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LifeStraw: Takin it one sip at a time

06.6.08   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Tech   |   By: Toshi Jones
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It’s the most basic innovations which can make the largest impact. The LifeStraw costs about $3 USD and will filter about 700 liters of water. That’s a two liter a day for a year. As clean drinking water becomes more scarce, due to decreased snow fall and changing climate, we may come to rely on less than ideal sources for water. It’s comforting to know that these types of products are being developed cost effectively.

While $3 may not be a whole lot here, in most developing nations it’s more than a days work. This is still a small price to pay to ensure that you and your family are safe from water born bacteria and viruses. It kills and removes 99.999% of waterborne bacteria, 99% of waterborne viruses, and removes particles down to 15 microns. This little gadget requires no electrical power to operate and is compact enough to travel with.

26 Responses to “LifeStraw: Takin it one sip at a time”

  1. Diane Says:

    $3 is such a small amount compared to the water rates we pay in the UK every year.
    Are they available through any gift giving sites yet? That’d be great to pass on a great gift to a friend – the knowledge they’re saving lives with lifestraws!

    There’s loads of innovation in water purification at the moment! This is one of the easiest to use.

  2. Random Says:

    wow, they’ve gotta suck.
    (does this make me evil?)

  3. Atro Says:

    $3 is the girls month salary, good job comparing that to UK Diane. still worth it tho

  4. Diane Says:

    Absolutely it’s worth every penny – I think I meant the comparison in a posiitive way – that if you were to donate $3 every month you’d be giving someone one of these and that $3 isn’t a lot when you think about all the money we pay out on things. Perhaps my comparison would have been better if I’d have made my point more clearly.
    That $3 isn’t a lot for us in the West who are used top spending 10X that on a game or book that we take for granted within hours or minutes of it’s arrival.
    I hope it’ll be one of these things that appears on the gifts abroad type siutes (Where you can send chickens and goats as well as water systems to the third world!) – it’d be a nice gift to be able to give.

  5. Matt Says:

    Amazing innovation, though they should cost $6 for normal people (non third-world) and the extra $3 is used to send a free one out to the third world.

  6. jeremy Says:

    what would be ideal is if some charity was wiling to distribute these in the 3rd world and have a fundraising drive to pay for it. lots of people are willing to sponsor a child’s education. what about sponsoring a village’s water filter supply?

  7. Bill Says:

    Super stuff here, I would be willing to send a lot of 3$’s if i knew and was assured the straw would get to where it belonged in someones hands who need it!! that said im not in 2 giving $’s 2 aq orgiznation to pay there rent or pay some1… Bill

  8. Laura Says:

    Great idea! Curious about the distribution process and whether or not the people receiving the product are obtaining any training.

  9. Tiffany Says:

    The actual producers of this product are here

    I realized that if the people from my state alone donated $3 once a month instead of buying a coffee it would provide 63161916 people with water….wow. Guess what my new project is…

  10. DanZ Says:

    The only problem here is that you shouldn’t use it on water with high sediment levels (as shown in the picture). The filter will clog rapidly, rendering the device useless. How long does your PUR filter last on your faucet, filtering tap water? I have to replace mine about once a month, and that’s just filtering water for coffee and cooking for one person.

  11. Kintanon Says:

    DanZ: Do you even know anything about the product? When the lifestraw gets clogged you just blow out through it. IT clears the filter of silt, sand, sediment, etc… You can just about suck the moisture out of a handful of mud with one and it still function just fine. The designers knew what they were doing.

  12. JoeSmo Says:

    Why all the pity for 3rd world nations? Screw them! If they want what others have let them demand it from their own people. Why do those with more have to cater to those accepting to be ruled by dictators and idiots? In today’s world if anyone only makes $3 a day then they deserve to drink sludge and urine. Robbing those with to help those with less is not the answer, it’s only a bandaid.

  13. Rob Says:

    It’s just a case of marketing. Show some pictures of women using the Life Straw to the men in those areas and they’ll save up to get their wife one.

    Anyone can see it’s a good investment in the future.

  14. robb Says:

    is this still a concept or produced already ?
    this is actually a very nice idea for 3rd world country.

  15. Terry Says:

    This is a great invention, and should be distributed to the world population as needed. Sounds like something the UN should be buying by the ship load. It would even be great for emergency kits that every family should own.

