|IDEA BY:||Ariana Schanzer||LOCATION:||USA||CATEGORY:||Environment/Sustainability|
|IDEA BY:||Ariana Schanzer|
Access to clean water is a basic human right that evades even those in the developed world. More than 783 million people suffer because of contamination of their water supply. Environmental health clinicians, NGO’s, and public health researchers have expressed the need for a method to collect “big data” on contaminants in water. Development of better sensing technology that can geo-temporally collect data on contamination can help prevent toxic exposures to water contaminants and pin-point sources of contamination. Additionally, deploying sensors in the home engages the public with this scientific pursuit and prevents contaminant cover ups by government (for example lead contamination cover up in Flint, Michigan, 2014). The first sensor I am developing is for arsenic contamination. Arsenic is the number one toxic substance according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Priority List (2015) due to its threat to human health and the high likelihood of being exposed. Arsenic is used in industries that produce textiles, wood preservatives, pharmaceuticals and pesticides. These practices, along with natural phenomena, such as heavy rainfall and shifts in hydrogeology, and drilling like hydraulic fracturing, can cause arsenic to leach into groundwater. Prolonged arsenic poisoning has been linked to various cancers, reproductive disorders, dermatological problems and more. This sensor is an easy to use device that autonomously and automatically tests the arsenic content of home drinking water and logs the concentration data in almost real time. The design modernizes and improves upon the well-established chemical method of arsenic detection, the Gutzeit Method. This sensing technology is safer and more sensitive than other sensors on the market and is also being expanded to test for other contaminants of interest like lead.