Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Friday, November 11, 2005

Life is good

and it is only getting better:
Sacks of coal ash, a widely available waste product, promise to make arsenic-contaminated water safe to drink and provide relief to millions in South Asia.

A new filter dubbed ARUBA—for Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash—uses fine ash particles from coal-burning power plants in India. Coating the microscopic ash particles with a thin layer of ferric hydroxide and exposing them to air changes the fine gray dust into a rust-colored powder that traps arsenic on its surface
Arsenic contaminated water is a huge problem in South Asia, particularly Bangladesh, and this filter, while not quite ready for wide spread deployment seems like a big step forward:
In the lab, ARUBA has been shown to reduce arsenic concentrations of 2,400 parts per billion (p.p.b.), more than twice the highest levels found in Bangladesh, to below the World Health Organization guideline of 10 p.p.b. and five times lower then the Bangladeshi standard of 50 p.p.b. Only 2 of 18 arsenic removal plants have consistently met the 50 p.p.b. standard, and none have met the World Health Organization guideline


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