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Monday, August 15, 2011

Iodine crystals for water purification Ron Hood style

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I remember watching the late Ron Hood describe how he made a water purification kit with Iodine crystals and an empty bottle in one of his early video tapes. So, I bought a one ounce bottle of Iodine crystals which are 99.9% pure and several empty one ounce brown glass bottles. I like the idea of using a brown bottle since it keeps sunlight from harming the effectiveness of the Iodine.
From all the information I've read 7 or 8 grams of Iodine crystals to one one ounce bottle is the formula. Since I bought 3 one ounce bottles I'll split the Iodine crystals 4 ways (28.35 grams is an ounce). This will give me 7 grams of Iodine crystals per bottle. I'll have enough Iodine for 4 water treatment bottles. I plan on making two bottles. One for the wife's kit and one for mine.
The directions are:
Fill the bottle with water. Treated or untreated doesn't matter as long as it isn't muddy or have a bunch of junk floating in it. The treatment works faster if the solution gets warm. You can set the bottle in the sun or keep it next to your body. The Iodine crystals will saturate the water and you will not be able to tell how much crystal has dissolved into solution. Leaving the water in the bottle will not cause the water to super saturate. The Iodine stops dissolving when a limit is reached. That's the beauty of this system. You can leave the water in the bottle for the next treatment and not worry. After the water is nice and warm and has set for around 1 hour, you carefully pour off half the water from the bottle into a 1 liter/quart container of water to be treated. You must let the water set for a determined amount of time depending on the temperature of the water. See the table below. Try not to get any of the crystals into the water. This is so you don't waste them and also so you don't ingest too much of them. A little crystal won't hurt you but too much can make you sick. If you are really concerned, you can use a piece of nylon stocking over the opening of the bottle when you pour off the solution to catch any crystals. A piece of panty hose would work fine. Read all the warnings about Iodine in the information from Raems below.
My plan is to use my Bobble carbon filter to take out the iodine taste from my water. Also, I will add a bit of vitamin C to the water after the allotted treatment time to sublimate the Iodine out of solution. This should remove the taste completely.
On vitamin C for removing the Iodine taste, you only need a little bit to get the job done. If you get a chance to see the vitamin C tablets that come in the second bottle of the Portable Aqua kit, you will see how small they are. One concern I've heard about this system of water purification is that the glass bottle is a bad idea. I have carried an old Vanilla Extract bottle full of olive oil in my pack for more than ten years and its still fine and its an odd shaped flat bottle at that. The Iodine bottle is round and that makes it a little more durable. Use common sense and treat your gear good and all will be OK.
All in all I have spent $5 for the 3 bottles and $17 for the Iodine crystals. That includes shipping. Now, one bottle of Polar Pure is around $20 and I have seen it for $14 once. My 4 bottles will work out to $7.25 each. Thats a pretty good savings. I plan to use them only for the times when I can't boil my water which is my first choice. That means they should last me many, many years.

Here's some information from a company in Canada that makes an Iodine crystal purification bottle. This is a link to their site:

"USP Iodine in 1 Ounce bottle 
Each amber bottle contains 8 grams of USP Resublimated Iodine Crystals.  It may be reused to treat up to 5000 quarts. Once the crystals are dissolved, the bottle is finished. This may take years! Each fill of the bottle will give you a saturated solution of 8 ppm (parts per million). This solution strength will disinfect water according to the following table:

           Temperature       41F / 5 C       59F / 15C        86F / 30C

              Time in            60                  30                    15

Iodine is light sensitive and must always be stored in a dark bottle. It works best if the water is over 68° F (21° C). Iodine has been shown to be more effective than chlorine-based treatments in inactivating Giardia cysts. It is important to note that you are using the iodine solution to treat the water, not the iodine 
crystals. The concentration of iodine in a crystal is poisonous and can burn tissue or eyes.  Fill the bottle with some of the water to be treated, cap it, shake, and let it sit for a few minutes.  Decant the solution ( not the crystals) into a one quart ( 1 litre) container holding water to be treated. Let the treated water stand 
  for 30 minutes before drinking. In order to destroy Giardia cysts, the drinking water must be at least 68° F (20° C). Be aware that some people are allergic to iodine and cannot use it as a form of water purification. Persons with thyroid problems or on lithum, women over fifty, and pregnant women should consult their physician prior to using iodine for purification. Also, some people who are allergic to shellfish are also allergic to iodine. If someone cannot use iodine, use either a chlorine-based product or a non-iodine-based filter, such as the PUR Hiker Microfilter, MSR WaterWorks, or the Katadyn Water Filter.
Always ensure the bottle is tightly capped, as iodine crystals sublime into the air quite quickly, and may stain surrounding items. They will also cause corroding of most metals. Leaving water in the bottle is okay, and will not create a superstrong solution. Any residual iodine aroma in the treated water may be neutralized by adding drink crystals containing vitamin C."

