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February 21, 2011
Volume 89, Number 8
p. 48

Dehydrated Water, Disaster-relief Drinks

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Newscripts reader Fred Jacobson, a principal scientist at Genentech in San Francisco, recently wrote to point out a new miracle product: DEHYDRATED WATER. I’ll never think of life’s liquid elixir the same way again.

It seems that you can now buy good old H2O as a dehydrated capsule. To rehydrate it, simply place the gel capsule in a bowl of hot water and allow it to dissolve.

The buydehydratedwater.com website points out some of the many virtues of water-free water: “Dehydrated water is compact, lightweight, easy to store, and perfect to take wherever you go. It’s free of toxins, chemicals, lead, minerals, and almost every other dangerous substance you can think of.”

What really sells me on the product is that the dry-as-dust water could be the perfect complement to my weight-control efforts. The capsules, after all, are “the perfect addition to all high-fiber, protein, and carbohydrate diets,” the website says. The capsule makers sure do cover all the bases.

At a discounted price of $3.95—down from the list price of $29.95—dehydrated water is available from the popular Web-based supermarket Amazon.com. For $295, you can get your own dehydrated water franchise, provided you meet certain qualifications—gullibility being chief among them.

If you’ve got a little more money to spend, Newscripts fan Jacobson also suggests that you consider the benefits of hexagonal water. For $495, the folks at wholeearthhealth.com will ship the Vitalizer Plus free to addresses in the U.S.

Looking for all the world like a garden-variety blender, “the Vitalizer Plus is scientifically documented to structure, oxygenate, add minerals, and add energy to your water,” the website says. “This advanced oxygenation system will simply provide you with drinking water that will penetrate your body sooner with a difference you can taste.” And if you believe that pitch, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

HydroPacks: Relief for water-scarce communities.

As water goes, I find recent news releases about the HydroPack less funny but certainly more laudable. The HydroPack is a 4- by 6-inch WATER-FILTER POUCH, complete with drinking straw, that can transform contaminated water into an electrolyte-charged, nutrient-enriched drink. Its developers hope it will render bottled water obsolete in disaster-relief efforts.

Hydration Technology Innovations (HTI), based in Scottsdale, Ariz., developed the pouches. After being placed in a mud puddle or other available water source for eight to 12 hours, the packs generate up to 12 oz of drinkable fluids. They also come in flavors such as lemon-lime and grape.

Key to the pouches’ filtration system is a membrane made from Eastman Chemical’s cellulose esters. Based on wood pulp and cotton linters, cellulose esters are also the stuff cigarette filters are made of.

“Cellulosic polymers are the heart of HTI’s proprietary process that allows water to pass through the HydroPack membrane’s tiny pores,” explains Jos de Wit, senior research associate for Eastman. The pores, however, also reject contaminants, including bacteria and viruses.

“Drinking water is one of the first things that a victim of a natural disaster needs to survive,” says Walter Schultz, chief executive of HTI. “Many of the deaths that occur from natural disasters don’t happen because of the disaster itself but from what happens later: waterborne disease that sweeps through the population.”

HydroPacks are not as easily shipped as dehydrated water, but they are more effective, easier, and lighter to transport than bottled water. HTI distributed HydroPacks in Haiti in January 2010 after an earthquake devastated the country.

Marc S. Reisch wrote this week's column. Please send comments and suggestions to newscripts@acs.org.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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