Environmental Science

A simple, efficient way to purify water

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1339-1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6215.1339-g

Unsafe drinking water is a serious public health issue that affects many millions of people worldwide. Improved methods for purifying water have the potential to save many lives in the developing world, but they have to be affordable. Ehdaie et al. have developed a prototype ceramic tablet that, when added to a container, can purify 10 liters of water each day for more than 154 days. The tablet works by releasing silver ions, which effectively destroy bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, but are safe for humans at the levels released. These devices are comparatively cheap and easy to produce from sawdust, clay, and silver nitrate. Differences in clay composition can affect the tablet properties, so the approach still must be tested under real-world conditions.

Environ. Sci. Technol. 10.1021/es503534c (2014).

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