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How Spent Coffee Grounds Could Clean Waters from Two Toxic Metals



Lead and mercury-contaminated waters may soon be treated with something that you leave behind every morning: coffee grounds.

A team of italian researchers have published a report that addresses the issue of waste reduction associated with coffee grounds.

What they did was to integrate spent coffee grounds in a form filter – what they got was a device that removed lead and mercury from water.

In an experiment, the bioelastomeric foam and coffee grounds managed to remove up to 99% of lead and mercury ions from water over 30 hours. But people can’t always wait for 30 hours, so the researchers also did a more practical test: they tested how their filter acts when contaminated water is passed through it.

Just 67 percent of the lead ions were eliminated in the real-life test, though. However, this is only a starting figure, as research is still ongoing and will surely produce better results with time.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has estimated that in 2013 lead exposure accounted for 853 000 deaths due to long-term effects on health, with the highest burden in low and middle income countries. IHME also estimated that lead exposure accounted for 9.3% of the global burden of idiopathic intellectual disability, 4% of the global burden of ischaemic heart disease and 6.6% of the global burden of stroke.

On the other hand, mercury pollution affects everyone, because it’s very easy to spread in natural ecosystems, and it mostly comes from gold mining.

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