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Apr 11, 2019

A Moss Can Naturally Clean Harmful Arsenic From Water

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, sustainability

If you happen to be thirsty in the woods, there are a lot of things you can stick in your canteen to help clean up your drinking water. There are chlorine pills and filters (not crystals — never crystals). And now scientists have identified a certain kind of moss that could do it, too.

The moss is called Warnstorfia fluitans. It grows in Swedish wetlands contaminated with the toxic arsenic from nearby mining operations. Researchers found that the moss brought the arsenic levels of water down to drinkable levels surprisingly quickly, according to research published in the journal Environmental Pollution.

In northern Sweden, iron mines have contaminated much of the water with arsenic, a metal that is also toxic to humans. That harmful combination works its way into agricultural products like rice, traveling throughout the food web.

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