Water-Related Health Threats
Purifying your drinking water is a necessity. The only reason to carry any drinking water purifier at all is to protect your health against microbiological and chemical contaminants. Water-related health threats can occur any time you are in contact with water:
- Drinking water directly.
- Using water as a food or beverage ingredient.
- Using water to clean cookware.
- Using water for hygiene, i.e., washing, brushing teeth.
- During recreation such as swimming, skiing or boating and rafting.
Common sense is necessary to reduce exposure and to enable you to deal with these challenges.
Exposure to Contamination
Primary exposure to drinking water contaminants occurs at the following times:
- When collecting raw water for purification... we recommend using a container for your raw water supply whenever possible, and be selective when possible, to choose a source least likely to be badly polluted. Generally, water sources at higher altitudes tend to be less polluted.
- During purification... be careful to prevent dirty water from dripping or flowing into purified water.
- When storing your purifier either at meal or camp sites, or in your carry pack.
- When handling the unit during storage, back washing, brushing, scraping or maintenance functions.
Remember, the primary microorganisms of concern in most wilderness recreation areas are tough, hardy cystic parasites that resist heat and cold... even freezing... drought, chlorine, iodine and just about everything else. And while bacteria are relatively fragile and have very short life cycles, often less than a day, cysts can exist for months. All microorganisms of chief concern are invisibly small and they cannot be seen, smelled, or detected in any quick and easy manner. Accordingly, you should assume that all wilderness supplies are polluted.