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> Six-year-old suffers from skeletal fluorosis a crippling condition caused by too much fluoride in drinking water. He's one of many casualties in the Tanzanian town of. In untreated wells, water can dissolve fluoride when passing certain minerals. In fluoride levels more than 60 times recommended limits have been found.
It affects those of all ages but children suffer most. University of Perth researchers want to help.>> We've come up with a molecule which changes color when it's exposed to fluoride. It doesn't require a laboratory. It doesn't require a person who's been highly trained to use any equipment.
It doesn't require a power supply. In fact, it doesn't even require the user to be literate.>> When added to water samples, the molecule changes color from purple to blue, if fluoride levels are too high. The technology is in the proof of concept stage, but the team hopes to develop non-liquid test strips, similar to litmus paper.
These would alert locals when it's time to replace their water filters. The researchers have teamed up with a NASIO trust charity and they're seeking commercial partners. They also plan to adapt the technology to find other water contaminants, such as mercury and lead.