scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Water Purification using Clorox Bleach (new info from Red Cross)
Sun Jul 23 2000 - 23:08:07 CDT
In a message dated 7/14/00 10:01:50 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
> If one selects the proper filter, it will remove 99+ % of bacteria and
> crypto, which is most important.
I know that when used properly, they usually work well, but I've seen too
many campers and travelers with plugged filters. When this happens in the
woods or the Indian subcontinent, the only remaining option is boiling. I
prefer better the reliability of chemical treatment.
Iodine and Chlorox, when used according to instructions, work every time.
Chlorox has very clear and effective instructions on their website
(http://www.clorox.com/health/disaster/disaster5.html). If it weren't safe,
their lawyers wouldn't permit such a thing to be officially broadcast (same
goes for iodine venders).
> ...people are not allergic to filtered water, whereas they may be
> allergic to Clorox, etc.
In my town, we drink chlorinated water all the time -- no allergic reactions
that I know of. There are, however, a few unlucky souls who are allergic to
iodine (even met one back in '76 -- chlorine was not a problem for him).
Chlorox is, however, very toxic (that's how it kills the nasties, after all)
and corrosive. So ya gotta be careful with it. Always use it according to
instructions. Don't spill any on your clothes or skin. If you do, flush
immediately with copious amounts of water. Carry your Chlorox in a container
that seals perfectly, then put it in a good ziploc bag. Even a slight leak
will ruin your backpack.
I've used Chlorox and iodine tablets for some 30 years as a Scout, Scouter,
and in my worldwide travels in the military, as a missionary, and as an
airline pilot. On a 54-mile canoe trip in Alaska, we used Chlorox with
perfect success. Unlike many others I've known, I've never been sick from
drinking the water -- neither have any of my scouts -- and I've had to drink
some mighty ugly looking water on occasion.