Unique Seattle partnership impacts global health with launch of new water treatment product

May 19, 2015 by PATH

Outdoor gear manufacturer Mountain Safety Research and international nonprofit PATH bring Community Chlorine Maker from idea to market

PATH: Kate Cheney Davidson, +1 (206) 302-4637, kdavidson@path.org
MSR: Martin Maisonpierre, +1 (206) 694-1565, MartinM@CascadeDesigns.com
World Vision: Johnny Cruz, +1 (253) 815-2072, JCruz@WorldVision.org.

Seattle, May 19, 2015–Local outdoor gear manufacturer MSR (Mountain Safety Research®) and Seattle-based international nonprofit organization and global health innovation leader PATH today announced the launch of a new water treatment product, the result of a five-year partnership to bring low-cost community water solutions to the global market. The MSR® SE200™ Community Chlorine Maker is a portable device that can produce enough chlorine to treat up to 200 liters of safe drinking water in low resource and disaster stricken communities in just five minutes with the push of a button. The two organizations commemorated the launch at an event held at MSR's manufacturing plant in the SODO neighborhood near downtown Seattle, where the device will be made.

More than 700 million people lack access to quality sources of drinking water, and unsafe water conditions contribute to diarrheal disease, one of the leading causes of preventable childhood deaths in developing countries. Chlorine is an effective method for destroying pathogenic microorganisms and has been shown to reduce the threat of waterborne disease. However, many people living in urban slums and rural villages have limited access to chlorine due to cost and unreliable supply. Using only salt, water, and a power source (via local power sources or a 12 volt battery), the MSR® SE200™ produces a consistent concentration of chlorine solution on demand that can be used to treat water at wells, water kiosks, water trucks, in schools, and other common sources of community water.

The SE200™ is the first product from the newly-created MSR Global Health division, dedicated to improving access to innovative technologies for people living on less than $5 per day.

"Over five years ago PATH saw that we were engineering water treatment products for the military and outdoor recreation market, and partnered with us to co-design these technologies into products that can make a sustainable difference in global health," said Joe McSwiney, president of Cascade Designs, the parent company of MSR. "What happened next was the birth of a very unique relationship between a Seattle manufacturer and a local Seattle nonprofit that, together, working on sustainable commercial models, are overcoming many of the barriers to technology adoption by people who live in low-resource settings. The MSR® SE200™ Chlorine Maker is just the beginning of what we have planned, and we look forward to fostering our Seattle partnerships to continue developing products that save lives."

"PATH has nearly 40 years of experience mobilizing cross-sector partnerships to transform innovative ideas into health solutions for people living in low-income countries," said Glenn Austin, senior advisor of product development at PATH. "Through comprehensive research, numerous field studies, and user-centered design and development, this partnership was able to deliver a product that is affordable and easy to use and maintain in many different settings. Our ongoing work to advance safe water interventions brings us close to people living in communities around the world and it has been terrific to see their satisfaction in finally having a reliable tool to create safe drinking water."

The MSR® SE200™ Community Chlorine Maker–co-designed by MSR and PATH–was made possible with assistance from other Seattle-based nonprofits including Christian humanitarian organization World Vision and the Washington Global Health Alliance. Through the Life Science Discovery Fund, World Vision will be introducing the first 150 MSR® SE200™ Community Chlorine Maker products off the factory line in both East and West African communities.

"We are grateful for our partners at MSR and PATH to their shared commitment to ensure that everyone has clean and safe water," said Greg Allgood, vice president of water at World Vision.

Mentorship, funding, years of technology development, and field evaluation was provided by multiple organizations including philanthropic foundations, international NGOs, and the US military. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Laird Norton Family Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, and individual donors have all supported the development of the MSR® SE200™. In addition, the US military evaluated the MSR® SE200™ Chlorine Maker as an option for humanitarian assistance and disaster response in a natural disaster simulation exercise in Thailand.

For more information on the MSR Global Health and the SE200 Community Chlorine Maker (MSR® SE200™), visit: http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/global-health.

For more about information about PATH's work in community water, visit: http://sites.path.org/water/community-water/.

For more information on World Vision's work in providing access to clean water, visit: worldvision.org/water.

About MSR® (Mountain Safety Research®) Global Health

Seattle-based MSR has been a leader in outdoor gear design and U.S. manufacturing since 1969, outfitting adventurers with the finest, most reliable gear for performance in the harshest conditions. MSR Global Health, a new division launched in 2015, harnesses that expertise to improve access to basic human needs–food, water, shelter and mobility–for people in low-resource communities throughout the world. In partnership with leading universities, technology development firms, non-profit organizations and funding agencies, MSR Global Health accesses cutting-edge technologies and utilizes a broad range of in-house capabilities from scientific research to manufacturing and commercialization to bring high-quality, innovative global health solutions to market. For more information, visit http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/global-health.

About World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person with clean water every 30 seconds. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org.