This Breakthrough Book About Water Safety Can Filter 4 Years Worth of Clean Water

by Rachel Baker on May 9, 2014

I know this really has nothing to do with reading a book, but it was too cool not to post.

I remember many years ago, the Rotary Club here took on the project to get clean water to third world communities around the world. While it was a worthwhile project, there was only so many places they could touch.

This is one of the most exciting inventions I’ve seen in a long time. The water filtration book would save a lot of lives and decrease the spread of waterborne diseases. Its being field tested later this year and will hopefully be commercially viable by next year.

In developing countries, clean drinking water is not a given. According to the World Health Organization, every year, around 3.4 million people die from water-related illnesses. To put it in perspective: That’s roughly equivalent to Los Angeles’ entire population. Accessing clean water often means waiting in line for a truck to haul it to you, boiling it (an energy-hungry option) or running it through a ceramic filter (expensive). But the truth is, more often than not people don’t clean it at all.

A new project from the Water Is Life organization is looking to simplify the purification process with a high-design solution. The Drinkable Book, as it’s called, looks like something you’d keep on your coffee table, but it’s actually a full-on water purification system.

Each page is its own little filter that can clean up to 100 liters of water (that’s around a 30-day supply). This means each book can provide a single person with up to four years of clean water. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and University of Virginia developed a special kind of paper that’s coated in silver nanoparticles, which kill bacteria. “Some socks use silver nanoparticles to prevent fungus from growing on athletes’ feet,” explains chemist Theresa Dankovich, the project’s lead scientist who has been researching this process since 2008.

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