Science: Something in the Air

Girls getting off their rush-hour buses in downtown Jacksonville one morning last week noticed that the sidewalks were covered with particles of soot, which swirled up around their ankles. Hundreds looked down and found their nylons suddenly streaked with runs.

Dr. W. W. Rogers, city health officer, went into action. The slaughter of nylons, he decided, was probably caused by acid-laden soot from low-grade fuel oil.

Next day the DuPont Co., maker of nylon, issued a somewhat huffy communique. Strong acids "degrade" (weaken) nylon yarn, and soot particles sometimes contain enough sulphuric acid to do the deed. But it does not happen often....

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