Abstract

Arsenic contamination of water sources is a global problem, affecting numerous (especially developing) countries across the world. Exposure to exorbitantly high concentrations reaching 400 parts per billion of arsenic in water sources lead to numerous health complications, including the development of respiratory, neurological, and cancerous diseases. This study focused on developing an innovative, low-cost, and gravity-driven filtration system using a novel iron oxide nanoparticle-loaded polyurethane (PU) foam by which people in developing countries may have easy access to an effective, affordable, and easily fabricated filtration system. After successfully synthesizing the new iron oxide nanoparticle-loaded PU foam, effectiveness of the foam was tested by developing a filtration system consisting of vertical polyvinyl-chloride tubing inserted with 10 and 20 cm of PU foams. Samples of arsenic-contaminated water with known concentrations of 100 and 200 ppb were run through each of the systems numerous times for one and five run cases. The system with 20 cm of PU foam and five runs successfully filtered out around 50–70% of the arsenic from the 100 and 200 ppm samples. The filtration process was quite fast (and hence practical) with each run completing in 5–10 minutes' time. Future research is expected to improve this promising start.

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