But chemists at Oregon State University have discovered new compounds based on manganese that should address all of those concerns. They are safer to produce, much more durable, and should lead to more environmentally benign blue pigments than any being used now or in the past. They can survive at extraordinarily high temperatures and don't fade after a week in an acid bath.
"Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity and durability," Subramanian said.
The pigment may eventually find uses in everything from inkjet printers to automobiles, fine art or house paint, researchers say.