The Drinkable Book

You can literally drink with this book.

Did you know that a child dies every minute from a water-related disease? 783 million people worldwide, which is two and half times the population of United States, don’t have access to clean water. Clean water crisis is the top global risk, as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015. 

Yet, the Drinkable Book is a spark of hope. The Drinkable Book, with pages that can be torn out to filter drinking water, has proved successful in the long-run.  

The Drinkable Book (designed by Brian Gartside)

The astounding results were revealed at the 2015 American Chemical Society’s national meeting by Dr. Teri Dankovich, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University who had been developing this new technology for over several years. 

Dr. Theresa Dankovich (

Each page of the Drinkable Book is embedded with silver and copper nanoparticles that will purify water up to 99.9%, trapping the common waterborne bacteria including cholera, E. coli, and typhoid. One page produces up to 100 liters (26 gallons) of clean water. This means one book will supply four years worth of drinking water per person. Designed as an instruction manual, each page provides printed information with edible ink about the purification method and the importance of water.

Sammie Kim, The Drinkable Book, Photo by Brian Gartside 4
Each page is a filter that can purify up to a 30-day supply. (Brian Gartside)
The Drinkable Book (Brian Gartside)
Each page in the book will purify water up to 99.9%. (Brian Gartside)

“All you need to do is tear out a paper, put it in a simple filter holder and pour water into it from rivers, streams, wells, etc and out comes clean water—and dead bacteria as well…it’s directed towards communities in developing countries,” said Dr. Dankovich in BBC news.

Drinkable Book in India (Dogo news)

Alongside non-profit organizations WaterisLife and iDE, field trials were conducted in five countries—Bangladesh, Ghana, Haiti, India and Kenya—for the past two years. And in the trials, 99.9% of the bacteria from the water samples, even those from raw sewages comprising of extreme levels of bacteria, plummeted down to zero concentration. More than 90% of the filtered water samples had no viable bacteria, according to Dr. Dankovich.

Currently, Dr. Dankovich and her colleagues are producing the Drinkable Books by hand, and they hope to increase the production of the paper through “commercialisable, scalable product design.” They’re also planning to further study on removing other disease-causing microorganisms, such as protozoa and viruses.  

Dr Kyle Doudrick, a researcher at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, has voiced support for the Drinkable Book. “Overall, out of all the technologies that are available—ceramic filters, UV sterilisation and so on—(The Drinkable Book) is a promising one, because it’s cheap, and it’s a catchy idea that people can get hold of and understand.” But even so, the Drinkable Book needs greater support from the people from all over the world. 

Go visit if you are willing to contribute to the Drinkable Book.

– Sammie Kim (’18)

Featured Image: The Gift of Water

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