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Colin

Iodine Tablets Going Bad?

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Anyone know if iodine tablets can go bad? I wouldn't think so, but the very visible difference that has taken place on them made me think that I might as well ask.

 

I have three partially-used "jars." In one newish-looking jar, the tablets are a uniform gray (which is what I remember them looking like new). However, in the second jar the tablets have turned orange and brown speckled, and they have turned red and brown speckled in the third jar. Perhaps this is caused from accidently getting water in the jars at some point.

 

My guess is that they are fine, but maybe someone knows for sure.

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The Potable Aqua brand does have a shelf life. I think it even says on the package, but one year after you initially open it is what they recommend. Even at that, you need to screw the lid pretty tight to keep water and moisture out.

 

I don't think you have the same effect on crystalline iodine, but that isn't the sort of think you generally get by purchasing at an outdoor store.

 

Not sure how you can distinguish the amount of water that can get in there and still have the product work correctly.

 

[ 06-07-2002, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: mtnnut ]

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Yes, about one year after opening the Potable Aqua tabs start losing their potency. You can still use them, just use a couple of them per liter instead of just one.

 

[ 06-07-2002, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: jules ]

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The chemistry of iodine is pretty far out, and that severely affects its shelf life. It's light sensitive (that's why Potable Aqua comes in a brown, rather than clear, bottle). It can polymerize, and also form wildly shaped complexes. The Potable Aqua tablets are hygroscopic, and will absorb water from the surrounding air. Temperature and turbidity will adversely affect potency as well. Clear warm water is where the stuf works the best.

An alternative to iodine is chlorine. Though iodine is slightly more effective in whacking giardia, chlorine also kills cryptosporidium (sp?). One commercial product is "SweetWater ViralStop Solution".

FYI, a recent study of stream water in the Sierras (maybe Cascades as well) found little risk of giardia --Actually much less than in municipal swimming pools. The article was mentioned in National Geographic's Adventure magazine. Basically, unless an infected person recently took a shit upstream (or an infected beaver is upstream), the water will be fine.

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freeclimb9,

 

A certain patner of mine contracted giarda at 11000 feet plus one fall afternoon on Mt Adams...

 

Just a note..

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hmmmmm... I work in water resources....

 

Giardia and Cryptosporidium can be found in almost all open water sources in the PNW... in low concentrations. they were first introduced in the 1970's and wildlife, domestric animals and humans have spread them effectively... over 90% of dogs tested in Seattle were carrying giardia in a study in 1994...

 

FWIW something like 40-50% of humans are 'carriers' of giardia in that they can be carrying the cysts and pass them on in their excreta, but never develop the symptoms themselves.

 

The main reasonm you should decontaminate water sources is not giardia or crypto but rather fecal coliforms.

 

And yes generally the higher you go in remote areas, the cleaner the water...does not apply on popular volcanoes obviously,

 

That said I never filter or treat mountain water in BC and I have never gotten sick, even from drinking from the creek beside the Chief trail...actually that trail is so popular I migt not do that anymore.

 

Much better than either iodine (can fuck up your thyroid in high doses, tastes bad) or chlorine dioxide* (can produce low-level carcinogens in dirty water)tablets are the water pump filters, or just boiling the water.

 

*not chlorine as stated above... no commercial backcountry treatments use pure chlorine.. that would be like just dumping beach in your Nalgene...

 

so much for information..back to spray now.

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Check out the July 2002 issue of Adventure Magazine by National Geographic (on the table at the dentist's office?). There's an article outlining research by Robert Rockwell which poses the question of whether "reports of giardia in the wild have been greatly exaggerated".

BTW, I carry and use Potable Aqua, or SweetWater ViralStop Solution. I've drank untreated water many times without ill effect, but I wouldn't reccomend doing the same. And I don't drink untreated, or unfiltered, water around where I live: too many beaver, cows, and sheep. It's just shit.

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I drink untreated water too. But you seemed to say it in a way that leaned toward it was the only thing to do freeclimb9. Just a note as mentioned....

 

I never use water filters. Use iodine and 100% pure chlorine [laf]

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quote:

Originally posted by freeclimb9:

Check out the July 2002 issue of Adventure Magazine by National Geographic (on the table at the dentist's office?). There's an article outlining research by Robert Rockwell which poses the question of whether "reports of giardia in the wild have been greatly exaggerated".

BTW, I carry and use Potable Aqua, or SweetWater ViralStop Solution. I've drank untreated water many times without ill effect, but I wouldn't reccomend doing the same. And I don't drink untreated, or unfiltered, water around where I live: too many beaver, cows, and sheep. It's just shit.

Yes beware of drinking downstream of livestock. Beavers, I think may have a bad rep. Incidentally N. american beaver population is skyrocketing right now. no one traps them anymore. pesky little beasts.

 

On giardia, I see the tests Health ministry does on these watersheds...almost all tests report at least 1 cyst per sample but a large proportion of those cysts are non-viable. For instance, giardia is known to be present in Vancouvers watersheds, Vancouver does not filter their water (chlorination doesnt kill giardia, nor does iodine...you need to filter) but few, if any, Vancouver people become sick from giardia...non viable cysts.

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quote:

Originally posted by Cpt.Caveman:

I drink untreated water too. But you seemed to say it in a way that leaned toward it was the only thing to do freeclimb9.

I'm just throwing out some info that I found compelling. Realize that I rarely get in auto accidents, but I still frequently wear a seat belt.

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I agree that iodine tabs will go bad/loose effectiveness.

 

I have HEARD that Marmots are another major carrier of Giardia...anybody know anything about this? Not sure if this is true. If true that would put giardia carries high the mountains with us.

