This article on the New Scientist website describes some innovative new technology which aims to pull arsenic out of toxic drinking water and trap it in concrete for new buildings.
Arsenic is a poisonous element which can naturally find its way into groundwater, usually from rocks and minerals and in the form of arsenic acid and its derivatives. From there, it is able to build up over time, slowly poisoning the body. Several major incidents of such poisoning have occurred around the world, with poorer nations such as Bangladesh suffering particularly badly from this problem.
A team of from the University of California are currently trialling a system which uses rust to bind the arsenic from up to 600 litres of drinking water at a time. The resulting ‘rusty sludge’ will hopefully be safely incorporated into concrete for new buildings, keeping the arsenic out of the water table permanently.
The system would work beautifully for countries such as India, where new roads and buildings are being built very frequently, so the concrete could be put to use straight away.
It’s still early days for this project, but if the trials prove successful, this serious health issue could potentially be solved for people around the globe.