Scientists at the University of York have made a discovery that seems almost too amazing to be true — waste from LCD televisions can be used to treat infections. A team of researchers at the Department of Chemistry at the University of York have found a way to transform polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) — a key element of LCD television sets — into an anti-microbial substance that kills infections. Apparently PVA is quite compatible with human tissue and can be used for a number of other medical initiatives as well. Electronic waste is a huge problem across the world, and any way to recycle it into beneficial new forms is a plus in our book!
Electronics waste is a huge health and environmental issue. While some waste is thrown away, enters the landfill and poisons the water table, most of it is shipped to developing nations where people try to salvage what they can from what is left. It causes huge health concerns — as we’ve reported before — for large groups of people, especially children. LCD screens are becoming more widespread and have been reported as the largest category of waste in the European Union. Any breakthrough in understanding how to re-use their parts will make a huge difference.
Dr. Andrew Hunt of the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and the York Liquid Crystal Group is presenting the University’s findings at the 14th Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Washington DC today. “We can add significant value this waste. By heating then cooling the PVA and then dehydrating it with ethanol we can produce a high surface area mesoporous material that has great potential for use in biomedicine,” Dr. Hunt told Science Daily. They are hoping to be able to incorporate the substance in hospital cleaning products where it will help prevent the spread of infection by killing bacteria.
Via Science Daily