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About those sparkling mountain streams - and other dubious water supplies.

Despite occasional claims that our public water supplies are unsafe, the majority of American municipal water supplies are remarkably good. However, other sources of water in our fair land---sources long regarded as providing the purest water available--are not so safe.

These are the clear, refreshing high mountain streams, particularly in the West, that hikers and trail riders depend upon. Because these streams are high above human habitation, it was assumed that the water was safe to drink--until scientists began to discover in many of them a nasty little amoeba, Giardia lamblia, that causes acute and chronic intestinal infections.

Generally unknown in the United States, it has, for example, long inhabited the public water supply of the former Leningrad--now St. Petersburg-in Russia. With the influx of tourists to the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe, other waterborne infections are making themselves known.

Obtaining safe drinking water when traveling in such areas is not always easy. Sparkling bottled waters are usually safe, but noncarbonated mineral water may not be--especially if the opened bottle brought to your table was just filled from the restaurant kitchen! Treating water with iodine tablets can make it safe, but some object to the iodine taste. (Chlorine tablets, on the other hand, are not always effective against some organisms, particularly viruses.) Boiling is also an effective water treatment.

The Water Tech Water Purifier is the most convenient means of purifying water that we have seen to date. Compact, lightweight. and FDA-approved, it consists of a ten-ounce capped plastic cup, inside of which is a smaller, plastic purifying unit. The purifying unit is removed and held above the cup (or a larger container if more than one cup of water is desired). Water poured into the unit is purified as it passes through the unit's filter and special iodine-resin chamber into the cup or other container.

This device will give years of service and is being used by tourists, businessmen, missionaries, and others throughout the world. Regrettably, very few camping equipment stores or other shops in this country are stocking it yet. However, you can order it by sending a check or money order for $28 (which includes postage) to: Global Health Services, Inc., P.O. Box 40951, Indianapolis, Indiana 46240. (Nonprofit GHS provides health assistance around the world, and all proceeds from the sale of the water purifier go directly into its health programs.)
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Title Annotation:how to obtain safe drinking water when traveling by using the Water Tech Water Purifier
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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