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First, LifeStraw conquered bacteria and chemicals. Now it’s getting the lead out

LifeStraw Lead
Rick Stella/Digital Trends
Outdoor Retailer Awards 2018

For this winter’s Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, Digital Trends teamed up with The Manual to crown the greatest outdoor gear as our Best Of Show winners, along with four awards going to the most innovative products. Head on over to The Manual to see the complete Outdoor Retailer Awards.

Lightweight and reliable, LifeStraws let hikers slurp from mountain lakes, streams, and even puddles without worrying about pesky bacteria like giardia. But what about contaminants you might find in a more urban environment?

At this year’s Outdoor Retailer show, LifeStraw debuted a new filter designed to reduce lead, the debilitating contaminant that lead to the Flint water crisis. Though less of a concern in the great outdoors, it’s a persistent problem in developing countries and disaster scenarios, which the world saw plenty of through 2017. And that’s precisely why we awarded LifeStraw a Digital Trends Innovation Award.

More 2018 Outdoor Retailer Award Winners

Designed to be included in two of its more popular products — LifeStraw Play and LifeStraw Go 2-stage — LifeStraw’s new lead filtration system should prove incredibly beneficial in areas affected by natural disasters. The new filters still feature the same carbon capsule responsible for decreasing chlorine levels, bad taste, and any organic chemical matter. While also eliminating 99.999999 percent of bacteria and waterborne protozoa, the lead filtration system meets or exceeds the National Sanitation Foundation’s standards for lead reduction.

LifeStraw’s managing director, Alison Hill added that the company’s “innovation provides peace of mind for consumers drinking from a local tap or outdoor devotees hydrating from a backcountry river.” Those who’ve used a LifeStraw product while camping, backpacking, or otherwise know just how important it is to have access to clean, drinkable water while on-the-go. When a natural disaster strikes, the value of clean water is at an all-time high.

Now that they can filter out lead, LifeStraws can help a wider range of people — and the brand is going out of its way to put its products in the hands of people who need them. For the last three years, the company has guaranteed clean water to more than 633,000 school children across more than 1,100 schools. And it plans to send 35 local staff, 20 paid volunteers, and 40 international volunteers to Kenya in order to install LifeStraw Community water purifiers at more than 525 schools. Once the installations are completed, the team plans on hosting seminars and conducting follow-ups of each purifier.

While the LifeStraw Play and LifeStraw Go 2-stage intend to feature the new lead filtration technology, the company also intends to include it in its new Flex Gravity, four-liter system designed for larger groups, which will make it a boon for areas hit by natural disasters.

For adapting its outdoor technology to serve the greater good, LifeStraw makes a worthy winner of a Digital Trends Innovation Award.

Rick Stella
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rick became enamored with technology the moment his parents got him an original NES for Christmas in 1991. And as they say…
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