Cow Sh*t to Clean Water

Thomas Hansen and the LifeStraw Family

FACT: Over 1.1 billion people (that’s more than 1 in every 6 human beings) don’t have access to safe drinking water. So what does that mean? Do they go thirsty? More often than not, it means getting water from contaminated sources of water. That includes rivers which, in the developing world, often are contaminated because it contains waste from farm animals upstream.

That can change – and all it would take is $1.66 per person, per year. The LifeStraw Family is a product I learned about during my recent trip to Kenya. I tagged along with Vestergaard Frandsen which, in addition to helping me come to Kenya, was giving away thousands of these water filters to rural villagers in Kakamega. I have a lot of respect for Vestergaard Frandsen but even I was a bit skeptical at the claims they made about the LifeStraw Family.

First, they claim that the LifeStraw Family uses nanotechnology to filter water down to 25 nanometers. Not only does it meet US EPA guidelines as a microbiological filter but, they claim – it exceeds them. Not even their smaller LifeStraw Personal water purifier (which I use and carry with me) is that advanced. And, unlike the LifeStraw Personal, this product is supposed to last 3 years for a family of five. All for a total cost of $25.

It sounded like BS. Oddly enough, while their claims do hold up, a lot of BS was involved in the making of this latest video.


For the more academic approach to testing this product, please check out these test results from a study by the University of Arizona. As always, Vestergaard Frandsen which did pay for my trip to Kenya, did not do so with the requirement that I endorse their products. If I got sick from this test, this would have been a very different video.

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