There are several methods for emergency disinfection of drinking water. Each with their own attributes and effectiveness.
One method to treat water for drinking is to use water purification tablets.
Water Purification Tablets – Advantages
1. Small and lightweight
A typical small bottle (50 tablets) of the most popular brand (Potable Aqua) will treat 25 quarts of water.
(comes with ‘neutralizing’ tablets to help offset the iodine taste)
It’s easy to do and takes up very little space in a pack compared to a portable filter. I’m not degrading the usefulness of a good portable water filter! Instead I’m pointing out another alternative.
Note that boiling water will ensure safe drinking (except for any potential chemical contamination).
Continue reading: How Long to Boil Water for Safe Drinking
It’s fairly time efficient. The tablets listed above will treat water in about 30 minutes.
3. No fuel required
No need to use fuels for boiling water.
4. No problem in cold weather
In cold temperatures filter membranes and mechanisms can rupture or break without your knowledge. Potable Aqua tablets are unaffected by freeze thaw.
About Potable Aqua Tablets
Each tablet contains 20 mg of Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide, which “liberates 8 mg of titratable iodine when released into water.”
One iodine tablet will treat 2 cups of water while two tablets will treat one quart.
Though there’s no expiration date, the manufacturer says once the bottle of tablets is opened, it’s best to replace them for “next season”.
Further information, “as a general rule tablets that are grayish/brown in color are good and tablets that are yellowish/green should be replaced.”
The tablets are not intended for long terms use.
How To Use
1) Drop 2 tablets into 1 quart or liter of water, cap loosely and wait 5 minutes.
2) Shake container to sanitize screw threads, then tighten cap.
3) Wait 30 minutes.
4) Add two PA Plus Tablets (neutralize taste) and shake well.
3) Wait 3 minutes, then drink!
Water purification tablets are effective against Giardia lamblia when used as directed.
The following tablets are also effective on Cryptosporidium, though 4 hours is required for full effectiveness:
They’re convenient to have when camping and traveling or when you’re on the move and don’t always have the time to make a fire, boil water, then wait for it to cool before drinking. A nice addition to one’s emergency kit.
Tip: These tablets go hand in hand with having a canteen.
Caution: For those allergic to shellfish, or IV (contrast) dye, or allergic to iodine, don’t use this product. Though you likely already know this.
Continue reading: Stainless Steel Canteen – Single Walled for Boiling Water