Navigation Links
OU graduate student developing solutions for water problems in Ethiopia

A University of Oklahoma environmental science graduate student will travel to Ethiopia in June to test materials she has been investigating as possible solutions to fluorosisa widespread problem in the Rift Valley, where high levels of fluoride in the drinking water result in dental and skeletal disease.

Laura Brunson, graduate student in the OU College of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, works with researchers in the OU Water Center on global water challenges, specifically fluorosis. Left untreated, fluorosis causes darkening of the teeth and bone deformities. In Ethiopia, the side effects of fluorosis are clearly health related, but have a cultural aspect as well. Novel approaches to this problem are needed to produce effective solutionssolutions not readily available in rural, impoverished areas of countries like Ethiopia.

Brunson has been investigating inexpensive, sustainable and locally available solutions, such as adsorptiona useful technology for fluoride removal from drinking water because it does not require energy input outside of gravity and, depending on the material used, can be very effective at removing fluoride to meet the World Health Organization standard. She has been investigating fluoride removal using several novel materials including aluminum coated wood and bone chars.

Bones charred at a high temperature are effective in the removal of fluoride from water, but Brunson is investigating other materials with similar properties of bone char because some communities do not like the idea of treating water with bones. Wood char is one possibility, but it has to have a coating for it to work as well as bone char. Brunson will test these materials in Ethiopia this summer. "It's important to test the materials in the location where they will actually be used," she says.

When Brunson can determine the effectiveness of the materials, the next step is building awareness in the region. A sustainable treatment plant will be needed and this will require community support. On this aspect of the project, Brunson is working with a group of students from the OU Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth to develop and implement a business model for the bone char technology. Incorporating the model into Ethiopian communities will help to ensure the project's success.

Brunson is also working with Paul Spicer, an OU anthropologist, to conduct surveys in the area to understand the values, motivation and interests of the Ethiopian people. "We need to know what the Ethiopian people think about their water and what their treatment preferences are," says Brunson. Spicer will spend one week in the area on this crucial part of the project. According to Brunson, "A project often fails because no one takes the time to understand the concerns of the people who are affected."

On this visit, Brunson hopes to gain a better understanding of the materials she has been investigating as part of her graduate research project, but more important, she hopes to find a solution to the water problem in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia.


Contact: Jana Smith
University of Oklahoma

Related medicine news :

1. Conference highlights graduate student research in education, health and criminal justice
2. Decline in international medical graduates exacerbates shortage of general surgeons
3. ACGME task force proposes graduated duty hour and supervision standards
4. US dental schools leave graduates unprepared to screen for sleep disorders
5. Healthcare Reform Confusion May Create Coverage Gap for College Graduates
6. Just Graduated College Seniors Ride for Loved Ones With Diabetes Cycling Cross Country to Raise Funds to Help Find a Cure
7. UBC graduate student finds a start/stop switch for retroviruses
8. Tai Sophia Institute Offers Individual Graduate-Level Courses
9. First iPad App Developers Graduate from Around the Globe: Ready to Show Their New Apps
10. UMDNJ Online Graduate Certificate in Aging Program Accepting Applications
11. Most Teachers Favor Inclusion for Autistic Students
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... “Women have 2 questions when they ... to live?’ The second is, “Will I lose my hair?’” , Carly Klein is ... women with licensed medical professionals to develop personalized hair loss treatment plans. With 10 ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... — , ... ... Association of America (MOAA) will hold its 2015 annual meeting ... a free military career fair; informational seminars; a luncheon featuring ... the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Community Heroes Award ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... The American Institutes for Research ( AIR ) developed a collection of guides ... sexual assault and other trauma. The toolkit, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, ... 21st anniversary. , AIR developed the Safe Place toolkit in ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... "My friend's son suffers from eczema, and he had ... an inventor from Platteville, Colo. "I came up with this kit as a way ... to prevent a child from rubbing or scratching his or her face. This protects ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... According to an ... recent study has shown that women who successfully lose weight with a bariatric procedure ... United States each year. The article notes that anywhere from 40 to 50 percent ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015 WuXi PharmaTech ... and technology platform company serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, ... has launched a mobile version of OncoWuXi, the ... to access oncology models and data on the ... and at any time to identify relevant tumor ...
(Date:10/13/2015)...  The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired ... launch of its latest startup company, ... reagents providing super-resolution capabilities on standard single-molecule ... instruments. The announcement follows a worldwide licensing ... Development (OTD) and Ultivue for the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 13, 2015 --> ... be expected from the Asthma and COPD Therapies market? Which ... Visiongain ,s brand new report shows you potential revenues to ... 309-page report provides 260 tables, charts, and graphs. Discover the ... prospects. Our new study lets you assess forecasted sales at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: