Analysis

The straw that broke the germs' back

30th September 2016
Anna Flockett

If someone told you to drink water from a puddle on the floor, you would certainly look twice at them, no matter how thirsty you are. This may not be the case if you had a LifeStraw, a straw designed to be used to filter water as it is drunk. The range of straw shaped filters solves your problems faced when thirsty hikers are out in warm weather by letting you safely sip from murky and muddy pools and puddles, as well as any lake or river.

Containing no chemicals or batteries, it filters a maximum of 1,000 litres of water- enough for a person to drink for a year and was designed by LifeStraw who have made other similar products including, LifeStraw Steel, LifeStraw Mission, LifeStraw Family and more.

The LifeStraw is designed for the backcountry and will filter out 99.999% of waterborne bacteria (including E. coli) and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), however will not filter out chemicals, salt water, heavy metals or viruses- yet the LifeStraw Mission and Family will remove 99.999% of viruses also.

All you have to do is simply stick it into water and suck as if using a normal straw, using a mechanical filtration the straw forces the dirty water through hollow fibres containing pores measuring less than 0.2µ so the dirt and parasites are trapped in the fibres so can be refreshed with clean water. Remember to blow the dirty debris out of the straw afterwards.

Being ultra-light weighing 57g it is portable, and requires not electrical power or replacement parts, and as a treat to the taste buds it leaves no nasty aftertaste in your mouth, it doesn’t have a taste at all.

The company said: “Lack of access to safe drinking water contributes to the staggering burden of diarrhoea diseases worldwide, particularly affecting the young, the immunocompromised and the poor.”

As there are estimated 884 million people that don’t have access to clean water across the world, one child dies from this cause every second. With the powerful purification from the straw it could help to save so many lives.

With this device being much cheaper to roll out than piped water connections to households, diarrhoea deaths could be cut by up to 40%, and the company is promising that for every LifeStraw that is purchased, one school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year, with its ‘Follow the Liters’ campaign. 

The basic straw is £14 and the LifeStraw Go which is embedded in a water bottle is £21.

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