A Fabric That Sucks Up Secondhand Smoke

Overcome by secondhand smoke? The solution may be curtains for smokers. Tokyo-based Asahi Chemical Industry Co. says it has synthesized a polymer that bonds to such odor-causing elements as nicotine, aceto-aldehyde, and ammonium sulfide. Asahi says it has also learned how to bind the polymer to acrylic fabric.

Asahi's tests indicated one gram of the fabric can inhale the byproducts of 15,000 cigarettes and that treated fabric can go to the cleaners five times without losing potency. By 1996, Asahi hopes to sell 1,000 tons of the fabric per year to carpet, upholstery, and curtain makers. It costs an extra $1 a yard over untreated fabric.

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