GOOD

This ‘Drinkable Book’ Is Saving Lives by Purifying Water, One Page at a Time

Researchers have created a new, high-tech paper that can clean contaminated drinking water while educating users on safe sanitation.

image via youtube screen capture

Unsafe drinking water is a major problem across the globe. Millions of people each year are exposed to–and suffer the ill effects of–any number of infectious diseases breeding in contaminated wells and water sources. The adverse effects of unsafe water hits those living in rural poverty the hardest, with nearly one out of every nine people on Earth lacking access to clean, safe drinking water. Thousands die every day, as a result.


That’s where Dr. Theresa Dankovich comes in. Dr. Dankovich is the inventor of The Drinkable Book, a deceptively simple-looking publication indended for communities lacking clean water. The book is full of important health tips regarding water sanitation, all of which is printed on a special form of silver particle-infused paper (dubbed “pAge Drinking Paper”), which can reportedly filter 99.9 percent of biological contaminants out of filthy water. In other words, once a person is done learning about how to protect themselves from waterborne bacterial infection, they can tear a page out of the drinkable book and use that very paper as a filter to create weeks of clean water for themselves.

Per The Drinkable Book’s FAQs, the ideal solution for contaminated water would be the proliferation of wastewater treatment plants, coupled with an extensive water-pipe network. Unfortunately, in communities where those infrastructure-heavy developments are simply not an immediate option, The Drinkable Book offers an effective alternative, due to its simplicity, portability, and low production costs.

The book came about through an ongoing partnership with the Water is Life organization, who helped expand Dr. Dankovich’s revolutionary pAge technology into the Drinkable Book as it exists is today. The book has undergone field testing in Ghana, Haiti, and Kenya. This past June, Dankovich partnered with the nonprofit International Enterprises (iDE)-Bangladesh to explore wider application of this potentially life-saving technology.

image via youtube screen capture

To date, explains The Drinkable Book’s website, each sheet of pAge drinking paper has been created, by hand, by Dr. Dankovich, herself. As that’s not a particularly efficient method, the company has set a goal of scaling up to machine manufacturing capable of producing twenty five thousand pAge filters–enough for a thousand Drinkable Books. The company is also looking to increase their field testing, as well as transition to more image-based content for the books themselves, in order to ensure their message is able to be understood as easily as possible.

Speaking with Phys.org, Dankovich is unambiguous about her expectations for her Drinkable Books: “Along with applications, our biggest current focus is to scale up, going from a lab bench experiment to a manufactured product. We have to go from 'cool chemistry' to something everyone can understand and use.”

[via phys]

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