Scientists Can Detect Contaminated Water In A Flash Thanks To This New Tech
After what happened in Flint, Michigan, we can't help but have water quality front of mind. The number of people without access to clean water—or any water at all, like the 500,000-plus people in California's San Luis Obispo County—has led the CDC to declare unsafe drinking water "one of the most seminal public health challenges of the coming decades."
If you're concerned about your water quality, you're not alone. It's a problem that needs to be solved and solved STAT. The good news is that scientists from the University of Missouri are developing a tool that could help us determine whether drinking water is safe to consume.
Their recent study, published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, demonstrated how sonar technology can quickly and efficiently test water quality. The technology works by sending flashes of light through a fiber-optic cable that has one end submerged in the liquid. The cable's end—which is wrapped with pain-on liquid electrical tape—converts the laser light into sound, and that sound is recorded and analyzed.
It sounds complicated, but according to Luis Polo-Parada, an associate professor of pharmacology and physiology investigator at the M.U. Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, "if the water isn't drinkable, then our method will tell you that something is wrong with the water." And want to know the best part? It's super cheap to implement, too.
So what does this mean for us? The research team is working to help provide the food and beverage industry with a cheap way to test the purity of liquids (think how much alcohol is in a beverage, the amount of sugar in a soda, and the quality of honey or olive oil). This could potentially cut down on contaminated products entering the market.
And while we can't use this sonar tool to monitor the quality of the water in our homes and neighborhoods just yet, we may be able to in the future. In the meantime, here's your ultimate guide to water filters.
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