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Chemists Without Borders

Active and Recent Projects

Chemists Without Borders is a collaborative organization producing sustainable results for important field problems by finding appropriate solutions and developing partners to assist in the delivery of those solutions. We seek to be catalysts for our partners, constituents, and suppliers, to achieve better our common humanitarian and social goals.

Clean Water Initiatives

Bangladesh Arsenic Project

Hundreds of millions of people around the world lack safe drinking water. With such a widespread problem, we started with the infamous arsenic contamination of drinking water in the area of the Ganges River delta.

Our work in this area started in 2014 in Bangladesh with a project to educate high school students on the health hazards of arsenic in drinking water.

We worked with six high schools and found very high levels of arsenic (250ppb) in two of them. We worked for a year to identify and to find funding to solve the arsenic problem at these two schools, and, in 2016, with funding from two Rotary Clubs, we were able to construct two ring wells, bringing arsenic-free water to 4000 students at the two schools.

Currently, we are working on a much more ambitious model.  Briefly:

We get safe water to the high schools, test all the wells in a high school district, then deliver enough water from the high school source for drinking and cooking to the people who take water from contaminated wells.

Importantly, it is Bangladeshi youths who fuel this project. Together with Shahena, the project manager in the field, CWB recruits university students as interns to train high school students who test the wells, educate the residents about arsenic, the availability of home delivery, and provide the service of home delivery.

This project is not just about water. It is about empowering the youth of the country to solve its most serious humanitarian problem. 

The general running of the project has significant ongoing costs. $50 keeps us going for another day, $250 for another week. There is no donation that is too small (or too big!). Should you wish to help, the people of Bangladesh will appreciate your donation.

Our work is explained in more detail here:

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information about this project

U.S. Water Quality Study

The goal of the project is to involve young volunteers in water quality issues. The volunteers contact their municipality and request a water quality report. This report is reviewed by the project manager and the team and the municipality is informed of any elements of concern that are not being monitored. Moreover, the municipalities are guided to look into the source of water supply and infrastructure to determine the source of the problem (e.g. corrosion of lead pipes).

The aim of this project is to study water quality in various counties to raise the awareness of water quality in the US.

Chemical Education Initiatives

Chemists Without Borders agrees with John Warner and Beyond Benign: "all chemistry should be green". We have several members interested in developing “Green Chemistry” and advanced chemistry resource web pages.

Chemistry Education Team (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Leone faces challenges that are incomprehensible to most persons living in developed countries; the electricity is unreliable in the capital city and non-existent in the villages. More pertinent, the classrooms have very little in terms of equipment and supplies. Although students are required to purchase their textbooks, many cannot afford to do so and therefore students copy notes from the chalkboard, and imagine and draw their chemistry experiments. A World Bank report notes that “Sierra Leone has lower levels of enrollment in secondary school than many other impoverished nations. Only 10% of school boys and 4% of school girls passed the West Africa Senior School Certificate Exam (i.e. earned a “pass” in four subject areas of which chemistry is one choice) in the remote eastern border district of Kailahun, one of the areas that was hardest hit by Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war.”

Based on a request for help from Khadarlis for Sierra Leone which was established in 2007 to assist vulnerable communities in Sierra Leone, Chemists Without Borders is working to provide chem-lab-in-a-baggie kits, lab exercises and teacher training (referred to as “Lois Labs”) to senior secondary school teachers in Sierra Leone. The kits will include low cost supplies that could be used world-wide in classrooms or in distance learning scenarios. The RADMASTE kit developed with UNESCO funds is an example of what we seek to emulate. However, even the RADMASTE kit labs used heavy metal salts and are moderately expensive. Our kits will use fewer toxic and hazardous chemicals, as there is no organized waste disposal in Sierra Leone. It is our express desire to put lab materials in classrooms that have none. We anticipate that this will result in improvements in some test scores and more student interest in chemistry generally. We plan to have a prototype kit ready in the summer of 2015. This project needs funding and volunteers for implementation. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Safe Pharmaceuticals in Africa

The Paper Analytical Device Project (PAD) project seeks to develop low-cost tests to determine the potency of drugs purchased in Africa. We are currently looking for volunteers with extensive industrial analytical chemistry skills. See here for more details.

Climate Initiatives

Drought Relief / Climate Control And Reversal

We believe that farmers (Agriculture) can make better use of
their available water, while sequestering huge quantities of carbon.

The focus of this project is "Solutions for Drought". Drought is one of the major effects of our changing climate. We will promote Biochar for its ability to hold water, so Agriculture can maintain its historic levels with less water. As global populations increase, we will need to farm new areas that are currently arid and desertic. Biochar creates soils that deliver higher water efficiency to feed billions more.

Impact on Climate Control
Biochar made from biomass that would decay otherwise, stabilizes and sequesters carbon and it helps retain water. The more we relieve Drought, the more naturally occurring CO2 is reduced.
We are investigating, supporting, and spreading technologies that produce and use biochar in Agriculture.

For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click on images for details.