Click to go to Forum Home Click to go to maXbimmer Home

Go Back   maXbimmer Forums > Misc > Off-topic
User Name
Password


Welcome to Maxbimmer.com!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-20-2006, 05:09 PM   #1
MarkD
Banned
 
MarkD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In Your DME!
Posts: 2,414
High school senior discovers ironing deactivates anthrax



This article can be found here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib.../s_425621.html

Protecting yourself from biological weapons might be as simple as using a hot clothes iron.
Through a project for a statewide science competition, Central Catholic High School senior Marc Roberge discovered truth in the urban legend that ironing can kill anthrax spores in contaminated mail.

His findings will appear in the June edition of the Journal of Medical Toxicology, which publishes peer-reviewed research papers. It is an accomplishment usually reserved for Ph.D.-level scientists and physicians.

"He's just 17. I was 35 before I had my first publication," said Roberge's father, Dr. Raymond Roberge, a medical toxicologist who works for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in South Park. "This is just amazing to me."

Marc Roberge's idea for his Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences project -- which won first place at regional and state events last year -- came after the 2001 bioterrorism attack in which letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two U.S. senators. Anthrax infections killed five people. The crimes remain unsolved.

Anthrax mail scares still occur periodically. Last week, a letter containing a mysterious white powder and addressed to Americans triggered an anthrax alert at a NATO center in Norway, the Associated Press reported.

Anthrax spores, covered by a hard protective shell, can fatally infect people who inhale them deep into the lungs.

On Oct. 12, 2001, a former Soviet germ warfare specialist told members of a U.S. Congressional committee that people could use a hot steam iron through a moist layer of fabric to kill anthrax spores in mail.

This comment spawned debate about whether conventional household irons would work against the deadly agent. During a CNN interview four years ago, a reporter asked Dr. Roberge if the report was accurate.

"My response was to her was that high heat could kill anthrax, but I didn't know if a household iron would work, since no studies had been done," he said.

Roberge discussed the topic over dinner that night with his son, who decided to investigate it for his Academy of Sciences project, required as part of his Advanced Placement biology course.

For his experiments -- conducted in the family's Highland Park home and at Central Catholic in Oakland -- Marc Roberge did not use actual anthrax.

"The government might have had a little problem with that," he said.

Instead, he substituted a more heat-resistant but harmless bacterial spore from the anthrax family that scientists often use as a surrogate.

Marc Roberge placed paper strips laden with millions of spores inside standard envelopes, and then ironed the mail at various dry heat settings for up to 15 minutes.

He found that an iron adjusted to the hottest setting -- at least 204.5 degrees Celsius, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit -- and used for at least 5 minutes destroyed all spores so no bacteria would grow. The iron didn't open the letters or make pen-written addresses hard to read, Roberge said.

"When the anthrax attacks happened, I thought, 'There's got to be a way to stop this,'" he said. "I just never thought it would be so easy."

Based on Roberge's findings, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center bioterrorism expert Dr. Michael Allswede doesn't recommend that people routinely press their mail.

"But should there be another threat like the anthrax attacks in 2001, it would be one of the techniques that could be used by regular people," he said.
MarkD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2006, 05:18 PM   #2
sirex
King Sirex
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 9,850
Like wow...... they make it seem as if scientists/ people didn't know that heat denatures proteins and enzymes rendering most cells useless.

204.5 degrees celsius is hot enough to kill any bacteria/spore/virus.

Im really not wowed at all.

The soviets were smart enough to know that the Ironining works so long ago, and yet US relies on a 17 year old to re-peat something that was already talked about.

Last edited by sirex; 02-20-2006 at 05:23 PM.
sirex is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Maxbimmer Copyright 2001 - 2015