Yep, you read it right – University of Sheffield researchers have created an artificial blood product based on plastics that could be used in emergency transfusions. The plastic blood is a long life concentrate that can be diluted with water, making it a lighter product suitable for battlefields and transporting into remote areas etc.
It’s a great idea at face value, particularly given that human blood has a shelf life of just over a month and needs constant refrigeration. The plastic blood is stable at room temperature and there’s also the benefit of having a product without the associated dangers of HIV and hepatitis contamination. Less risk, less waste and less energy.
What is a concern is that here we have yet another product requiring crude oil in the production process. That’s somewhat of an assumption, but the press release didn’t mention anything about the plastic component consisting of bioplastic; i.e. a form of plastic derived from plant sources.
I’m not trying to be puritanical here, but at some point in time very soon, we’re going to need to decide what we wish to use remaining crude oil reserves for. So many products are reliant on crude as part of the production and delivery process. Much of our food is quite literally saturated in crude oil products.
Crude oil plays a major part in just about everyone’s lives… and like a drug, our addiction to it is killing us and the natural environment.