Innovative paper ready to help the world's water problem

The Drinkable Book has every page impregnated with microbes-killing metal nanoparticles.


While researching the material properties of paper as a graduate student, Theresa Dankovich, Ph.D., built up a modest, basic nanotechnology-based technique to cleanse drinking water. The Drinkable Book as she calls it, has every page impregnated with microbes-killing metal nanoparticles.

According to, 663 million people - 1 in 10 - lack access to safe water globally; with 358 million of that number based in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Drinkable Book serves a double purpose; it is both a water filter and an instruction manual for how and why to clean drinking water.

In 2014, trials were conducted at 25 contaminated water sources in South Africa, northern Ghana and Bangladesh, where the paper effectively removed over 99% of microscopic organisms.


After filtration with the paper, small measures of silver or copper are likely to be filtered into the water, but according to the founders, these are well underneath security limits. The resultant liquid subsequently has levels of pollution like US tap water, the scientists added.

The results of the research and trial of the Drinkable Book were displayed at the 250th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, US.

How the Drinkable Book works.

Imprinted on every page is information on water safety both in English and the local dialect spoken by those living where the book is to be utilized.

Every page can be torn from the book and slid into an holding gadget in which water is poured through and then filtered. A single page can clean up to 26 gallons (100 liters) of drinking water; a book can last one individual's water requirements for about four years.


The way forward

Dr Dankovich and her partners are currently working to up production of the paper, which she and her students make by hand. She wants to have locals utilize the filters themselves.

She is also connecting her chemistry expertise with industrial designers at the University of Cincinnati and with environmental engineers at Carnegie Mellon. "We have a bunch of designs, and we are trying to trim them down and keep them simple," she says. "Worldwide, many people use a 5-gallon bucket for many needs, so we are basing our approach on that type of container.

"Along with applications, our biggest current focus is to scale up, going from a lab bench experiment to a manufactured product. We have to go from 'cool chemistry' to something everyone can understand and use."

Available for purchase?


The Drinkable Book is currently not available for purchase according to the website,, but you can place your name on a waiting list to be contacted when it finally is.


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