The LifeStraw relies on microfiltration to remove impurities including bacteria, parasites, and protozoa and instantly provide clean water.
While the original LifeStraw was criticized by some experts for its cost, LifeStraw Family relies on more conventional usage (filtering by gravity feed before use) and is much more cost-effective.
The LifeStraw and LifeStraw Family are usually distributed for free in large quantities as part of public health campaigns in the developing world or in complex emergencies, although they are also offered for sale on a retail basis in most countries.
As a mass-produced item, it offers more predictability compared to locally produced appropriate technologies, at a competitive total cost.
If this analysis is correct, standardized devices (whether based on microfiltration, UV or pasteurization or a combination) may supplant more obvious low-tech solutions like slow sand filters in most areas, except perhaps.
- As roughing filters before the "standard" solution.
- For specific requirements, e.g. removal of arsenic in groundwater by use of iron within a sand filter. Also, a slow sand filter can remove organics such as tannins that cause a tea color in water, though this is more an aesthetic issue than a health concern. (Can the LifeStraw remove such organics?)[expansion needed]
Usage in the field[edit | edit source]
The LifeStraw has been deployed in the aftermath of the 2005 Indonesian tsunami, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, 2010 Pakistani floods, and in the 2010 Mount Merapi eruptions.