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Pretty cool invention. It sparked from an idea that was created by a scientist I believe about some unique filtering system that I read about a while back.

http://lifestraw.com/

This is so cool, I always wanted to build my own emergency kit with all kind of survival items, this looks promising but how often would the filter last before needing to be replaced? I couldn't find a definitive answer on their website.
That's a good question. If it's not mentioned I would assume that it should last forever until it breaks, but that seems like a bad assumption to be making with something that you'd trust your life with. Even any warranty timelines would give an indication on how far they expect the thing to last.
Well they said it will not allow you to suck water out if it reaches its end of life, and that you should clean it regularly to expand its life, BUT they didn't mention the duration or if it can be cleaned with a cloth or something, it would beat the point if it needs clear water.

But I would expect it to last reasonably long due to the fact they don't sell filter replacements which means you will just have to buy a new one.
I'm pretty sure you could almost stick the thing in the mud. You just wouldn't get much water out of pure mud I don't think. I would probably still be nervous about sticking the straw in raw sewage to test it out, haha... I'm sure it works to filter anything bad out, but It would still feel a bit sketchy. I'd definitely use it for lakes and things like that though.