By the end of 2016, MyDx plans to release a handheld chemical analyzer for consumer use. With the continued developments in the Flint, Mich., water contamination crisis, and news of contaminants in air and food, MyDx CEO Daniel Yazbeck sought to make consumers more aware of what they ingest. WQP Associate Editor Bob Crossen spoke with Yazbeck about the need for a consumer analyzer and what data it provides to the user.
Bob Crossen: Why did you want to develop the sensor?
Daniel Yazbeck: Ironically enough, we began MyDx [because] no device existed that can help patients and consumers better understand and track the chemical composition of cannabis, so they could find a strain that works for them. As we developed the idea of a handheld chemical analyzer, we learned more about harmful pesticides and chemicals in food, water and air. We found that there was currently no practical solution for consumers to understand the chemicals in the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air they breathe. We created the MyDx analyzer in order to empower consumers to trust and verify everything they eat, drink and inhale in an affordable, practical and real-time manner.
Crossen: Why is it important for consumers to learn what is in their water?
Yazbeck: The recent media coverage of the water crises in several cities across the nation exemplifies exactly why it is important for the public (consumers) to know what is in their water and whether it is safe to drink. Many municipalities are in the spotlight right now to provide trusted sources of clean water to their constituents. While the Flint, Mich., and Alabama water crises have been well publicized for consumer awareness, these are not the only cities to experience such concern over their water supplies. The Harvard Gazette recently reported that there are at least 33 states across the nation where unsafe levels of toxic chemicals have been found in drinking water.
At MyDx, we believe everyone should have access to clean and pure drinking water. With our upcoming AquaDx application, we allow for consumers to trust and verify their water in an affordable, real-time and practical manner. Each of our applications ... utilizes proven technology that has already been used in government-grade applications for chemical detection by NASA and the U.S. military. We are providing affordable, government-grade technology directly to consumers for the first time to allow them to detect in a practical and real-time manner the presence of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, detect the presence of pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins in drinking water, and monitor the level of volatile organic compounds, temperature and humidity in their surrounding environment.
Crossen: What can the sensor reveal about the water it tests?
Yazbeck: The sensor comes with three applications that will detect the presence of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides as well as five heavy metals (cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc); lead to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards; [and] total hardness, total chlorine, pH and total alkalinity.
Crossen: How detailed are the data provided by the sensor?
Yazbeck: For our AquaDx flagship sensor, we detect the presence of many different chemicals [in the] parts-per-million or parts-per-billion ranges and provide the consumer a simple and easy-to-read “total toxicity profile” of pass or fail. The cumulative effect of these chemicals may produce harmful effects on consumers, so we provide the consumers a pass or fail depending on the level of chemicals detected that fall below the Military Exposure Guideline for Safety.
Crossen: How can people track their water testing?
Yazbeck: Our software app, AquaDx, will be available for iOS or Android and works in conjunction with the analyzer to digitize the result and easily track every sample tested. We also provide for geolocation that tracks the location of the test in real time, where we will publish a global data map for the public to see the results of water testing in different regions across the nation or across the globe.
Crossen: Why was it important to keep the device simple?
Yazbeck: Simplicity is key so that the everyday consumer can easily analyze and track. If it’s not simple, people won’t use it.