Grade 12 students invent device that detects toxic metals in water

Published October 24, 2019, 10:35 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Dhel Nazario

Two Grade 12 students have created an inexpensive device which can help detect harmful metals such as mercury and lead in water.

Marvince John P. Araneta and Lorraine Joy Z. Bales from the Iloilo National Highschool won the Outstanding Student Creative Research (SIBOL Award) for High School for their CQD Based portable Water Monitoring Kit during the third day of the Regional Science and Technology Week (RSTW) at the Iloilo Convention Center.

Marvince John P. Araneta and Lorraine Joy Z. Bales  (DHEL NAZARIO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Marvince John P. Araneta and Lorraine Joy Z. Bales

Metal detection techniques and instruments play a vital role in water safety control due to the harmful effects of mercury and lead.

However, given the fact that these instruments are expensive and requires complicated preparations, access to these services cannot be availed of by people in remote areas.

The students’ invention gives the common Filipino access to cheaper, uncomplicated, non-toxic, and portable instrument for heavy metal detection. They don’t need to go to the nearest Department of Science and Technology (DOST) laboratory and pay for the procedure.

“Research is about creating quality services inclusive to all especially for the rural and poor Filipino communities,” the two students said.

Araneta said the news on massive arsenic poisoning in Sri Lanka how local mining sites contaminated the local deep wells of minority communities was what prompted them to pursue the research.

With their invention, the procedure to detect toxic chemicals is made simple, unlike the complicated steps of current instruments, and produces the same results.

A power bank is needed to operate the device which contains two vials each with a solution they carefully prepared. Water to be tested will be placed inside one of the vials. Once the device is switched on and it emits light, it means there is no metal present. If there is no light emission, it indicates that lead or mercury is present in the water.