Theresa Dankovich, Ph.D has developed a revolutionary method of water purification that blows steri-pens and purification tablets out of the water – literally – it’s a book!
While earning her Doctorate studying the material properties of paper at McGill University, Dankovich built upon the knowledge that silver and similar metals have the ability to kill bacteria and discovered that sheets of thick filter paper embedded with silver nanoparticles could eliminate a wide variety of microorganisms. Her next move was to develop ‘The Drinkable Book’, a transportable nanotechnology-based method of water purification via the bacteria-killing metal nanoparticles contained within each page.
Continuing her research at the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health, she expanded the experiment to include copper and began field investigations of purification methods throughout Africa in an effort to see how the filters would work on ‘real water’ and found that even with supremely challenging samples like those of a ditch near an elementary school where raw sewage had been dumped, she could achieve 99.9% purity with the silver and copper nanoparticle paper.
In 2014, Dankovich formed the non-profit; Page Drinking Paper in collaboration with WATERisLife and former DDB New York designer, Brian Gartside to develop what is essentially a book comprised of these silver nanoparticle infused pages. Each page has water safety information printed on it in multiple languages using food-grade ink and can clean up to 100 litres of drinking water fulfilling one person’s water requirement for four year. The pages are easily removed from the book before being slid into a special holding device. The water is then poured through and filtered.
In June of 2015, Dankovich partnered with international non-profit International Enterprises (iDE)- Bangladesh to explore commercialisation of the filter for household water treatment.