This is the kind of information
that can safe a life...SRN
April 18, 2012, Submitted by: Ken
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that 90 percent of the world’s water is contaminated in some way. There are a variety of microscopic organisms that can contaminate water supplies and cause potentially serious, even fatal, illnesses among wilderness travelers. Dipping your head into a cold mountain stream and taking a long refreshing drink is an experience that has basically vanished from the wilderness areas of America. With the increased use of the wilderness there has also been an increase in the amount of bacteriological contamination of back country water supplies.
Biologically contaminated water is water that contains microorganisms such as Giardia (a common microorganism that, if not killed, leads to intestinal disorders), bacteria, or viruses that can lead to infections.
Toxic water sources contain chemical contamination from pesticide runoffs, mine tailings, and so on. Boiling, filtering, or chemically treating water can remove or kill microorganisms, but it will not remove chemical toxins.
Boiling is the most certain way of killing all microorganisms. According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.
So the correct answer is… The moment your drinking water reaches a rolling boil, the water has already become safe to drink (except for the risk of chemical toxins).
Stop wasting fuel. You do not need to boil water for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, double for high altitude, whatever else you’ve heard, etc.
If you have a thermometer, you don’t even have to wait until the water begins to boil for safe drinking water.
30 minutes at 160° F
3 minutes at 185° F
you’re already safe at 212° F
…I’ll bet you didn’t know that
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