Development of a Low-Cost Arsenic Water Filter Using Magnetite

Despite all of the technological advances in the field of medicine, arsenic poisoning still remains one of the most prominent environmental illnesses. Approximately 100 million people daily have been exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic in countries such as Mexico, Bangladesh, and even the United States (Uddin). The purpose of this research experiment was to determine if magnetite, black iron oxide (Fe3O4), would act as an effective filter for arsenic. Magnetite is a naturally occurring mineral that is best known for its magnetic properties. The filter was designed with sand on the bottom layer and then followed with a layer of magnetite, steel wool, and more sand. Carbon mesh was then attached to the bottom of the filter to eliminate any excess sand from falling out of the filter. To determine the effectiveness of the arsenic filter, the researchers measured the initial and final arsenic concentrations. After the final arsenic concentrations were recorded, a one sample t test was used to compare the final arsenic concentrations to the original arsenic concentration of 0.500 ppm. The results of the one sample t test showed that there was strong evidence that the original arsenic level was greater than the arsenic level after. After the one sample t test was computed, it was concluded that the magnetite filter reduced the arsenic concentration in the solution by at least 50%. In fact, the filter reduced the arsenic levels by 98%. The conclusions of this research could be applied to the field of preventive medicine in order to determine how to effectively reduce arsenic levels in drinking water in third-world countries.

Research Conducted By:

Kelsey Giffin
Warren Mott High School

Kalie Tomlinson
Sterling Heights High School