drink without thinking
August 11, 2006 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Lifestraw: From surface water to drinking water.
posted by davehat (24 comments total)
posted by farishta at 10:00 AM on August 11, 2006

Pretty cool. I'm sending this link to my friend thats leaving for Nigeria next week. I know she is meeting with some government officials, maybe they can distribute these - I know malaria is a big problem...Thanks.
posted by sfts2 at 10:02 AM on August 11, 2006

I swear this was posted like a year or two ago, but I'll be damned if I can find the post. It was on treehugger and engadget last year. How did it escape the blue?
posted by shoepal at 10:05 AM on August 11, 2006

This is fantastic and has recreation uses as well (hiking, camping, getting lost in the woods while doing that), for our military as well (although I assume they have something but it probably costs 300x more)
posted by evilelvis at 10:12 AM on August 11, 2006

This may be a silly question, but does:
It is expected that continuously drinking saline water through the LifeStraw® would reduce effective life to 350 litres.
mean that you can use this to safely drink from the ocean? Or (I suppose this is more likely) do they just mean that if you foolishly attempt to drink the sea, at least you won't get dysentery from it?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 10:15 AM on August 11, 2006

sfts2: I've spent a lot of time in Nigeria, and your friend better be taking a anti-malaria prophylaxis. I can tolerate Malarone, but some of my coleagues bodies wouldn't. I'm not sure what they used.

Does anyone know what are they pricing these LifeStraw's at anyway? I've got a Katadyn filter, which I think would suit better than squatting in a river sucking up water. Also, a Katadyn filter allows water to be collected from the source, and transported to where it's going to be used then filtered.

LifeStraw's seem useful at the waters source, unless I'm (quite likely) missing something.
posted by Mutant at 10:28 AM on August 11, 2006

Ah! Better link on the Katadyn filter.
posted by Mutant at 10:35 AM on August 11, 2006

Filtering straws have been available in camping stores for at least ten years. What exactly is new here?
posted by LarryC at 10:39 AM on August 11, 2006

posted by cillit bang at 10:39 AM on August 11, 2006

Great idea. More about Lifestraw.

How does LifeStraw function? LifeStraw contains PuroTech Disinfecting Resin (PDR) - a patented, extraordinarily effective material that kills bacteria on contact. Textile pre-filters are used in the LifeStraw to remove particles up to 15 microns. Active carbon withholds particles such as parasites.

More tech details with video.
posted by nickyskye at 10:45 AM on August 11, 2006

is there a charity or foundation to get these to people in need ? i sure as hell could have used one of these when i was in haiti .
posted by mishaco at 10:47 AM on August 11, 2006

farishta: "wow"

My sentiments exactly just before I clicked into the thread. I even said it out loud.

LarryC: "What exactly is new here?"

Uhm... It's new to me. For those of us who don't frequent camping stores, this is actually news. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 10:51 AM on August 11, 2006

Unfortunately, I tried going to the site on a computer without flash, where I can't install it. Slight derail, but I think it's hilarious when organizations that are trying to serve the most disadvantaged people in the world have websites that don't work without the latest browser/flash/javascript/[fill in your favorite web technology]... you'd think that "accessibility" would be the watch word in a place like that. Unfortunately, they did their nav menu in flash, so I can't see anything but the front page.

At any rate...
LifeStraw's seem useful at the waters source, unless I'm (quite likely) missing something.
If I remember I think the idea of the Lifestraw was that it was cheap enough to be distributed to individuals, who could then use it where ever they got water (from the well, from a spicket, from a river) and always be pretty sure they wouldn't get sick.

So they're basically tackling the problem from the opposite direction from the Katadyn filter, for example.
posted by illovich at 11:04 AM on August 11, 2006

Important to note, from the FAQ:

Q13. Does LifeStraw® filter arsenic, iron, fluoride and other heavy metals?


So, while this could be amazingly useful in rural settings where the toxins in the water are primarily a result of manure and human waste, it won't do you much good if you live in a shack by the smelting plant.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:12 AM on August 11, 2006

Not getting down on it - just pointing out that lead and arsenic poisoning remain tough nuts to crack.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2006

Clean drinking water is the largest hurdle for an impoverished people to overcome. A very large segment of the third world doesn't have access to clean drinking water. The life straw although helpful is not a panacea for this. It costs around 6 dollars a person for a year. What is needed in addition to access to potable water is the infrastructure to help these folks. Water hygiene, water treatment facilities, waste water treatment and education on how to use these is needed. Not just a straw. If you would like to give to an organization that is devoted to helping the worlds poor gain access to clean drink water, consider water aid.

Imagine having to worry about where you are going to find water that is not going to make you or children sick. It's easy to take easy access to clean and safe water for granted.

Life straw is a best a stop gap measure in disaster regions or where facilities have not yet been built.
posted by bigmusic at 11:28 AM on August 11, 2006

Cool. One of those simple and cheap tools that will save lives.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:31 AM on August 11, 2006

Are the photographs on the front page photoshoped? They look really strange.
posted by delmoi at 12:48 PM on August 11, 2006

Am I the only one who seems slightly skeptical of this? I have no concrete reason to be, something just doesn't seem ... right. It's be wonderful if it worked as advertised--i.e. for as long as claimed, at the price claimed, as effectively as claimed. Something just keeps nagging at me when I see that website.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:13 PM on August 11, 2006

This sounds pretty good!

sfts2, malaria is not transmitted by drinking contaminated water, if that is what you meant. It is transmitted by an infected mosquito.
posted by dov3 at 1:18 PM on August 11, 2006

Actually. I've seen some sad reports from people using this. There are some questions on the reliability of this device.
posted by Decypher at 1:58 PM on August 11, 2006

Decypher: would you mind linking to those references (or even emailing)?
(I am instructor for classes technology design and dissemination for developing countries. We're always looking for more case studies and evaluations of the technologies that are "out there.")

posted by whatzit at 2:09 PM on August 11, 2006

hm. so much for editing mid-post. I am an instructor for classes dealing with design and dissemination for developing countries.
posted by whatzit at 2:10 PM on August 11, 2006

Humorous things about the LifeStraw:
  1. It looks like a bong.
  2. The pictures on the instructions page
  3. The text on that page at the top of the right-hand column
Thank you, that is all.
posted by idontlikewords at 2:20 PM on August 11, 2006

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