Cigarette ash: it's flicked onto the sidewalk, tapped into trays or simply allowed to hang off the end of a butt until the smoker is done and ready to discard the whole thing. On the whole, cigarette ash has been useless — until now.
According to the American Chemical Society, recent research showed that the leftovers of cigarette smoking can actually filter arsenic, a poisonous substance, from drinking water.
While there are already techniques to remove arsenic from water, ACS wrote that this new finding could be used in areas without such equipment.
Jiaxing Li with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues recently published a study that showed how this low-cost method could be used to remove the odorless poison in developing or rural areas. More savory options, such as banana peel filters have been researched before, but Li et al. found that thanks to its pores, cigarette ash is actually more effective.
The researchers coated the ash with aluminum oxide and then sent contaminated water through it. The end result was a 96 percent reduction in arsenic levels, which put the water at a standard accepted by the World Health Organization, according to ACS.
This research was published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
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