  16. Kelly Says:

    Say it ain’t so, JoeSmo. (Haha).

    Hate to break it to you, but Reaganomics failed, you idiot.

    Anyway, you can donate them here:

  17. Jude Says:

    Haha, look at the massively failed troll up there. Hilarious.

    Anyways, yeah. This is a great product, I think. Very nice.

  18. ern Says:

    Well, Reaganomics was responsible for the massive economic growth in the late 1980s. Far from a failure. Increased tax receipts on lower overall tax rates. Increased aid overseas. Huge growth in personal charitable giving. Overall, a smashing success. Of course, that doesn’t mean that JoeSmo isn’t an ass, because he is.

  19. RandyDrives Says:

    I would like to see this on a bigger scale, maybe something that would filter enough water for a whole family with the individual devices used as a backup. I can see a real traffic jam at the old watering hole if everyone in the village has their own individual device trying to muscle their way to the bank. The negative aspect to the group filter would be keeping the water clean after its treated, but it would have to be better than nothing at all.

  20. Draino Says:

    Im sure its a great filter… but how do you make sure that the liquid in your puddle is 100% water?

  21. Al (should be) Gore(d) Says:

    “. . .due to decreasing snowfall. . .” it says in the text above. So, only snow can naturally provide clean drinking water? Climate change is causing a reduction in the availability if clean drinking water? How about if people in these third world countries would quit urinating and defecating near their supply of drinking water?!

    C’mon y’all. . .Repeat after me: “The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The sky is. . .”

  22. Shake Says:

    I can’t believe so many people are so gullible.
    This is a ridiculously impractical device that won’t be used in the real world.
    People gather in family units..and as a unit, they need water to drink and to cook with. What are they going to do, send someone down to the river to suck it up the straw and spit in a bucket for the whole family to enjoy?
    This is the same river that they wash themselves and their clothing in, so I somehow doubt this straw will have any effect on the instances of water borne disease or parasite infection.

    Get back to me when there is a pump attachment so it can fill a container……

  23. PSDL Says:

    Hi guys,

    I am in process of doing a project with Step by Step foundation to bring these to Haiti, and we’re doing just exactly what Jeremy said. I saw a lot of the questions here and just thought I’d answer some of them and address misconceptions I’ve seen in the comments.
    First, although the material for each LifeStraw costs about $3, the costs of freight, transportation, training, and other costs bring the price up to about $6 per LifeStraw, depeding on the size of the shipping sent at one time.

    Now for Answers:

    DanZ: The LifeStraw has a very simple filter-cleaning mechanism that you activate by blowing into the tube instead of out of it. It is approved high sediment levels as you see in the picture. I’ve actually tried it myself many times in the most disgusting of water (I have my own one of these and use it repeatedly for presentations and marketing).

    Robb: It is in production and being distributed mainly in Africa, although a few projects, like mine, are elsewhere.

    RandyDrives: There is a product called LifeStraw Family, which does exactly what you describe. However, it requires a little more infrastructure when compared to the LifeStraw since it is not mobile. In other words, houses must have a constant stream of water arriving at their house in order to use and have a LifeStraw Family, whereas a normal LifeStraw can be taken to the water source.

    Draino: You don’t. There is obviously going to be other liquids, but LifeStraw will make them sterile, harmless, and tasteless for your body.

    Shake: You are right, this is indeed a quite impractical device. However, for some people with no water and no infrastructure to get it, it is the ONLY choice. LifeStraws are to be used in emergency conditions and critical potable water shortage. Also, LifeStraws are for personal use only. In other words, every person will need and have one for themselves, and will get their own water at all times. Hopefully in the future there will be no necessity for such impractical devices, but today there is.

    Finally, I’d like to invite you all to visit Step by Step Foundation’s website: and donate for a project that does work, and will continue to do so until there is no more necessity for LifeStraws.

    Thank you!

  24. David Flowers Says:

    I just spent ages typing a long comment, but when I hit the submit button my browser did something really weird.
    Did it come though or do I need to retype the whole thing?

  25. Junaid Says:

    Nice one I Like it ………………

  26. Dave Says:

    I imagine sexytime with the pretty girl on the left. See how she cradles the device? Yes.

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