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LifeStraw Family (2006)

European Plastics News staff
Posted 24 January 2011
While often condemned as bad for the environment and unsustainable, plastics can be real lifesavers. That is certainly the case with the LifeStraw Family, which helps provide clean drinking water to thousands of people across the developing world.

Produced from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene by Swiss company Vestergaard Frandsen, LifeStraw Family filters out water impurities at the point-of-use, including the harmful bacteria that cause diarrhoeal diseases.

“Nearly one in five child deaths- about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhoea,” says Vestergaard Frandsen. “Diarrhoea kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined and drinking contaminated water also leads to reduced personal productive time, with widespread economic effects.”

To get clean drinking water, users pour the raw water into the feed bucket, where a textile prefilter removes coarse particles (larger than 80 microns). The water then flows into the purification cartridge which filters out all particles larger than 20 microns, including microbes, bacteria and viruses. The clean water passes through a hollow-fibre membrane and is collected from a tap.

Since microbes are stopped by the membrane, the purified water complies with the USEPA requirements of LOG 6/4/3.

Vestergaard Frandsen says the LifeStraw Family filters water at a rate of 12-15 litres per hour and removes over 99% of all waterborne bacterial, including Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Shigella and Salmonella. Each device lasts on average for three years.

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