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Wed Jan 18, 2023, 09:44 PM

Scientists Bred an All-Natural Flame-Resistant Cotton

Daily Beast
Maddie Bender
Published Jan. 18, 2023 2:00PM ET 

If gas stove discourse has exposed you to the wonderful world of everyday exposures to environmental pollution, might I suggest another culprit that is guaranteed to get your knickers in a twist? Flame retardants are chemicals that are used to treat every manner of household item, from mattresses to electronics to building insulation to the clothes on your back. They slow the spread of fire, but at a cost: In recent years, scientists have tied these chemicals (of which there are hundreds) to immune disruption; reproductive harm; cancer; fetal development issues; and neurologic dysfunction.

And that’s all before a fire actually starts. Firefighting foam used to extinguish blazes may contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), so-called forever chemicals that can be toxic to humans.

In a surprising development within the field of materials science, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have created a kind of cotton that naturally self-extinguishes when set on fire. And they did it by interbreeding existing lines of cotton, meaning that farmers can grow this cotton without a lengthy approval process. A study describing this new line of cotton was published on Jan. 18 in the journal PLoS ONE.

“This is the unexpected cherry on top of a long, fruitful and still ongoing USDA project involving many scientists, years and locations,” Gregory Thyssen, a cotton chemistry researcher at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, told The Daily Beast in an email. While researchers have previously identified natural flame retardant properties in brown-colored cotton, “The new study is the first report of a white cotton line with the property,” he said.


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Reply Scientists Bred an All-Natural Flame-Resistant Cotton (Original post)
Wicked Blue Jan 18 OP
TheRealNorth Jan 18 #1
Warpy Jan 18 #2

Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Wed Jan 18, 2023, 10:05 PM

1. Hopefully, whatever chemical this plant is producing....

Isn't carcinogenic, highly toxic, etc.

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Response to TheRealNorth (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 18, 2023, 10:14 PM

2. I hope not

I have a rug woven of naturally colored cotton--light brown, light green, off white--on my bedroom floor, one I wove about 20 years ago.

It's nice to know the brown part won't catch on fire.

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