Vestergaard Frandsen is a Switzerland based company focused on stemming preventable disease and death in developing nations. Their “profit for a purpose” model is revolutionizing the implementation of public health measures in the third world. Products like mosquito proof nets, wall linings and the LifeStraw family of portable, inexpensive, easy to use water filters have proven highly effective.
Of particular interest to us is their Carbon For Water program in which carbon credits are exchanged for a corporation’s participation in humanitarian work. You see, without filters like LifeStraw, the only way to clean water is by boiling the water with firewood that both releases carbon into the atmosphere and leads to deforestation. A very large relief project funded in this way was kicked off in Kenya several months ago! (Click here to donate a LifeStraw yourself!)
For humanitarian purposes LifeStraw technology is generally deployed with a water receptacle, pre-filter screen and gravity fed hose system that carries the water to the LifeStraw filter and then out a spigot. In this form, a single filter will clean roughly 4500 gallons of water. The pressure created by gravity is enough to generate an impressive flow rate of 4-5 gallons per minute.
Commercial release of the handheld version, pictured at top, is widely anticipated in the United States where a portion of all sales will go to fund straws for humanitarian relief. A single straw’s filtering lifespan is around 250 gallons by design but in a lab setting was found effective for up to 400 gallons.
Weight: 1.75 oz
Filters: All waterborne bacteria (e. coli, pseudomonas, vibrio, salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, etc) and protazoa (cryptosporidia, giardia, entamoeba). Turbidity is reduced by 99.6%
Filter Capacity: 1000 liters (~250 gallons)
LifeStraw does not desalinate water or remove heavy metals, etc. To keep the filter at the top of its game one must blow any residual water back out through the filter every 1.25 gallons or so. As with all filters, drinking highly turbid water directly may decrease the filtering capacity.
We did our own demonstration with the filter and found muddy creek water was made perfectly clear and to taste like tap water. We are impressed to say the least. We are very comfortable with LifeStraw as straw-type filters go. It’s pedigree is absolutely unmatched (Time magazines invention of the yea,r 2005, among many others).
There are countless youtube videos demonstrating LifeStraw. Here are our favorites:
Click here to donate a LifeStraw
by Green Beetle