustbuster says, you need a lot of UV light to get TiO2 to do anything useful, and if you had that much incident UV, then the light itself would probably disinfect the area (while simultaneously scorching any exposed skin).

    Fortunately, there’s a proven, cheap, and surprisingly effective way to ward off H1N1 as well as seasonal influenza and a slew of other viral infections: vaccination. It’s probably the third most cost-effective disease prevention technology ever invented – only indoor plumbing and window screens save more lives per dollar than vaccines.

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