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February 14th, 2007
About 80 million people of Bangladesh are gravely exposed to arsenic poisoning though the government and the NGOs are trying to fight the menace with available strength. Financial constraints obstruct much headway in this field. We talk of the many evils that Bangladesh is suffering from but I think, from the point of view of our earthly survival, arsenic issue undisputedly tops the list. Scientists, however, are not sitting idle over the deadly menace. Professor Abul Hussam of the Chemistry department of George Mason University in Fairfax is one such scientist who spent years testing hundreds of prototype filtration systems that might separate arsenic from water. His final invention which brought him a $1million engineering prize is a simple, maintenance-free system that uses sand, charcoal, bits of brick and shards of a type of cast iron. Each filter has 20 pounds of porous iron, which forms a chemical bond with arsenic. The filter removes almost every trace of arsenic from well water.
To this I add yet another invention of the scientists at Rice University in the USA as reported in the internet BBC News version of November 10, 2006. This has been achieved by using nanotechnology which is a fast emerging science that concerns itself with the engineering of materials at the scale of individual atoms and molecules. The findings were published in the renowned journal Science.
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