Pages to purify

The Drinkable Book
USA (Pittsburgh)

An estimated 750 million people worldwide drink and cook with water from a contaminated source every day. Providing cheap, clean drinking water for many people in the developing world, The Drinkable Book is an instruction manual educating on how to clean drinking water, with pages that can be torn out and used as water filters.

Developed over eight years by PhD student Dr. Theresa Dankovich and her team, and partnered with nonprofit WATERisLIFE, which has active field offices in Kenya and Ghana, each ‘book’ has twenty-six tear-out pages of powerful filters. Each purifying paper lasts from two weeks to a month, costs US$0.20 to produce and comes inscribed with essential information on safe water use. One book can provide safe water for up to four years.

Easy to use and relatively cheap to produce, informative design belies its complex chemistry. Working like a “scientific coffee filter”, each piece is coated with silver nano-particles that kill more than 99.9 per cent of bad microbes, pages can reduce bacterial levels and dilute raw sewage to the levels found in US tap water. Now engaged in a substantial scaling up of output, the project is seeking further funding whilst looking for ways to develop. One plan includes a new Willy Wonka inspired ‘blueberry‘ book, just for kids.   

Written by

Lauren Burrows, Writer/ Researcher, Atlas of the Future (16 September 2015)

Project leader

Theresa Dankovich, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Founder

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