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Artists Jon Cohrs and Morgan Levy evaporated San Jose city water to make their environmental awareness “medicinal all-salt” and write:

Are you feeling depressed? Sick of paying exorbitant rates for birth control? Try Alviso’s Medicinal All-Salt, harvested locally in San Jose.

Traditionally, medical conditions are treated through expensive appointments and prescription drugs. Alviso’s Medicinal All-Salt is a unique low-dosage cocktail of our most commonly used drugs, all brought together in one simple salty remedy, naturally.

Our process harvests two popular commodities, sea salt and recycled pharmaceuticals from water treatment plants, to produce one fine medicinal product: Alviso’s Medicinal All-Salt. A salt for every condition, hand harvested and sun dried for purity.

There’s an Instructable documenting their process, as well as the cheeky video above and a faux product page.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site:



  1. BobsYourUncle says:

    Read up on homeopathy. San Jose water already cures (and causes) all ailments according to their rules of dilution.

  2. morgwood says:

    The salt is made from the effluent of the San Jose water treatment plant, not the tap water that flows from faucets in San Jose.

    There may be some PPCP in city water too, but I hope in much lower concentrations than what we’re polluting the bay with.

    1. Alan says:

      If it’s in the wastewater, it’s probably finding its way back into the tapwater. I reported on this issue for Nature Medicine a few years ago, and the Associated Press subsequently picked up the story and went a good bit further with it. In the AP investigation, the reporters found that US surface waters are almost universally contaminated with low levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, and that water treatment plants do nothing to remove any of these substances. They’re extremely persistent in the environment, so it’s likely that some of these molecules just keep accumulating.

      For my article, I interviewd several researchers and also the CEO of Porta-John, who has developed some technologies to recover excreted pharmaceuticals with an eye toward repurifying and reselling them. From the information he sent me, it looks like his system works, but he’s had a hard time finding people willing to invest in it (go figure). You can go to the Porta-John web site and click “pharmaceuticals” to see the patents. I’d post a link, but the Make blog still hasn’t figured out I’m not a spammer.

      1. Matt Mets says:

        Thanks for the insightful comments, and sorry about that. You should be a ‘trusted’ commenter now.

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