New Generation of Filtration Materials Helps Make Water Drinkable

A new generation of water filtration materials is enabling municipalities and industries in the United States and water-short countries overseas to produce safe drinking water from supplies contaminated with salts and other undesirable compounds, according to an article in the April 23 issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

In the article "Filtering out the bad stuff: Polymeric membranes are increasingly being used to clean up water for drinking and industrial use," C&EN senior editor Marc S. Reisch explains that the technology -- termed membrane filtration -- also removes bacteria and chlorine-resistant parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Starting with highly contaminated water, membrane filtration can produce potable water that can be purer than water from pristine reservoirs or deep artesian wells, the article notes.

Reisch describes a growing market for membrane filtration in Florida, Texas, California and other locations that must treat brackish water. Much of the demand in the United States results from increasingly stringent federal regulations for drinking water drawn from surface sources, the article states. Demand for the technology also is strong abroad, especially in areas such as the Middle East that face severe water shortages and produce drinking water by desalination of sea water. A related C&EN story, "Keeping It Clean: The chemical industry is finding ways to secure and expand global water supplies," focuses on global chemical industry efforts to make safe, secure sources of drinking water more widely available.

For more information, contact the American Chemical Society at http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/home.html.

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