Vaal River, Aerial view, Gauteng Province, Free State Province, South Africa
Richard du Toit—Gallo Images/Getty Images
By Sarah Begley
August 17, 2015

A new invention promises to make dirty drinking water potable by filtering it through the pages of a book.

The “drinkable book,” which was presented Monday at the American Chemical Society’s 250th national meeting in Boston, consists of pages that are treated with silver or copper and printed with instructions for how to use them: tear out a page, insert it in a filter holder and pour unclean water through it. Any bacteria present will absorb the silver or copper ions, effectively removing 99% of bacteria from the water, according to BBC News.

Dr. Teri Dankovich, who developed the drinkable book, says it is intended for use in developing countries where contaminated water poses major health risks. One page can filter 100 liters, and a whole book could filter one person’s drinking water for four years. The invention has already been tested using artificially contaminated water in the lab and at real sites in Bangladesh, Ghana and South Africa.

The book has yet to be tested in filtering other kinds of microorganisms, like viruses. While Dankovich has so far been making the product by hand with her colleagues, she would like to see commercial production take the invention to a larger scale.

[BBC News]

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