Bug-killing paint? Doesnt that mean the bugs drown in the stuff? Not anymore!
Nick Leiber had an article in Bloomberg Businessweek entitled, Killing Bugs by Painting Your House (5/21/125/27/12, pp. 5558). Leiber reports on some amazing new paint formulations that help kill bugs after the paint is dry.
Spanish Ph.D. chemist, Pilar Mateo, came up with the formulation and the microencapsulation technology while working for her fathers paint company, Industrias Quimicas Inesba. The technology involves microencapsulation of insecticides within the paint. The microencapsulation is designed so the insecticide releases extremely slowly over several years. The slow release renders the insecticide harmless to humans because of its exterior application. Nevertheless, the low concentrations are devastating to bugs, including mosquitoes that so often carry malaria and dengue.
Mateos original inspiration is humanitarian. She hopes to see the paint used in such locations as Latin America and Africa where nets and sprays have not been as effective as needed. Leiber summarizes Mateos positive progress:
The paint is already approved for use in 15 countries, including China, Germany, and Spain. Mateo is seeking approval in the U.S. and a recommendation from the World Health Organization. Her idea is to sell it as an affordable alternative to sprays. (p. 56)
It will be very interesting to follow the development of this paint. I think this technology holds much promise not only for disadvantaged areas of the world, but for the American consumer market too. What homeowner wouldnt want to paint his or her house, and as a bonus, gain a multiyear, potent bug barrier?
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