PAge Papers Interview

Interview with Teri Dankovich, Ph.D. Founder of pAge Drinking Paper

1. Do pAge papers, to any degree, filter out viruses? We read an article by Adele Peters of FastCompany which states PAge Papers get “rid of bacteria and viruses”. However my basic knowledge of the mechanism of silver against enzymes and metabolism suggests that viruses would be largely unaffected through the process?
The preliminary answer is yes for viruses. The long answer is that a student of mine at CMU has been working on this project and has seen success in early experiments. The data still needs to be verified by additional trials before we have enough to publish this. Double check the literature — there are many studies demonstrating the silver nanoparticles also inactivate viruses from propagating. Let me know if you’d like to see any of these published articles (by other researchers).

2. Our specific scope of focus has to do with the water communities in Cambodia. Has there been any research done with focus on these water communities or in Cambodia in general? In addition, what other communities have you been researching to appropriate PAge Papers to, and what are some of their unique challenges?
A) Yes, there has been work done by Mark Sobsey’s group at UNC Chapel Hill about water in Cambodia. Great work, let me know if you can’t find it online.
B) As for pAge, we have worked in South Africa, Bangladesh, and Ghana. Obviously the languages are different, but so are the water vessels and customs surrounding water (like when & where its collected & how much is typically used etc). The educational level can vary a lot from community to community in the same region of the same country, and that can lead to challenges as well. Typically the more open a community is, the more likely they will adopt new technologies and ideas. This openness is often related to educational level, though not always.

3. What is the basic process for producing PAge Papers? Is this something that is best done in a tech facility? or is there potential to manufacture these filters onsite which could potentially have additional benefits with regard to accessibility and the economics of the country?
The basic process was by hand in a lab setting and will be done in a paper factory soon. This could be done in paper factories anywhere as long as trees are available!

4. On your website it was stated as an estimate that the amount of water that can be cleaned by one filter is around 100 liters. Theoretically, how long would it take to attain this volume? i.e. what is the flowrate?
Flow rate varies depending upon size of paper, filter head, and turbidity (level of cloudiness) in the water. I cannot give you an exact answer other than trends – larger the filter, higher the filter head, and clearer the water leads to faster filtration. Also, we do not use the DB container as it was only a prototype for the video.

5. Have there been thoughts of combining PAge Papers with other technologies dealing with water filtration that together would work to remove a larger range of potential contaminants?
Yes at some point

6. How essential is the box that the book comes in to the operation of this filter? Could the design perhaps be improved to be more efficient and/or effective?
See above. We don’t use the box anymore. It is not the best design for developing countries.