Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Designer Clothes That Repel Mosquitos

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Designer Clothes That Repel Mosquitos

Article excerpt

A Cornell University scientist and an apparel designer from Africa have together created a fashionable hooded bodysuit embedded at the molecular level with insecticides for warding off mosquitoes infected with malaria, a disease estimated to kill 655,000 people annually on the continent.

Though insecticide-treated nets are common in African homes, the Cornell prototype garment can be worn throughout the day to provide extra protection that does not dissipate easily as skin-based repellants do. By binding repellant and fabric at the nanolevel, using metal organic framework molecules, the mesh fabric can be loaded with up to three times more insecticide than normal fibrous nets, which usually lose their protective quality after about six months.

"The bond on our fabric is very difficult to break," said Frederick Ochanda, postdoctoral associate in Cornell's Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design and a native of Kenya. "The nets in use now are dipped in a solution and not bonded in this way, so their effectiveness doesn't last very long."

The colorful garment, fashioned by Matilda Ceesay, a Cornell apparel design undergraduate from Gambia, debuted on the runway at the Cornell Fashion Collective spring fashion show on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York. It includes an underlying one-piece body suit, hand-dyed in vibrant hues of purple, gold, or blue, and a mesh hood and cape containing the repellant. The outfit is one of six in Ceesay's collection, which she said "explores and modernizes traditional African silhouettes and textiles by embracing the strength and sexuality of the modern woman. …

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