It is common to find many consumer products that advertise they purify drinking water. Most often this means that the taste of the water is improved and perhaps some metals or organic products are removed from drinking water, which is already free of sickness causing pathogens. However, a major problem for billions of people worldwide is treating water at homes or schools in a practical and affordable way to kill bacteria, deactivate viruses, and remove cysts so it will not cause sickness or a life threatening disease.
In much of the world, the municipal water treatment plants and the distribution pipes to homes, schools, and hospitals are inadequate to deliver bacteria and virus free, safe drinking water. After the treatment plants kill pathogens in the water, the water may be re-infected as it travels through the network of pipes that may have been compromised in any number of ways. While difficult to specify the exact numbers of people worldwide who cannot safely drink the water from their tap, it is certainly billions of people. This problem is commonly recognized in India, China, Mexico, Central and South America, Russia, and many more countries.
Furthermore, the UN has estimated that over a billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water – typically understood to mean no plumbed, treated water is available.
In many parts of the world, it is not feasible to install central water treatment plants with distribution pipes to all homes. Thus, the essential need for a daily supply of purified drinking water free from sickness causing pathogens is a problem that can only cost-effectively be solved with Point-of-Use systems, products that are affordable and easily used by a consumer in the home, school, hospital or office. The question then becomes, "What is the best water purifying technology for consumer products that will safely and affordably kill the bacteria and viruses, and produce healthful drinking water?"
Although chlorine has been effectively used by municipalities with trained professionals for disinfecting water, chlorine is a toxic, gaseous chemical, which is not amenable for small system use in homes and non-professional environments. Iodine (commonly applied to the skin for wound healing) is very effective at killing micro-organisms; and, when chemically bound on an ion exchange resin, iodine becomes the ideal disinfection technology for small home water purifying products and village systems operated by the local residents. The iodinated resin, MCV®, utilized in Water Security Corporation's drinking water purification technology, was originally developed for water disinfection under contract to NASA, and has since been advanced by WSC for greater efficiency and affordability.
There are other technologies that can remove or deactivate bacteria and viruses, such as RO (reverse-osmosis), micro and nano-filtration, ultra-violet light, ozone treatment and distillation. Each of these approaches tend to have significant disadvantages, which may include one or more of the following: a) electricity is required and many parts of the world do not have a reliable electricity infrastructure - even fluctuations in voltage levels can cause undetectable UV system malfunction, resulting in survival of disease causing pathogens; b) can be very expensive - up to hundreds of dollars per home system; c) require very high pressures, which are not achievable without special pumps and electricity; d) filtration waste is a bio-hazard containing live pathogens – filtration methodologies block and concentrate but do not deactivate viruses or bacteria; e) filtration faults, such as microscopic defects, can go undetected until sickness occurs; f) caustic chemicals such as chlorine and bromine can be unsafe to handle. In addition, there is growing concern regarding the potential carcenogenic ‘by-products’ generated with chlorine disinfection treatment of drinking water. Ozone treatment is expensive and inherently dangerous. Distillation systems require power and are not practical for most applications.
Iodine is commonly applied to the skin to heal wounds, and is added to salt, as the human body requires a certain amount of iodine to be healthy. However, it is widely known that we must regulate the amount of iodine intake to avoid the potential cause of other health issues. This led to the discovery of Iodosorb®, which removes all species of iodine from the drinking water after the bacteria and viruses have been deactivated, to produce pathogen-free, safe and good tasting drinking water. WSC holds the patent to Iodosorb®.
The advancements made by WSC for the use of iodine to generate pathogen-free, safe drinking water, have resulted in a purification technology that is affordable and reliable, as well as safe to use by consumers all over the world.