Should You Use Water Purification Tablets?
When you are on a mountain trekking expedition or travelling, you might not have access to pure drinking water. You have to rely on locally available water sources like rivers, streams, or lakes. It can be a great feeling of being able to drink water directly from nature. But, the fact remains that this water is more prone to be affected by bacteria, germs, viruses, and other impurities. Boiling and drinking the water is one plausible solution. Using water purification tablets is a wonderful alternative as well. Let us concentrate on this aspect of water purification.
Is this process effective?
You have a right to ask this question. Using water purification tablets is safe from the scientific angle. It is widely used by mountaineers, hikers, and campers. These water purification tablets have great utility as one of many disaster management solutions. During times of natural calamities like earthquakes and floods when you do not have electrical connectivity, water purification tablets can save the day for you. The same applies to nuclear disaster situations where you find high levels of radioactivity in the affected areas.
What are the popular forms of water purification tablets available?
1. Iodine: Iodine tablets are the most common. Normally, you use iodine in combination with different chemicals. These iodine tablets contain a compound known as tetraglycine hydroperiodide. This chemical compound helps kill bacteria, pathogens, and protozoa in water.
Using these tablets is very simple. You can use 1 tablet per bottle of water. Allow the tablet to work for about half an hour in case you have warm and noticeably cleaner water. In case the water is cold or dirtier, it is better to wait for some more time for the iodine tablets to purify the same.
Using iodine crystals is also a common method to purify water. Certain cysts like the Giardia cysts are not eliminated when you use iodine tablets in cold water. Therefore, it is advisable to warm the water slightly before purification. Adding Vitamin C tablets after the purification process enhances the taste of water.
2. Chlorine: Iodine tablets are effective against most of the bacteria, but they are not successful in eliminating E. coli. Halazone tablets contain chlorine, an effective element to kill E. coli bacteria. These tablets are extremely effective in areas that are low in hygiene. It is also effective during natural disasters where access to pure water is not easy.
Halazone tablets have one drawback in the sense that they have a low shelf life. You should use the tablets with three days of opening the packet. Considering this drawback, there is a better alternative in the form of sodium dichloroisocyanurate.
Chlorine bleach tablets are also very effective, but one should take care to use them sparingly.
3. Third alternative: You have seen two common water purification tablets in the form of iodine and chlorine tablets. There is a third alternative in silver ion, chloride-dioxide based tablets. These tablets are effective against cysts like Giardia and Cryptosporidium. There is one major drawback as use of these tablets can cause accumulation of silver in the body. It can cause medical complications like ‘Argyria’. Silver ion tablets can take longer time for purification of water as compared to chlorine and iodine tablets.
We have just seen three simple water purification tablets available in the market. They are effective in their own way. In case you do not have access to other methods of water purification, using these tablets is the best option for you.