Sea Shells Remove Heavy Metals from Water

We have heard a lot about the health hazards of heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, etc. polluting our water. It gets into our food chain and drinking water and causes a variety of health issues.

In 2009, Stephan Kohler of the Graz University of Technology in Austria and a team of researchers used common sea shells to cleanse water contaminated with toxic metals like zinc, cadmium, lead and iron.

The researchers discovered that by pouring the toxic water over a bed of crushed clam or mussel shells, the metals were effectively removed. In the developing countries, this process could save many lives with minimal costs involved.

The way it works is the sea shells are made of calcium carbonate. The heavy metals bond to the shells, thus taking them out of the water. Clam and mussel shells are a waste product of the seafood industry in many places.

Kohler’s team uses methods based on studies done by Manuel Prieto of Spain’s Oviedo University. Prieto demonstrated in 2003 that he could remove cadmium from water by using sea shells made of calcium carbonate.

The great thing about this process is that sea shells are abundant and economical all over the world. This means even in developing countries, we have a way to deal with the problem of heavy metal pollution that is practical.

Obviously, we need to stop the actual problem of dumping these metals into our water to begin with. Until then, we now have a way to deal with this dangerous pollution, thanks to our world’s abundance of sea shells.