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Mississippi graduate student patents lead-filtering straw

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Jackson State University graduate student is changing the way we drink water, with a straw.

LaMonté Pierce says what started out as a collaboration between JSU students from several majors, turned into a much bigger invention; which would eventually prevent people from ingesting lead through drinking water. 

Pierce and his classmates were asked to find a solution to a problem in Mississippi. 

They chose the constant boil water notices issued by the City of Jackson. For a solution, a filtered straw.

“The guy who I was partnering with, Andrew Willis, he’s a business marketing, finance and all of that… basically, he kept contacting me over the summer saying you know we need to continue this over the summer, we need to keep doing this… I think you hit on something big and think it’ll do something. So I was like yea, we can try that out.” 

That’s when Pierce began to do more research on filters and materials. 

“From 2017 til now I had been doing a lot of research … looking up material, different types of filters, things that are environmentally safe or non-toxic… and I was always looking at the negatives. The things that would cause it to not work.”

Eventually, with a 3-D printer Pierce created a prototype straw called Cleanstraww.  He says during his research process, he couldn’t find a product that could filter lead. 

“I saw somewhere they were drinking out of toilets, they were drinking from the river, different things like that. They use simple filters that you can find in everyday filters, but the thing was they did not filter out lead… if we can filter out lead, we can pretty much filter out anything.” 

Pierce has received impressive offers from big retailers like Walmart which offered to sell CleanStraww in nearly 4,000 stores. Each box would contain about 10-12 units per box, but Pierce says that’s just not enough.

He’s still looking to find just the right investor for his life-changing invention that would benefit the economy and consumers.

“Take the responsibility of clean water directly out of the government, state and city officials hands and put it in the hands of the consumers. If you want clean water, here you go,” he said.

Pierce says when everything falls in place, he has the vision to open a factory in Jackson to bring in more jobs. 

For more information about CleanStraww, click here.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.