Here's more info from a different site:
"USP-grade resublimed Iodine Crystals (Kahn-Vassher solution, Polar Pure)
This system incorporates a bottle of poorly soluble iodine crystals and is one of the best systems for treating small amounts of water, since it is relatively effective and has an indefinite shelf life.  This is probably the most reliable iodine treatment system available to backpackers and is widely used by mountaineers traveling abroad.

Glass is the only appropriate material for storing aqueous iodine solutions.  The main disadvantage of this is the potential of a full bottle freezing an breaking.  This can often be avoided by placing the bottle in your shirt, sleeping with it in your bag or only half filing it prior to nightfall.

Once water is added to your crystals, the water quickly (up to an hour) becomes saturated with iodine.  This saturated iodine solution is then added to your drinking water.

Since the amount of iodine saturated in water is dependant on the temperature of the solution, you should take into account the temperature of the solution to determine how much of it to add to the water you would like to treat.  The Polar Pure bottle and a thermometer on it for dose calculation for 4 mg/L.  The following chart shows how many capfuls (Polar Pure) of saturated solution are needed to treat water:

Temperature of Solution Capfuls per Quart (Liter)
95° F (35° C) 1.2
86° F (30° C) 1.3
77° F (25° C) 1.5
68° F (20° C) 2
59° F (15° C) 2.5
50° F (10° C) 3.5
41° F (5° C) 4

Saturation of iodine is increased if you keep the bottle warm by keeping it in your packet or setting it out in the sun prior to use.

For treating Giardia, it is recommended that you warm the bottle and use a double dose to 8mg/L for 90-120 minutes.

The original system system described by Kahn and Visscher in 1975 incorporates a 30cc (1 fl oz) bottle, paper lined bakelite cap, and 2-8 g USP grad resublimed iodine crystals.  The bottle is filled, shaken and left to stand for at least one hour.  At a temperature of 68°F (20°C), which can be maintained by placing the bottle in a shirt pocket, half a bottle (15cc) of saturated iodine solution should be able to treat one liter (quart) with about 9mg/L of iodine.  One 30cc (1 fl oz) bottle is enough to treat 2 liters of water.

Other guidelines recommend 13 ml (2.5 teaspoons) of saturated iodine solution pee quart (liter) of clear water or 25 ml (5 teaspoons) per quart (liter) of cloudy water.

It is important to note that the 4-8 grams of crystals used constitutes a potential lethal human dose if consumed all at once.  Because of this, the bottles supplied with Polar Pure are designed to trap the crystals when the iodine solution is poured out.  DIY backpackers should use a strainer insert in their bottles to prevent accidental pouring of crystals into your water.  These crystals can be purchased from a pharmacy.  Because of the poisoning potential, this system should not be entrusted with children."
This is from a most excellent site with a very informative write up on water purification. Here's the link to that site:

By the way, if you don't have Ron Hoods priceless DVD's on survival, you should buy them. It would really help Karen and Jesse at this time in their lives. They need all the financial help they can get. Heres a link:

Here's what the Iodine crystals look like for the curious. This is the picture supplied by the seller on eBay.


Jeny said...

Thanks for sharing the nice information regarding the Iodine crystals.
Crystals for Sale

water purification systems canada said...

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Thanks and keep on sharing..

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Brett Radabaugh said...

I'm watching volume 3 right now!!:) lol
I stumble across an.advanced Ed woodsman video in my local outdoors store watched it and was hooked!!!!

So I bought a 7 DVD package!,:)

Most fun ya can have w/ you're clothes on!!:). Lol

God bless his family!!!