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The Health Show: Pure Water in Two Minutes
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The Health Show: Pure Water in Two Minutes
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Water Pressures
The Health Show interviews Timothy Whitehead, the inventor of a water bottle that makes water safe to drink in two minutes using a filter and UV light.
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Produced by Rockhopper TV.

Originally broadcast as part of The Health Show.

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Segment 1

DR. AYAN PANJA
Nearly nine hundred million people around the world don't have access to safe drinking water. It's a huge problem, not just for local people, but travelers. It's an issue that's been worrying Timothy Whitehead, who's with me now. Tim, how did you become concerned about this?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD [Inventor, Pure Water Technology]
I was traveling in Zambia a couple of years ago, and I just saw there's so little water there. People relied on chlorine and iodine tablets to sterilize water, which takes a long time, and it just tastes horrible. So I thought there must be a better solution.
DR. AYAN PANJA
And you've come up with a device to tackle this, haven't you.
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
I have, yes. I designed a water bottle -- this is part of my degree project -- which filters and sterilizes water within two minutes.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Wow, should we have a look at how it works?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
Yeah. So it's got two chambers, an outer one and an inner one, and we first fill up the outer one from our lake, stream, or dirty puddle.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Yes.
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
And let's just say it's a bit of a dirty lake, so put some soil in it.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Yeah, looks like lake water to me, yeah, for sure.
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
And then just like a cafeteria, you take the inner chamber, and you plunge it down, and the filter at the bottom will get rid of all the sediment and yuck from the water, so it becomes clear.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Oh yes, fantastic. And what about the bacteria that are left there, what happens to that?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
So then we've got a UV bulb, I don't know if you can see that, suspended in the middle.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Oh yes.
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
And that sterilizes the water. So there we have the bulb.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Yeah, you can see it lighting up there. And you do this for how long?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
This is for ninety seconds. The UV light disrupts the DNA of the viruses or bacteria in the water, and that renders them harmless, so they're safe for us to drink. There, and I think that's just about ninety seconds.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Brilliant. Should we give it a go?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
Yeah, do you want to...?
DR. AYAN PANJA
Excellent. Yeah, let's have a taste. I'm intrigued. I'll take a sip after you take a sip. Excellent. Cheers.
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
Cheers.
DR. AYAN PANJA
It's pretty drinkable, actually. It's no different from what comes out of the tap, really. And who do you think is going to use this, in the main?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
I think it's primarily for disaster scenarios, tsunamis or anything where there's lots of water around, but you just can't drink it. And with this, you could just filter and sterilize it within two minutes and it'd be safe to drink.
DR. AYAN PANJA
Fantastic. And have you had it tested scientifically for effectiveness?
TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD
Yes. I'd carried out tests at Loughborough University, looking at the combination filter and the ultraviolet light, and we did e.coli bacterial tests, and it sterilized 99.9 percent of known viruses and bacteria.