Pantyhose and Hair Filter Oil from Gulf Spill

Yes, you read that correctly.  We have run across a new kind of filter, folks.  This one doesn’t quite match up to the “human” variety, but it comes close…

Thousands of hair salons nationwide have donated hair clippings to Matter of Trust – an environmental organization that is involved in a project that collects hair and nylon stockings to make oil booms and mats.

Each strand of hair has scales on it that attract and collect oil, which explains why most of us shampoo our hair daily.  However, this basic fact has not just been applied by shampoo companies.  The oil booms and mats made from salon hair clippings is now effectively being used to clean up the damage left by the recent Gulf spill.  Hair is stuffed into nylon stockings that are dragged along the coast, sopping up oil which sticks to the scales, while the water filters out.

Oil spills can do great damage to marine life, including the sea monkeys, oysters and other creatures that act as natural water filters.  Such an emergency requires a better remedy than bottled water.  Here, we have yet another example of how water filtration is important to our lives as well as to the health of our environment.

Prahlad Jani – the Human Filter

Prahlad Jani brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” This 83-year-old holy man’s body is his recycling bin, according to a recent news article. Claiming to have lived the past seven decades without food or water, Jani was taken in for observation by Indian doctors on April 22, and since then has had no food or water and has not passed urine or stool.  His body has remained in perfect health since then, showing no signs of dehydration, hunger or fatigue.  He is still active enough to climb stairs and several tests on his brain reveal that it resembles that of a 25-year-old.

Jani claims to be a “breatharian,” a person who can live on “spiritual life force,” since receiving a blessing from a goddess at the age of eight.  He says that drops of water, or for him, drops of a magic elixir from the goddess, filter through a hole in his palate, sustaining him.  In addition, he is able to produce urine in his bladder as well as reabsorb it back into his body, at will.  Ordinarily, a person cannot survive without urinating, but it appears that Jani is able to filter and re-circulate the water that makes up 90 percent of his body at any time.

Here we have waste reduction and recycling in its simplest form.  Or maybe it isn’t so simple.  Scientists, of course, are baffled by this mystery, and as of yet, have no scientific explanation for it.  The “spiritual life force” that sustains him didn’t stop at the blessing of the goddess.  At age 83, Jani continues to receive energy through spiritual meditation, adding a fourth “r” – “rethink” – to the famous phrase, “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Jani is undergoing a series of medical tests over a period of fifteen days as scientists are hoping to find solutions for people in emergency situations who must go without food or water for long periods.  Last week we gave suggestions for how to survive the apocalypse with six of our best emergency filters.  Can we add Jani, the human filter, to our list?  Only time will tell, so stay tuned for an update.  In the meantime, while you wait for a miracle blessing from a goddess, those six filters still come highly recommended.  For Jani and his fellow “breatharians,” we recommend the 3M N95 Respirator Mask in case of emergencies; since meditation involves breathing, they’ll want to make sure they aren’t inhaling air pollutants.

Cleaning Water with a Cactus Water Filter

Prickly Pear Cactus Water FilterAbout a year ago, I wrote about the benefits of four natural water filters — plants, sand, oysters and coconut. Well, it seems you can throw the prickly cactus in there as one of nature’s water filters as well, according to Norma A. Alcantar, an assistant professor in the University of South Florida chemical and biomedical engineering program.

Alcantar first learned about the thick, gooey mucilage from her grandmother. Now, she and her team are using the gummy goo to provide clean drinking water to residents of rural Mexico. Apparently using the mucilage of a cactus to filter water is nothing new, but it’s now been scientifically-validated.

So how do you filter water with a cactus? Just extract the cactus mucilage from the cactus and put it in the water, where it binds to dirt, particles, bacteria and even arsenic. The mucilage and other contaminants bound to it can then be removed. Alcantar and her team are still researching to see if the cactus mucilage will remove other heavy metals.