A water-repellent coating could be key to preventing a catastrophic water-borne illness, which has plagued the world in recent years.
The latest report by the Global Water Alliance, a global water safety network, says the water-resistance technology is becoming increasingly important, especially in the developed world.
It found that over the past decade, a number of new technologies have emerged that promise to reduce or eliminate waterborne illnesses in the developing world.
“We are seeing an increase in water-resistant technologies, particularly membrane-based systems,” said Dr Stephen Higgs, the report’s lead author.
“MEMOS, a membrane-reactive, water-storing polymer made of a polymer and polyester, is widely used to insulate buildings and infrastructure.
This technology, which is also commonly used to protect cars, could be particularly useful for protecting waterborne diseases.”
The report, which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said the technology is “highly promising” and “has the potential to be widely adopted in many parts of the world”.
It found “significant improvements” in water resistance for many membranes in recent decades, including membranes made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has been used to manufacture buildings and buildings products.
“There is growing interest from industry in the potential use of water resistant polymers to protect water-sensitive buildings and other facilities,” the report said.
“In addition to the PVC membranes, there are several other commercially available water-reliant membranes in use, including polyethylene and polypropylene.
They can withstand high temperatures and humidity conditions.”
The study found that a water resistant coating made of the membrane-resistant polymer, polyester-recoverable polyethylenimine (PPE), was also used for buildings.
“The high moisture resistance and water-absorbing properties of PPE are well suited to buildings and structures with high-temperature and humidity environments,” the researchers said.
The study also found that the PPE-based water-proofing technology was “increasingly being used in the commercial industry to protect buildings and equipment from environmental contaminants”.
The report said that although the technology was being used “with increasing frequency in the past few years” in the water safety world, the technology had yet to reach “commercial scale”.
It said that while there was still a long way to go before this technology can be used to meet the growing demand, it was a “pivotal step”.
“The use of membrane-type membrane-resisting products has become increasingly important to water-related health protection and is expected to play an increasingly important role in the future,” Dr Higgs said.