The “Drinkable Book” Cleans Contaminated Water

There are millions of reasons why books are necessary in our world. Reading can ease loneliness, inspire action, teach us new things, make our hearts race, make us laugh and cry. And now, for the first time, books may also help people live healthier lives around the globe.

The chemist Teri Dankovich, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, has invented something called the “Drinkable Book.” According to the BBC News, the book’s pages can be ripped out and used to purify contaminated water. In trials at 25 water sources in South Africa, Ghana, and Bangladesh, the paper — which contains tiny particles of copper and silver — successfully eradicated more than 99% of bacteria. The pages also include instructions for correct use.

The book was presented Monday at the American Chemical Society’s 250th National Meeting in Boston. (No matter whether we choose to carry a book, a pencil, or a test tube, long live all the nerds of the world aiming to enact change).

Discover Magazine reports that Dankovich has hand-produced about 50 books, and is working to raise production funds for global distribution.

A disturbing 663 million people around the world lack access to clean drinking water, and the Drinkable Book is hoping to significantly lower that number. According to results from field tests — which Dankovich conducted with the help of charities such as Water Is Life and iDE — the pages are capable of cleaning up to 100 liters of water. According to Water Is Life’s website, they claim to be “working on a variety of languages” and “ways to share the message through training, storytelling and discussions in communities…where there is a desperate need.”

One can only hope that, through storytelling and science, the Drinkable Book will promote literacy as well as save lives.

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