I have not yet had the good fortune of getting poison ivy, and now perhaps I never will. A new spray that lights up in the presence of the oil that causes the rash might let me bail on that particular party should I ever be invited.
Rebecca Braslau, a professor of chemistry at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has concocted a nontoxic spray that goes fluorescent in the presence of urushiol, the oily sap on poison ivy leaves that can make life extremely unpleasant for you and your skin.
Braslau and colleagues describe their innovation in a recent issue of The Journal of Organic Chemistry. Their paper, titled "Urushiol Detection Using a Profluorescent Nitroxide," might just as well be called "Spray This Stuff on to Maybe Avoid Scratching Yourself Silly." … Read more