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Metals Roundup

February 24, 2006

Metals are essential to our modern lifestyle. But there’s a finite amount in the earth, and we seem to be on the fast track to running out.


Is there enough metal to go around? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If we could mine every ounce of metal from earth’s crust, we still wouldn’t have enough to bring the whole world up to a Western lifestyle. This according to a new study from Yale. They add that the average use of these metals continues to rise, and some of the rarer ones, like platinum, risk depletion within the century.

In pretty much unrelated news, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Great Britain are developing the world’s first self cleaning bathroom. It involves embedding microscopic particles of titanium dioxide into bathroom surfaces. When activated by light, the particles act like super-powerful bleach, cleaning and disinfecting. For now, it’s still in the lab, but the team hopes to move the technology into the bathroom within a year.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.