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Greener Diapers

November 29, 2017

A cornstarch based absorbent could lead to greener diapers.



Greener diapers.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

While at NC State University, Scott Bolin and two other students tried to develop a cornstarch-based powder to purify water. Instead, it kept absorbing the water. That failure inspired a new business plan: replace petroleum-based absorbents used in diapers with their biodegradable cornstarch product.


If you were to put cornstarch in water it would dissolve, and you would get this sort of creamy, watery substance. With our product, Tethex, if you hit it with water, it will turn into a very solid gel.


Bolin is now CEO of the company Tethis, which is delivering sample quantities of Tethex to diaper and sanitary pad companies. With billions of disposable diapers going into landfills each year, he says their biodegradable absorbent could reduce chemical pollution as well as dependency on petroleum products.  I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon