Get the Lead Out with Coffee Grounds

If you don’t want lead in the water for your coffee, coffee grounds may be just the right thing. UPI reports that coffee grounds can use used to extract heavy metal ions, like lead from water. Italian scientists have used coffee-infused foam to remove lead from contaminated water.

Coffee-infused foam sounds like the brainchild of a chef or barista, but it’s actually the work of a team of materials scientists and chemical engineers. The foam doesn’t go on top of a drink, but it can make water safe to drink — that is if the water is contaminated with lead.

A team of researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology created a filter, a combination of spent coffee grounds and bioelastomeric foam.

In initial tests, the foam successfully removed 99 percent of lead and mercury ions from contaminated still water in 30 hours. In flowing water, the foam extracted 67 percent of the lead ions.

The scientists suggest using coffee to clean up water contaminated by lead and other heavy metal ions like mercury. Since billions of pounds of coffee grounds are put in landfills every year the spent product of making coffee could be put to a much better use. What else can spent coffee grounds be used for?

There is more you can do with coffee grounds than throw them out or use them to get the lead of out contaminated water. Last year we wrote about healthy coffee grounds. Researchers in Spain found that a high level of antioxidants remain in use coffee grounds.

Researchers from the University of Granada found that antioxidant levels in spent coffee grounds and coffee silver skin are especially high. The silver skin is one of the protective layers in between the outer coffee berry and the beans inside; it is typically removed prior to roasting.

Some consumers use spent coffee grains as a do-it-yourself exfoliant. Others deposit coffee grounds into their compost pile. But the vast majority of coffee byproducts make their way to the landfill.

That’s a shame, according to researcher and food science professor Jose Angel Rufian Henares. Henares’ research team found silver skins and used coffee grounds to be rich in fiber and phenols, and to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties 500 times greater than vitamin C.

Researchers hope that their findings will inspire food producers and others to devise ways to recoup these healthy coffee grounds and make use of them in healthy products.

Coffee grounds have already found their way into skin care products.

Some medical research indicates that topical caffeine products reduce inflammation, reverse sun damage, provide antioxidant protection and minimize the appearance of cellulite. Although those scientific theories have not been definitively proven, they are causing some women to add caffeine skin products to their beauty regimen.

As Italian scientists find that you can use coffee grounds to remove lead from contaminated water beauticians are using coffee grounds to beatify their clients. There are certainly lots of useful things that you can do with coffee grounds rather than throw them out!

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