Easy-to-Use Technology Developed for Removing Arsenic from Drinking Water
Japan's National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) announced on January 6, 2012, that it has succeeded in developing a material that enables simple detection and removal of arsenic--an element that is toxic to humans--from drinking water. The material was the result of research led by Dr. Sherif El-Safty, Principle Researcher of the Materials Recycling Design Group at the Research Center for Strategic Materials at NIMS.
The arsenic contamination of drinking water has been recognized as one of the worst environmental disasters in history. Today, groundwater in Asia, South America, and Africa is extensively poisoned with arsenic. Despite long-term efforts by the United Nations and individual governments to tackle the issue, it has proven difficult to come up with a feasible purification method that is both inexpensive and easy to use on a daily basis.
The technology developed by NIMS consists of a nanoporous substance, called a high-order mesoporous (HOM) structure, whose inner walls are densely packed with functional groups that are sensitive and selective for capturing arsenic. The technology thus makes it possible to immediately absorb and remove arsenic when it is present--even in minute quantities. Users of the technology can instantly confirm that arsenic has been detected and captured because the color of the material changes as absorption levels increase.
Since even laymen can easily use the technology to obtain safe drinking water in their daily living, NIMS plans to make it accessible to people in areas with the worst contamination problems.
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Posted: 2012/04/27 06:00:15 AM