Drinkable Book With Silver-Imbedded Pages Brings Water to Those in Need

In its monthly industry release, The Silver Institute reported once again new applications of silver in products across several industries, in particular health. The Silver Institute has written extensively how silver has helped breakthrough improvements in product development and industries; read previous articles herehere, here, and here.

A researcher at the University of Virginia has developed a Drinkable Book in which each page acts as a filter producing potable water. The pages are imbedded with bacteria-killing silver nanoparticles and are designed to address life-threatening bacteria and other waterborne diseases for those who live in areas where clean drinking water is not available.

The sheets are bound into a book and users tear them out individually (each page has two filters), and place them in a plastic box – which comes with and houses the book – and pour water over it, much like filling a coffee filter with water. What drips out at the bottom is clean, drinkable water. Each 24-page book can sustain a person for up to four years, according to Water is Life, a group that helps to bring clean water to those who need it.


According to the World Health Organization, about 3.4 million people die each year from waterborne illnesses and many of these people don’t know that their water is unsafe to drink or don’t know how to keep their water free from disease. To mitigate this lack of education, each page also offers tips and ideas, in language keyed to the area, for keeping water free of harmful toxins. Some examples include keeping sewage away from areas where people obtain water, and separating garbage dumps from streams and rivers. “A lot of water issues aren’t just because people don’t have the right technology, but also because they aren’t informed why they need to treat water to begin with,” says Theresa Dankovich, post-doctoral fellow in chemistry at the University of Virginia, who developed the filter paper. “So I really like the educational component, and it’s very nice to store it in a book.” The paper is produced by soaking each sheet in a bath of silver nitrate and a chemical reduction agent that leaches out the silver ions.

The paper is drained and heated to 200 degrees F for several minutes. The silver ions remain in the paper as it is rinsed and dried, turning the pages a rust-orange color.

The pages are then bound with covers and placed in plastic holders that serve as part of the filtering mechanism. The page/filters are perforated to make removal easy. Each page costs about 10 cents and the books cost a few dollars to produce.

The books have been field tested in South Africa and about 20 to 30 books will be tested in Ghana in August under the auspices of Water is Life (www.waterislife.com). The project received support from Carnegie Mellon University and ad agency DDB, which is giving Water is Life free design and advertising services. Dankovich hopes that the books will be mass produced in 2015.


Receive these articles per e-mail

Subscribe for the free weekly newsletter and receive 3 papers about physical precious metals investing