 

I do tend to believe that claims of Giardia are over stated. I have drank from many sources with no treatment and had no problems. Luck? Maybe.

 

I almost never use waterfilers/purifiers, unless overseas (used them in Tanzania). I sometimes think the water filter industry pumps up the whole giardia problem to sell more filters. When using iodine tablets I have never had problems.

 

[big Drink]

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quote:

Originally posted by Wopper:

Don't forget the crystal light because iodine makes the water taste like ass crack.

Isn't asscrack the 39th flavour at Baskin Robbins?

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Everything I have read about chlorine would suggest that it's not going to get the business done.

 

I'd love to chuck my water filter in the interest of saving weight, but Giardia and Crypto (which has no cure) both sound pretty unappealing to me.

 

Aqua Mira and other products with the same chemical makeup (chlorine dioxide??) have not been proven yet (to my satisfaction) to be both safe and effective.

 

I wonder if anyone has had luck with those newish squeezy sports bottle filter things. It's like a sports bottle, you fill it up with dirty water, then it goes thru the filter as you drink it. Looks like it would work fine for drinking but less so for making water for other uses, like cooking.

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quote:

Originally posted by allison:

Everything I have read about chlorine would suggest that it's not going to get the business done.

 

I'd love to chuck my water filter in the interest of saving weight, but Giardia and Crypto (which has no cure) both sound pretty unappealing to me.

 

Aqua Mira and other products with the same chemical makeup (chlorine dioxide??) have not been proven yet (to my satisfaction) to be both safe and effective.

 

I wonder if anyone has had luck with those newish squeezy sports bottle filter things. It's like a sports bottle, you fill it up with dirty water, then it goes thru the filter as you drink it. Looks like it would work fine for drinking but less so for making water for other uses, like cooking.

Allison I find as long as I stay hydrated I have no problem "making water". [laf]

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Allison!!!

 

You mean you have given into the commercial pressures of the Man? The Man has fooled us into believing that we need these pieces of crap. We pay for them at the counter and then in weight in our packs. I thought you were stronger than to allow the man to keep you down. [Wink]

 

Actually, I have to admit I do not know anyone that climbs in the US or Canada (at least that I climb with) that actually uses a filter.

 

Have you had problems with iodine Allison? With chlorine? Curious to know. [Wazzup]

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You mean Carlos, Kitty and Chris Boskoff dont use filters? [big Grin]

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Don't forget the crystal light because iodine makes the water taste like ass crack.

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Vitamin C. Nuetralizes the iodine. Use about a quarter tab of C per iodine tab. Wait 'til you think the bugs'r dead of course.

 

[ 06-07-2002, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: chucK ]

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quote:

Originally posted by allison:

Everything I have read about chlorine would suggest that it's not going to get the business done...

 

Aqua Mira and other products with the same chemical makeup (chlorine dioxide??) have not been proven yet (to my satisfaction) to be both safe and effective.

Anyone know someone that lives in Seattle and drinks the water there? Well, guess what! All of Seattle and their purveyor accounts (most surrounding municipalities) drink water treated with none other than CHLORINE... plain old simple bleach (just in powdered or gas form). And guess where all that water originally comes from? The same Cascade mountains we all love. Sure it's fenced off to keep humans out, but the same critters still live there (in and out of the water).

 

And as far as chlorine dioxide, just as effective - works by the same mechanisms only safer and easier work with/transport. Many municipalities in the U.S. also use this as the primary/only means of treatment.

 

Both are approved by the EPA (which is NOT an easy thing to come by when it involves the health and safety of thousands, even millions, of people in major cities).

 

The only drawback to either of these methods is contact time and the proper ratio of chemical to particles in the water needing disinfecting. For a major treatment plant - no problem, that's their job, they have all the time needed and fancy equipment to monitor solution percentages. But for us in the mountains, we're ususally thirsty right now and don't want to wait the minimum 20 minutes (or longer depending on the temperature), and really have no idea how "dirty" the water is and hence how much chlorine is the ideal amount.

 

[ 06-15-2002, 10:28 AM: Message edited by: Jman ]

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i rarely use a filter or iodine in the cascades, and have consumed water from a small stream only to find marmot poop ten feet upstream and six inches away. no ill effect so far. the one time i did aquire giardia was from a stagnet pool in the s.nevada backcountry before i knew any better.

but for those looking for a alternate cure besides the pills that kill ALL the bacteria in the colon, i recomend two or three heaping tablespoons of quality cayenne pepper. although somewhat drastic, i felt fine within three days. i now carry it with me at all times in the backcountry. also high in vit C and a good medicine used for quite some time.

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The watershed for both Cedar and Tolt are not fenced off where I have been adjacent to them. You can see signs along the perimeter though stapled onto the trees saying "NO TRESPASSING Cedar River Watershed, Source of Seattle's Water." I have one at home over the toilet in the kid's bathroom.

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Yes iodine tabs go bad. Often within six months, I've found. As soon as the color starts getting spotty and they don't dissolve easily they are losing effectivness. An alternative is the liquid idodine found in drug stores. Equally effective as the tablets it is far less expensive and allows you to control how much you use. Just a couple drops left for longer periods of time are as effective as one tablet left for twenty minutes and hardly takes on any of the iodine flavor. If I'm treating my water I usually carry two bottles. When one is empty I refill it and add about two drops of idodine. Its usually at least a couple hours before the other runs out so the iodine has plenty of time to act. I, too, often don't treat my water, but I try to be aware of what is upstream (stock trails,etc) and decide to treat/not treat accordingly.

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