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Monday, August 17, 2015

the ' drinkable book ' - pages that can filter water making it pottable

That logo is unmistakably popular…  a few days ago,  reading a copy was associated with knowledge and those reading were considered a class in their own. It was costly, but second hand books on platforms still sell as hot cakes.  Its Indian edition was first published in 1954 and its circulation reportedly was 40,000 copies ~ it is the Reader’s Digest.  In 2013, its owners RDA Holding Co filed bankruptcy for the second time in less than four years, citing a greater-than-expected decline of the media industry.

Reading books [especially the printed version] is good – can you imagine that a book can change lives ? – no reference to the moral values, knowledge and understanding that a book can give !!

The books that have sold millions in recent times is ‘Harry Potter series’ – of JK Rowling, a British novelist  whose stories have become the basis for a series of films.  The title of the seventh and final Harry Potter book was announced in Dec  2006 as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, eventually released inJuly 2007.  It sold million copies in the first day of release in the United Kingdom and United States.   Though Harry Potter series has sold 450 million copies worldwide to date, before the first book was published, numerous publishers had turned the first book down.Barry Cunningham was the man who decided to take a gamble on J.K. Rowling after he and his daughter became enchanted by the story.With each book, the hype around the release became more and more intense.Adults and children alike queued in their thousands to get their hands on the latest instalment.

This is no post on popularity of Harry Potter books – more than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene- related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world – says a report of the  World Health Organization.This post is about a book – a ‘drinkable book’ !sounds strange !!!

The Drinkable Book™ is both a water filter and an instruction manual for how and why to clean drinking water.  This filter is patent pending technology and works to produce clean drinking water by pouring dirty water through a thick, sturdy sheet of paper embedded with silver nanoparticles, which are lethal for microbes.  This paper was created and shown to be highly antibacterial during Theresa’s Ph.D. at McGill University. 

BBC writes about this book with pages that can be torn out to filter drinking water has proved effective in its first field trials. The next stage is to test the books in larger trials where they are used by local residents.  The "drinkable book" combines treated paper with printed information on how and why water should be filtered.Its pages contain nanoparticles of silver or copper, which kill bacteria in the water as it passes through.In trials at 25 contaminated water sources in South Africa, Ghana and Bangladesh, the paper successfully removed more than 99% of bacteria.The resulting levels of contamination are similar to US tap water, the researchers say. Tiny amounts of silver or copper also leeched into the water, but these were well below safety limits.The results were presented at the 250th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, US.

Dr Teri Dankovich, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, developed and tested the technology for the book over several years, working at McGill University in Canada and then at the University of Virginia."It's directed towards communities in developing countries," Dr Dankovich said, noting that 663 million people around the world do not have access to clean drinking water."All you need to do is tear out a paper, put it in a simple filter holder and pour water into it from rivers, streams, wells etc and out comes clean water - and dead bacteria as well," she told BBC news.

The bugs absorb silver or copper ions - depending on the nanoparticles used - as they percolate through the page."Ions come off the surface of the nanoparticles, and those are absorbed by the microbes," Dr Dankovich explained.According to her tests, one page can clean up to 100 litres of water. A book could filter one person's water supply for four years. Instructions are printed on the book's pages, in English as well as the local language.

Dr Dankovich and her colleagues are hoping to step up production of the paper, which she and her students currently make by hand, and move on to trials in which local residents use the filters themselves.Dr Dankovich's work with iDE in Bangladesh has explored whether a filter, holding one of the book pages, could be fitted into a "kolshi" - the traditional water container used by many Bangladeshis.

The "drinkable book" has now passed two key stages - showing that it works in the lab, and on real water sources.Next the team will need "a commercialisable, scalable product design" for a device that the pages slot into. Reads to be a great innovation that will benefit mankind.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

17th Aug 2015.

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