Polyfluoroalkyl and Perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) are two widely used industrial chemicals. These two chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health problems. PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products around the world since the 1950’s. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences found that PFAS exceed the recommended safety levels in public drinking water that has affected more than 6 million people in the United States. Since the industrial revolution, we have been allowing chemicals with unknown toxicities to be used and released into the environment. We now have cases where these chemicals end up in our water supply and start to affect those who drink that water.
We wanted to create a way to make it possible for homeowners to see what and how much of a substance is in their water. We also want to be able to do this in the easiest and most convenient way for the homeowner.
How can we make detecting hazardous substances in our water easy and convenient?
Questions to consider:
How will we go about informing the user about the chemicals in their water? Will it be a mobile app or some other mode of communicating with the user?
Will we focus on water that is used in people’s home or will it be designed for public places?
How do we want to warn the user if their water is unsafe to drink?
Is there any way to design this system so it is affordable for people who have low income?
– Andrew Walraven, Nathan Eggleston, Jad Sidi-yekhlef