Not a Drop to Drink

water-dropletsAs we brush our teeth, take our long showers, and drink our eight glasses a day, it’s easy to forget that nearly one billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water. Poor sanitation in developing countries often causes waste to wind up in the water supply. The water may become contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites, leading to common waterborne diseases such as gastroenteritis, salmonella, dysentery, and hepatitis. According to the United Nations, more than 1.6 million people, mostly children under the age of 5 die each year as a result of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Despite having higher sanitation standards, industrialized nations such as the U.S. aren’t immune to waterborne disease. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 4600 people are hospitalized in the U.S. each year with giardiasis, a gastrointestinal illness caused by the microbe giardia lamblia. Another common waterborne pathogen found in the U.S. is the parasite Cryptosporidium, which tends to lurk in private wells. Agricultural and chemical waste, in addition to sewage, can also run into our water supply.

Even in the developed world, there is a need for purified water for use in sectors such as food production and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Hospitals need clean water to avoid sickening patients who already have weakened immune systems. Below are some companies working to ensure water safety across the U.S. and around the world:

Portaqua manufactures portable devices for purifying and bottling water. The devices are made for use in developing countries, disaster areas, and other applications.

The HaloPure product line from HaloSource utilizes disinfectant beads installed within a cartridge to purify water at the point of use.

BioPlanta, an environmental research and engineering services company, designs facilities to treat domestic and agricultural waste water, as well as groundwater, water from mines, landfill seepage, and runoff from roads and production areas.

In addition to developing therapies for end-stage kidney disease, Nephros manufactures water filters designed to remove pathogens such as anthrax and botulinum.

Chemunex focuses on products for the rapid detection and identification of micro-organisms in drinking water, food, pharmaceuticals and more.

Pure H2O Technology is developing a series of water treatment systems to supply pure drinking water to the pharmaceutical, electronics and food industries.

Water purification systems, along with improved sanitation and hygiene, offer the potential to reduce death and disease related to unsafe drinking water. What are some other companies or organizations making strides in water safety?

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