- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Never mind eliminating illiteracy. A scientist’s new book project in the works isn’t geared towards bookworms, but rather the hundreds of millions of people without access to clean water — and the author says the technology involved in printing the final product could end a global crisis.

The pages of “The Drinkable Book,” the latest effort from McGill University researcher Dr. Theresa Dankovich, aren’t like the tree-pulp found in magazines and newspapers. Instead each page is made with a sturdy sheet of material that’s been embedded with nanoparticles, either silver or copper, that are proven to kill microbes and make water safe for consumption.

“Ions come off the surface of the nanoparticles, and those are absorbed by the microbes,” she told BBC.

Dr. Dankovich and her team have already tested her “pAges” technology at 25 different water sources in five countries, according to her website, and more than 90 percent of the samples “had basically no viable bacteria in them” after using the filters.

In the U.S., her product has already surpassed guidelines for bacteria removal enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. Now she’s trying to raise the funds to mass-produce entire books brimming with that paper and take the project to places where clean water is a scarce commodity.

“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.

Upwards of 3.4 million people die globally each year as a result of issues stemming from dirty water, according to the World Health Organization, and Dr. Dankovich said she thinks her book has the potential to bring cheap and easy-to-use filters to several times as many individuals with the right funding.

“While we ultimately want to be able to provide water to 10s to 100s of millions of people, we must first do development work to create a practical product and to demonstrate that it works in the hands of users in faraway countries,” reads part of the crowdfunding page launched for the book this week. In one day, it’s garnered a little over $1,000 of its $30,000 goal.


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