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Company's Industry Leading Solution Purifies Contaminated Water and Saves Thousands of Lives Internationally
Apyron Technologies Inc., a leading developer of advanced materials, today announced it received Research and Development Magazine's R&D 100 Award.
The publication recognized Apyron for its Arsenic Treatment Unit (ATU), a water treatment system specifically designed for rural areas. The ATU utilizes Apyron's industry-leading Aqua-Bind Arsenic Removal media, an adsorbent that removes harmful contaminants from drinking water. Apyron has installed ATUs in numerous locations throughout India and Bangladesh, providing safe drinking water to more than 10,000 rural citizens.
The R&D 100 Awards have recognized the most technologically significant new products each year since 1963. Past winners include the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the printer (1986), the Kodak Photo CD (1991), the Nicoderm antismoking patch (1992), Taxol anticancer drug (1993) and HDTV (1998).
"Arsenic poisoning is a serious issue affecting families," says Rom Papadopoulos, chief executive officer for Apyron. "Our innovative arsenic treatment solution is the result of more than three years of extensive development and testing. This award recognizes the significant work Apyron conducts in arsenic removal and our commitment to making the world a better place to live."
The Arsenic Crisis Abroad
It is estimated that 200 million people in India and Bangladesh are drinking arsenic contaminated water and are at risk of arsenicosis. The culprit of this health crisis is the tube well water infrastructure, created in the early 1970s to provide bacteria-free drinking water. Unfortunately, officials now realize that many of the tube wells throughout India and Bangladesh provide drinking water from the tapped aquifers that contain high levels of arsenic.
While the effects of arsenic can be reversed at an early stage, long-term exposure can lead to death. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 people exposed to arsenic levels above 500 parts per billion (ppb) may ultimately die from cancers caused by arsenic.
In addition, arsenic is an accumulative enabler, meaning that people who are pre-disposed to various cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments, are more likely to fall ill. Studies have also shown that arsenic may pass through the placenta, causing birth defects, and that exposure to it may negatively affect children's intelligence levels and ability to learn.
Arsenic levels in many areas of India and Bangladesh can reach as high as 3500 ppb, which is 350 times the acceptable standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) of 10 ppb. Early this year, the West Bengal Public Health and Engineering Directorate (PHED), a state agency responsible for providing contaminant free drinking water to the citizens of West Bengal, applied for funds and received a grant from UNICEF to purchase several ATUs from Apyron.
"The number of people at risk of arsenic poisoning has reached epidemic proportions," says R.K. Tripathy, principal secretary for the West Bengal PHED. "We are very pleased to work with Apyron to provide safe drinking water, along with peace of mind, to our citizens in the most affected areas."
The PHED has subsequently submitted a request to the central Indian government for funds to purchase 3000 treatment units from Apyron, which would provide safe water to an additional 1.5 million people.
In Bangladesh, where arsenic levels in drinking water have reached even higher levels, Apyron has installed five units that serve four villages and approximately 1800 people. Apyron anticipates the installation of many more ATUs in Bangladesh this year.
How the ATU Works
Apyron's ATU is an integrated water treatment system, custom-designed to remove arsenic levels as high as 3500 ppb and iron up to 15 parts per million (ppm). It also inhibits microbial growth.
Providing water on demand at 8-12 liters per minute, Apyron's easy-to-use system has been well received within participating villages, restoring hope for a more healthy life. The system does not require electricity, supervised operation or chemical additions to operate. In fact, local village residents perform routine maintenance, and Apyron and independent laboratories verify long-term performance on a regular basis.
The key component to the system is the Aqua-Bind media, a granular metal oxide-based media that can remove both Arsenic III and Arsenic V from drinking water. It is manufactured employing a unique synthesis technology, which greatly enhances its surface properties and chemical characteristics, thereby enabling arsenic adsorption capacities greater than conventional materials.
Apyron also provides its Aqua-Bind media in a cartridge for consumer use in the U.S. The Aqua-Bind MP is already at work in more than 35 states in the U.S. It was designed specifically for Point-of-Use (under the counter) and Point-of-Entry (where water enters a home) drinking water applications.