Contaminated water news: Archived – Arsenic and old waste starring the humble plastic bottle.

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Archived Postings

Aug 25
Archived Postings
Originally Posted
Plastics & Rubber Weekly – News
By Barry Copping

The material posted is
courtesy of
Plastics & Rubber Weekly – News
By Barry Copping
Save the Water™
Water Research
Education Dept.
and is shared as
educational material only



Drinking water contamination:

Arsenic and old waste starring the humble plastic bottle.

Arsenic And Old Waste Starring The Humble Plastic Bottle – Plastics & Rubber Weekly – News / By Barry Copping

A simple and inexpensive method to extract deadly arsenic from drinking water using plastic bottles could dramatically improve health in underdeveloped nations, reports a research team at Monmouth University (MU), West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA.

With almost 100 million people in developing countries exposed to dangerously high levels of arsenic, and unable to afford complex purification technology, MU’s Professor Tsanangurayi Tongesayi has described arsenic removal by flaked PET bottles coated with cysteine, an amino acid found in dietary supplements and foods.

The work was reported at the 242nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, a major scientific meeting with 7,500 technical papers, held on 1 September.

Tongesayi commented: “Dealing with arsenic contamination of drinking water in the developing world requires simple technology based on locally available materials. “Our process uses flakes from plastic beverage bottles. When the flakes are coated with cysteine and stirred into arsenic-contaminated water, they work like a magnet – the cysteine binds up the arsenic. Remove the plastic and you have drinkable water.”

He described laboratory tests of the purification method on water containing 20 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic, twice the safe concentration set by the US Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water. The water was rendered drinkable, with 0.2 ppb or less arsenic – more than meeting the federal standard.

The method is straightforward enough for people without technical skills to use, said Tongesayi. It can use discarded plastic bottles available locally, and applying the cysteine is simple. Tongesayi is seeking funding or a commercial partner for development and commercialisation. He reported that the technology also has the potential for removing other potentially toxic heavy metals from drinking water.

Odourless, tasteless, and colorless, arsenic may enter drinking water supplies from natural deposits in soil and rock, or from agricultural and industrial sources. Symptoms of arsenic poisoning include thickening and discolouration of the skin; stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; vision loss; and numbness in hands and feet. Arsenic has also been linked to cancers of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.

via Plastics & Rubber Weekly – News.

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