Promising New Technology to Purify Water for the Developing World
The Procter & Gamble Health Sciences Institute, in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed a new product that has been tested and proven effective in providing clean drinking water for people in the developing world.
The product, called PuR® Water Purifier, developed by the Procter & Gamble Health Sciences Institute, has been shown to significantly reduce diarrheal illness in two health intervention trials. The CDC conducted the trials in Guatemala in 2001-2003. "We estimate that 5,000 children die every day because of diarrheal illness," said Steve Luby MD, medical epidemiologist with the CDC. "If we can get people to use products like PuR to decontaminate water in their homes and store it safely, we can reduce the incidence of diarrhea and illness and save thousands of lives."
Promising New Technology
Studies appearing this month in the Journal of Water and Health demonstrate that PuR significantly removes pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites from water. PuR has the same ingredients used in large-scale water treatment facilities but has been reverse-engineered to purify water in the home.
The PuR process is simple. Mixing the contents of one small ketchup- sized packet into a container of water separates the dirt and other contaminants from the water within minutes. The water then is filtered through a cloth to provide cleaner, safer water.
"PuR acts like a dirt magnet. The research and testing clearly show that it works," said Greg Allgood PhD, associate director of the P&G Health Sciences Institute. "We are working on approaches to reach the people who need the product, including providing PuR for preparing drinking water in emergency situations."
"The PuR technology is potentially powerful because it offers an effective tool for people in the developing world to help themselves and improve their health," said Christine Hancock RD, president of the International Council of Nurses. "The product is unique in providing a strong visual signal that the water is getting cleaner. PuR does require education and training from health care workers like nurses because people have to see it to believe it."
P&G is in discussions with relief agencies about providing product for emergency water use. For example, the International Rescue Committee has purchased enough PuR to provide 3.5 million liters of drinking water for people in Iraq.
Because of the global need and proven health benefits of clean drinking water, the P&G Health Sciences Institute, the CDC, and the International Council of Nurses have joined with 20 other organizations to establish an International Network to Promote Safe Household Water Treatment and Storage. In addition, the ICN and the P&G Health Sciences Institute have developed a safe water initiative to educate nurses and people in the developing world on the health benefits of treating water and storing it safely in the home.