South African researchers have come up with an ingenious, ultra-low tech means of dealing with the unclean drinking water that poses such a great health risk in the third world: Specially made tea bags. Nanofibers in the bags trap contaminants, and granules of carbon, which are harmless to humans, kill off bacteria by shredding through their cell membranes. Best of all, from a public health perspective? Each bag costs less than one cent to produce.
“What is new about this idea is the combination of inexpensive raw materials, namely activated carbon and antimicrobial nanofibres, in point-of-use water filter systems. The nanofibres will disintegrate in liquids after a few days and will have no environmental impact. The raw materials of the tea-bag filter are not toxic to humans.”
If all goes according to plan, the bag will hit the market in South Africa by the end of 2010.
See it in action in the video below: