Dec
08
2006

LifeStraw: Sucking up safer water around the world

One of the greatest threats to public health these days, especially in developing countries, is poor water quality. Everyone needs water to live, right? But if that water isn’t clean, it can lead to a ton of health problems. Some estimates figure that 6,000 people die each day due to health complications from drinking poor water.

How it works: A Rotary Club member demonstrates the simple way a LifeStraw works. Put it in your mouth and simply suck up safe drinking water. The device can help prevent up to 6,000 deaths a day due to poor quality drinking water.
How it works: A Rotary Club member demonstrates the simple way a LifeStraw works. Put it in your mouth and simply suck up safe drinking water. The device can help prevent up to 6,000 deaths a day due to poor quality drinking water.

Solving big problems usually takes big solutions. But a Swiss weaving company have developed an easy, low-cost way to get around the problems of drinking impure water. It’s developed a device called LifeStraw.

It’s a portable water purifying system. People can wear a LifeStraw around their neck and use it to safely slurp up surface water from just about any natural location. The ten-inch-long tube contains a series of fabric filters inside. Those filters can screen out nearly all micro organisms that carry water-borne diseases, including diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and choler. The filters are fine enough to screen out particles that are up to 15 micorns small.

The makers of LifeStraw say their product can last for about a year until it needs to be replaced, processing about 700 liters of water in its life time. That averages out to about two liters a day, the size of a large soda pop bottle.

There is some minimal maintenance required with a LifeStraw. Users occasionally need to blow out their last gulp of water plus some air through the straw to clean out the filters and any silt or mud that may get drawn into the straw.

What’s really remarkable about this is the price tag for LifeStraw. Each device costs $3. But you’re not going to find them on the shelves of Wal-Mart, Target or a grocery store.

LifeStraw’s parent company, Vestergaard Frandsen sells LifeStraws in bulk quantities to charitable groups who then get them to needy areas of the world through service projects. Rotary Clubs in Great Britain are among the biggest participants in the LifeStraw distribution effort.

More information on how to get involved in distributing LifeStraws is available at the organization’s website: www.lifestraw.com

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Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

This is interesting Thor. We (a team of us here at the museum) are looking at ways that people are using discoveries in nanotechnology to provide the world's population with more clean drinking water. While the LifeStraw doesn't use nanotechnology it's cool to see some synergy with what we are reading about.

posted on Fri, 12/08/2006 - 3:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How much would one cost and how much would a few billion cost????

- Thanks

posted on Fri, 03/02/2007 - 10:53am
bryan kennedy's picture

They don't have any costs listed on their website but this post on Engadget says that once it goes into production at large scale it should cost around $2 and last for a year.

posted on Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:57am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well then we need to find a way to distribute them around the world to save many lives all we would need it the money and then half of the worlds population will be healthier

posted on Tue, 03/20/2007 - 10:12am
reagan's picture
reagan says:

how long do they last?

posted on Mon, 12/14/2009 - 2:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Great portable water purifier. It's very true that lots of people are losing their lives because of poor drinking water supplies in developing countries. Mostly poor people who do not have enough money to buy proper food, how would they will manage to get Refrigerator Water Filter for safe drinking water. In such scenario of developing countries this portable Life straw will play a vital role to save many lives who die of poor quality drinking water.

posted on Fri, 04/09/2010 - 12:49pm
Toy story 3 toy blog's picture

This is a great invention - way too many "modern" inventions cost thousands of dollars which is out of the budget for most of the world. More research should be put into these "afforable" inventions.

I want to see a satellite phone that costs less than $100 that works.. please email me when this comes out.

posted on Wed, 11/03/2010 - 5:56pm
Jessica Maguire's picture
Jessica Maguire says:

Life Straw sounds like an incredible life saving device. I think that it is a genius portable water purifier. I hate hearing that people are losing lives because of poor drinking water supplies in developing countries. I understand how difficult it is for these people to afford to install water treatment equipment such as a reverse osmosis water system in order to get safe drinking water. I believe that the Life straw is a great alternative to these types of water treatment equipment. I'm glad that they will be able to now have clean drinking water.

posted on Tue, 02/28/2012 - 11:56am

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