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Engineer helps poor in developing nations purify drinking water
Date:3/16/2009

ia. The silver kills the bacteria while the porous clay simply filters it out.

For the last three years, Craver has been studying the use of the filters by 70 families in San Mateo Ixtatan, a Mayan community in Guatemala.

"One of our challenges is getting the filters accepted in the communities," Craver said. "Many people we talk to don't realize that their water is unhealthy, others don't like the taste of the water after it has been filtered, and others don't like having the filter and bucket in the house all the time."

Her next step is to assess the impact of the filters on the health of the residents. She will visit Guatemala this summer to determine if there have been reductions in doctor's visits and missed work days and improvements in economic well-being. She will also compare the success of the filters with other water purification technologies being tested in the region.

In addition, Craver's graduate student Sophia Narkiewicz of Coventry will launch a new program this summer in the Limpopo province of South Africa to see if the usage of the water filters extends the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

"The life expectancy of HIV patients is significantly lowered when they are faced with recurring bouts of diarrhea from drinking unhealthy water," Craver said. "It causes even more problems with their immune system. So we are going to give them water filters to see if it will improve their health and extend their lives."

The United Nations Millennium Development Goal is to halve the number of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015. Craver hopes that her work to expand the use of these water filters will help to achieve that goal on time.


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Contact: Todd McLeish
tmcleish@uri.edu
401-874-7892
University of Rhode Island
Source:Eurekalert

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