From San Francisco, at the spring national meeting of the American Chemical Society
Sock science marches on. Last year, researchers at the University of California, Davis and HaloSource Corp. in Seattle developed a treatment that makes white cotton fabric a death zone for disease- and odor-causing bacteria (SN: 9/11/99, p. 170). Consumers could soon see athletic socks made of the fabric, which is laced with compounds called N-halamines.
The treatment lasts through 50 washings, but its activity has to be refreshed with bleach during each wash. That's fine for textiles used in medical settings because they're sterilized before each use, anyway. Consumers, on the other hand, find it very inconvenient to bleach their whites every time they do laundry, and bleach and colored clothes don't mix, says Gang Sun, the UC-Davis researcher who led the work.