So, I don’t know about you, but I really don’t care how good Oxy-Clean works, the grating sound of Billy Mays’ voice is enough to keep me from spending money on it. Whenever he appears on my TV, I am always thankful that I have a working “mute” feature.
Anyway – I came across an article today that made me think that Billy perhaps is more sinister than I’d supposed. As it turns out, he (and the product he schills for) can help criminals get away with murder. Literally.
We’ve probably all watched enough CSI like procedurals to know that investigators can swab or spray a stain and determine if it’s blood. These tests rely on a chemical detection of the oxidation of the heme group* in (you guessed it) hemoglobin (the major protein in red-blood cells). Actually, it's oxygen bound to the heme in hemoglobin that makes your blood red.
As it turns out, researchers in Germany have shown that Oxy-Clean (and other “oxygen” detergents, actually they use sodium percarbonate, but that’s another matter…) “oxidize the hell” out of the heme** in hemoglobin so much so that the chemical tests can no longer detect it. In fact, the researchers are next looking into whether Oxy-Clean will damage DNA and make it “un-recoverable” from a crime scene.
So there you have it. I can just hear Billy now… “Blood stains from murdering your spouse?? NO PROBLEM!! Clean that problem away with OXY-CLEAN!!”
* Coincidentally, I wrote my PhD dissertation around experiments on a heme-containing protein, cytochrome c. It’s the penultimate protein in the eukaryotic respiratory chain, you know.
** That's "haem" for you, Hannah.