LifeStraw TM : body
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So far the product is not marketed yet, but after intensive laboratory tests we are now conducting field tests to observe where the filter could be improved for users. Users or consumers are defined as most people in the 3rd world, and they will benefit by having the possibility of clean water with this pipe filter. The worlds greatest killer is diarrhoeal diseases from bacteria like typhoid, cholera, e. coli, salmonella etc. With LifeStrawTM, which lasts for one persons annual needs of clean water, nobody needs to die from these diseases. This design is made with special emphasize on avoiding any moving parts, to disregard spare parts, and to avoid the use of electricity, which does not exist in many areas in the 3rd world. But as you need force to implement the filtering, we have chosen to use the natural source of sucking, that even babies are able to perform. We have managed to produce this product at a price that people in this business find hard to believe, but we have found it essential to be able to present a price to the consumer in the 3rd world that they find affordable. When fully used in the 3rd world this will indeed be a LifeSaver.
The original idea was created by Torben Vestergaard Frandsen, but over the years 2 additional persons have been involved in this, Rob Fleuren from Holland and Moshe Frommer from Israel.
The design is produced by Vestergaard Frandsen in China
Africa, Asia, South America
The LifeStraw is a 25 cm long straw/pipe filter, 29 mm wide diameter in plastic.
When water is sucked up it is met by ever finer textile filters in order to filter out dirt and sediments, as well as clusters of bacteria.
In the centre of the pipe several medias, including iodine, will kill and withhold remaining bacteria, viruses and parasites, as well as improve the taste of the water.
The main goal, to kill bacteria, is done up to log 7 – log 8, according to laboratory tests. Better than municipal tap water in many developed countries.
If we were not able to control the output of iodine there could have been a draw back there, but with the existing iodine deficiency in most 3rd world communities, WHO would have appreciated if we had had a higher release of iodine. We have, however, chosen to put in so much granulated active carbon, that no consumer shall discard the filter due to chemical taste.
Being a textile company we tried originally for many years to reach this design only by using textiles, but eventually we realised that textiles could only be part of the solution and that additional media, especially killing media had to be applied. For about a year we also tried to combine textiles with only carbon, but realised then, that bacteria and viruses were building up in the carbon. Only when combining it with the iodine did we realise we were on the right track. Then a lot of time was spent searching globally for the best of the various products we needed, and when they were at hand, a long and tedious way had to be followed to find the right position, quantity and size of each component.