Hardly rocket science, anyone who has been to a nightclub in the past thirty years would have noticed that white clothing fluoresces blue-white under UV lights (UV, Ultra Violet, Black Light, Woods Lamp, same thing). Particularly white cotton, including the white fibers in denim jeans.
Yet, Time Magazine says:
Dr. Gregory Smith wants people to know it’s not all in his head. According to the Gainesville, Ga., pediatrician, white fibers have been burrowing into his skin for the past two years, making him feel like he’s under constant bombardment from insects or cactus needles. Shine a black light on these fibers and they’ll fluoresce blue, he says, just like something you’d see in The Twilight Zone.
They are generally described by patients as white, but clinicians also report seeing blue, green, red, and black fibers, that fluoresce when viewed under ultraviolet light (Wood’s lamp).
It all started with Mary Leitao, who “showed the doctor how the fibers glowed under an ultraviolet light”.
So what’s going on here? Why does the MRF and their publicity department not know that practically all white clothing fibers fluoresce under UV light? Why do they keep repeating that their fibers fluoresce as if it’s something special?
If they can’t get that science right, something that is practically common knowledge, then what else might they have got wrong?
Here’s some white acrylic fibers at 200x, with normal and UV lighting.
Not like something out of The Twilight Zone, just normal clothing fibers.
Update (Aug 1st, 2006): For an explanation as to exactly WHY they fluoresce, see here: