PDA

View Full Version : Filtering Water: Any scientific evidence that its safe not to?



stringbean
09-05-2006, 00:56
After reading quite a few posts about filtering water, I have noticed that some people choose not to. This intrigues me, and I would like to see some scientific evidence that supports the claim that the water along the AT is safe for drinking. Anybody have any?

Just Jeff
09-05-2006, 01:04
Search the archives - there are several threads on water treatment.

Water is tested along the trail. Something turns up in some sources now and then, but if you're smart about what you drink from you'll probably be ok. Some people never treat water and don't get sick. But it's your health and your decision.

Just curious - do you have scientific evidence that it's safe to not filter the air you breathe everywhere you travel to? Do you still breathe it? Same principle.

stringbean
09-05-2006, 01:20
The air we breath is not safe (cfc's, smog, etc), but fortunately it won't ruin a hike in the same way a bad case of diharrea would, except for maybe those with bad asthma. I should have asked something like "what are the chances of getting sick from drinking unfiltered water"? I am curious to see how many tests are taken and how many of them test positive for giardia, crytposporidia (sp), or anything else really harmful. It just seems kind of wierd that some people can hike the whole trail w/out filtering water and at the same time others will get sick after one drink. Almost have probably just answered my own ulimate question, and I will most likely continue to filter water.

Just Jeff
09-05-2006, 01:30
It's a calculated risk like everything else. I always have treatment with me but only use it when I'm not sure of the source. A spring coming directly out of the ground is not likely to be contaminated. Same with water dripping directly out of a cliff face. Or a small stream if I know I'm confident there isn't habitation upstream. If I'm unsure of what's upstream and I have to get water there, I use AquaMira. And I always treat if I have to get water from a pond or lake...no exceptions.

I couldn't say how much of the water is tested, though - maybe someone here has firm numbers (which I know is what you were asking for in the first place :D )

stringbean
09-05-2006, 01:39
thanks for the info, just talking about this makes me want to drink some cold water from a mountain stream. Maybe I'll go empty the nalgene:D

Teatime
09-05-2006, 02:41
This subject is treated at some length in the book, Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalacian Trail, by Roland Mueser. To summarize, the book makes the case that much of what might pass for water born illness is actually more related to poor sanitation; i.e. not proparly cleaning cook pots and utensils, eating after others, not washing your hands, etc. Remember, much of the fear about backcountry water sources comes from the folks who are trying to sell your their filters. I do carry a fliter, I guess as a security blanket, but rarely use it anymore. I think I used it once on my last section hike. For me, if the the water source is a flowing spring, I don't treat it. If it is a pooled spring, I make a judgement by the way it looks. If theres a lot of debris floating around I'll probably pull out the filter. I don't like chunky water. I've never gotten sick from bad water.

Teatime
09-05-2006, 02:56
I had stopped for a break at Carvers Gap after coming down from Roan Mtn, heading North. I had filled my water bottles at the bathroom on top of Roan Mtn and would have kept that water, but an elderly local gentlemen out for a Sunday drive with his children had also stopped at the Carvers Gap parking area, only he stopped to fill up several empty milk jugs with spring water. There is a spring just uphill from the vault toiliets at the parking area and after asking a few questions about my hike, he led me over to the spring and had me taste some of the water. It was ice cold, clear and delicious. I dumped that nasty water from the bathroom on the ground and filled up both water bottles with that good old spring water. Now, this old gentleman had been getting water at this spring since he was a child, I believe. He looked fine to me. His adult children seemd embarassed by his questions and conversation with me but I really enjoyed talking to him. Seniors are often full of pearls of wisdom and he was just a downright pleasant fellow to talk to. Folks like him are part of what make hiking the trail special. Also got some trail magic from a couple at the same location looking to refresh some thru-hikers, of which there were none at the time. They gave me a Pepsi and some cookies. These are the things I remember most about my hikes, the great people you meet.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 03:56
You can go without the filter or any treatment if you wish. Something to think about is the water quality in a lot of other places on the planet is not nearly anything as close to as good as what you find in the Appalachian Mountains. People still live off of it. If you are a healthy adult, you can put up with some pretty bad stuff, the problem in places like this (Iraq) are old people and the very young - and often that has more to do with sanitary conditions than the water. Sometimes what is required is getting use to what is in the water, and I suspect people like LWolf who never filters or treats probably has built up his immunity to the point even if he did get any waterborne bugs he wouldn't notice.

Just play it safe. If you can see the water come out of the ground and can look uphill and see nothing but ground for at least 50' you are probably safe. If you are drinking from a creek and do not know where the water passes through, you may want to add some lightweight chemicals like iodine or Aqua Mira. If you see human habitation near the water or livestock - then you may want to just look for another source.

highway
09-05-2006, 07:38
I have often wondered, If all the water along the AT is tasty and safe, yet, because of the prevaling hype and fear, most everyone either treats or filters, then we will really never know the truth, will we? So, those many, many posters on this subject who have never "risked" drinking directly from those clear streams can only give their opinion. Those who have, on the other hand, chosen to drink direct can be factual, for them at least. But, it is a personal thing, which to choose...just as much as where to choose . Just be open-minded in your choice.

Here is a good article to ponder:

http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/Giardia.htm

On the AT I have walked through Georgia and a good part of NC and choose to drink directly from the many little streams and creeks I stepped across rather than carry large quantities of water. I filtered none of it and only treated once, when the stream was nearby and downhill from a shelter. In retrospect, though, that water was probably safe, too. Once even, after a huge rain I came upon a small waterfall alongside the trail, cascading down from the cliff above and i stopped & drank maybe 1/2 liter of that, ignoring the grit, untill I looked up and saw it was coming from over the top. So, I was probably drinking rain runnof from the ground above, instead of spring water. But even that did not make me sick, I am happy to say. In fact, none of it made me sick.

But, to each, their own...

Smile
09-05-2006, 07:43
Good advice SGT.

One can weigh the possibilities of getting sidetracked or very ill from water borne sickness (regarless of the source) or having a diahrea free hike and carrying a filter or h20 treatment. It's not like it's a rush or a race out there, and oftentimes the breaks for water treatment are needed and welcome - at least by this hiker.

I think folks like L Wolf are the exception, if it works for him - excellent! I personally haven't hiked yet with anybody that didn't treat their water. :)

Almost There
09-05-2006, 09:05
I think folks like L Wolf are the exception, if it works for him - excellent! I personally haven't hiked yet with anybody that didn't treat their water. :)

There are actually quite a few folks that don't filter their water. I still carry my filter for stagnant water, etc., but to be honest out of my last three hikes out I have only used it on one hike...scum on the surface of a pond!

Some on here I know don't filter: Myself, Orangebug, Lone Wolf, Stumpknocker...I don't think Wookie or General does either, but can't remember for sure from our conversations.

Think of it this way...do you own pets? Have you ever been licked by a dog or kissed a pet...you stand more of a chance of getting Ghiardia from that than from a mountain spring.

Just be smart about the source...if it looks questionable:-? ...it probably is!:D

Sly
09-05-2006, 09:50
And I always treat if I have to get water from a pond or lake...no exceptions.

I tended to do the same or used the water in boiled meals, but recently I saw an article that stated the ultra violet rays from the sun would sterilze the top few inches much like a steripen.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 09:54
We have that article here.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 10:01
"Lake water is better," he says, glancing up. "Most people think the water is better from a nice, running stream because it's so fresh and churned up. But the top few inches of lake water are zapped with ultraviolet rays from the sun, which are a very powerful disinfectant."

From this thread: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=9639&highlight=guardia

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 10:03
Also from that article:

TIPS

Drink responsibly

There are many places in the Sierra where you can safely drink the water, but choose carefully. "If you have a question, then treat it," says Gregg Fauth, wilderness manager for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. But if you have a hankering for fresh water and don't want to lug a pump or disinfectants that make the water unappetizing, drinking smart can minimize risks of getting sick.

Don't drink untreated water in places downstream from livestock pastures and large backpacker camps. "Humans and cattle are the worst offenders," Fauth says.

Water at higher elevations is safer because there's less risk of pollution by humans or wildlife. As water travels to lower elevations, it can pick up contaminants along the way.

Lake water, especially the top few inches, has less bacteria than running streams because the rays of the sun act as a disinfectant. And big lakes are better than smaller, shallow lakes because there's more of a surface to sanitize.

Clean melted snow is less risky than ice from the surface of a lake or stream because hardy diarrhea-causing bacteria can survive for months on ice.

Deep well water is considered safe because the water is filtered when passing through the soil, which removes giardia cysts. Springs bubbling from the side of a mountain are generally safe too.

Avoid drinking untreated water from stagnant ponds or slow-moving streams.

Don't leave home without them: Alcohol hand gels, which are available in drug stores, are incredibly effective at inactivating bacteria on your hands. "Washing your hands," says Dr. Howard Backer, a water purification expert, "will prevent you from spreading bacteria to your fellow camper when you prepare the food."

Footslogger
09-05-2006, 10:22
I haven't filtered water since about 2001. I do "treat" and questionable water though, either with AquaMira, Klearwater or Micropur Tablets.

Not scienctific, unless you consider "observation" as part of the process. I have observed no ill-effects as of yet.

'Slogger

Smile
09-05-2006, 10:26
All you folks that don't filter are getting deep bows and applause from this hiker!
I suppose I am not that brave at this point.....but boy I sure do wish that I could leave that heavy filter at home. (Aq.Mira not an option)

I was a river guide for many years, and had so many friends that ended up with the big G.
I guess it's just a personal option, to each their own. :)

Footslogger
09-05-2006, 10:35
[quote=Smile]All you folks that don't filter are getting deep bows and applause from this hiker!
=================================

I'm not convinced that a filter=total protection from Giardiasis.

When I did carry one many years ago I remember disassembling it (PUR Hiker) and seeing all the biologics coating the cartridge and inner walls of the unit. Just seemed like a perfect environment for colonization and growth to me. That plus the weight and the process prompted me to research and experiment with treatment alternatives.

My personal experience has led me to believe that "treatment" is at least as effective as "mechanical filtration" and I will likely never carry a filter again.

'Slogger

Lone Wolf
09-05-2006, 10:37
I occasionally treat with grape Kool-Aid.

Sly
09-05-2006, 11:04
I occasionally treat with grape Kool-Aid.

Wild cherry Kool-aid and bourbon here...

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 11:08
Something to consider from the people in the know:

1. You can ingest Guardia and not contract it, it is something you will always get even if you do drink water with it:


The good news: Most of the time, the concentration of Giardia cysts is very low 1, 6, 8

Outside of places where dirty diapers congregate and cities where water treatment plants break down or are ineffective, there is little room to worry. A few Giardia cysts now and then will cause no harm and in fact may be useful in developing an immunity as will be mentioned later.

How many cysts does it take to get the disease? Theoretically only one, but volunteer studies have shown that 10 or so are required to have a reasonable probability of contracting giardiasis: About one-third of persons ingesting 10 – 25 cysts get detectable cysts in their stools. 6, 7, 8, 10, [27] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn27), [28] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn28)

But be careful with statistics: Animal droppings containing 100,000 Giardia cysts deposited at the edge of a 10 million liter lake may be an average of only 0.01 per liter for the lake as a whole, but in the immediate vicinity of the deposit, the concentration can be much higher.

A comforting observation is that significant cyst inactivation, as high as 99.9 percent, can occur as a result of anaerobic digestion in sewage sludge.[29] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn29) Of course, using a simple cat hole is not exactly a good approxima­tion to the sewage plant process, but this points out the wisdom of doing something better than just leaving it on the ground or under a rock.


2. Most people that get Guardia never know it:


More good news: If you have a Giardia infestation, you will likely have no symptoms 1, 6, 7, 15, 16, [30] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn30), [31] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn31)

The symptoms of giardiasis vary widely. Characteristic symptoms, when they occur, are mild to moderate abdominal discomfort, abdominal distention due to increased intestinal gas, sulfurous or “rotten egg” burps, highly offensive flatulence, and mild to moderate diarrhea. Stools are soft (but not liquid), bulky, and foul smelling. They have been described as greasy and frothy, and they float on the surface of water. Nausea, weakness, and loss of appetite may occur. Studies have shown that giardiasis can be suspected when the illness lasts seven or more days with at least two of the above symptoms.7

However, most infected individuals have no symptoms at all! In one incident1 studied by the CDC, disruption in a major city’s water disinfection system allowed the entire population to consume water heavily contaminated with Giardia. Yet only 11 percent of the exposed population developed symptoms even though 46 percent had organisms in their stools. These figures suggest that (a) even when ingesting large amounts of the parasite, the chance of contracting giardiasis is less than 1 in 2, and (b) if you are one of the unlucky ones to contract it, the chance of having symptoms is less than 1 in 4. But perhaps the most telling statistic is that drinking heavily contaminated water resulted in symptoms of giardiasis in only 1 case in 9.


3. Most people that have symptoms have something else:


If you have symptoms it may not be giardiasis 1, 7, 13, 16, [32] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn32)

Many people claim that they “got it” on a particular trip into the wilderness. Yet upon questioning, they usually report that the presence of Giardia was not confirmed in the laboratory. (Only 8 percent of persons with a diarrheal illness in this country seek medical care.22) Depending on the situation, other possible offenders are Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Aeromonas, Clostridium, and Escherichia coli, with the last being the most common cause of traveler’s diarrhea worldwide. Food poisoning is also a possibility.

Cryptosporidiosis, in particular, is a growing problem in this country, and currently, there is no effective treatment for it. An outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993 caused 403,000 people to become ill and 100 to die. A year later, 43 people in Las Vegas died from the same disease.[33] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn33) The severity of cryptosporidiosis depends on the condition of the host’s immune system. In immu­nologically normal people, symptoms and duration are similar to those of giardiasis. But in persons whose immune systems have been compromised (e.g., AIDS victims), symptoms can be profound: Frequent (6 to 25), voluminous (1 to 25 liters) daily bowel movements, serious weight loss, and cyst shedding often persist for months.

The diarrhea being blamed on Giardia from that climbing trip a week ago may instead be due to some spoiled food eaten last night or Campylobacter in undercooked chicken four days ago. Or because the incubation period is usually from one to four weeks, even if it is giardiasis the uncertainty range indicates that the culprits could have been ingested anytime during a full three weeks worth of meals and beverages. People in high-risk groups for Giardia, such as family members of children in day care centers or promiscuous male homosexuals, have even more possible sources to consider. To indict a particular stream or lake under such circumstances, without being able to at least verify that cysts are indeed there at all, is illogical at best.

The type of diarrhea can help in the diagnosis: If it is liquid and mixes readily with water rather than floating on top and is not particularly foul smelling, the problem is likely something other than giardiasis. Diarrhea which lasts less than a week, untreated, is probably not from giardiasis.


4. And Guardias goes away by itself most of the time:


Almost always, giardiasis goes away without treatment 1, 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 30, [34] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn34)

If you are unlucky enough to get giardiasis with symptoms, the symptoms will probably go away in a week or so without treatment. You may still be harboring the cysts, however, and can unknowingly spread the disease. Thus, practicing commonly recommended wilderness sanitary habits—defecating 100 feet from water, burying or packing out feces and toilet paper, washing before handling food, etc.—is an excellent idea.

The Food and Drug Administration, observing that giardiasis is more prevalent in children than adults, suggests that many individuals seem to have a lasting immunity after infection.[35] (http://www.californiamountaineer.com/giardia.html#_edn35) Furthermore, citizens of cities and countries where the parasite is numerous clearly seem to have few if any problems with their own water, which also points to an acquired immunity. So there is a possible bright side to contracting the disease.

Looking for cysts and trophozoites in stool specimens under the microscopic has been the traditional method for diagnosing giardiasis, but it is notoriously unreliable. Now, however, an immunologic test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA) for the detection of Giardia antigens in stool samples is available. The antigens are present only if there is a Giardia infection. ELISA is a big improvement over the microscopic search, with detection sensitivities of 90 percent or more.

Rare individuals not only do not spontaneously rid themselves of the organisms but instead develop serious symptoms of malabsorption, weight loss, ulcer-like stomach pain, and other chronic disturbances. Fortunately, this occurs in fewer than 1 percent of those with infestations. These unlucky people need medical treatment.

Metronidazole (Flagyl) has been the standard medication, with about a 92 percent cure rate. Recommended by the CDC, it is not approved by the FDA for giardiasis because it can have some serious side effects and is potentially carcinogenic. Quinacrine (Atabrine) and furazolidone (Furoxone) are also prescribed. Tinidazole (Tinebah) is highly effective in single doses and is widely used throughout the world, but it is not available in the US; it can be purchased over-the-counter in many developing countries.7, 22

Giardiasis has been called a disease of “somes.” Some people do not contract it even from heavily contaminated sources. Some infestations vanish with no treatment at all. Some people become asymp­tomatic carriers. Some evidence suggests that some people acquire a natural immunity to some strains. And some strains seem more virulent than others.13

The problem may not be whether you are infected with the parasite but how harmoniously you both can live together. And how to get rid of the parasite when the harmony does not exist or is lost.6

So don't be as paranoid as the filter companies want you to be. Most of the problems are from poor hygiene.

weary
09-05-2006, 12:40
We have been persuaded by the hucksters of filters and water treatments that the water from mountain streams is dirtier than third world ditches and must be filtered or contaminated with chemicals.

Yeah. I.ve been among the victims of all the hype. After a half century of drinking water untreated from mountain streams, I bought a filter and began carrying iodine tablets. The filter and the tablets worked perfectly. I never got sick from anything that could be blamed on contaminated water. Of course for 50 years earlier I never got sick from untreated water either.

Now I've stopped treating. I do from time to time boil a couple of quarts of water the night before heading into valleys and through farmlands. Boiling is quick and easy if you use a wood-burning Zip Stove. I highly recommend the Zip.

Weary

Palmer
09-05-2006, 12:53
While I'm not a thru-hiker, I've spent many nights in the woods and drunk water from many sources. I've never filtered, and I've never had any problem that I could directly trace to the water. While I admit that I may just be lucky, I don't plan to filter on my thru (Class of '11). I agree that it's a matter of personal taste and risk aversion.

BTW, does the alcohol in Wild Turkey kill giardia? That could explain a lot.

Alligator
09-05-2006, 12:57
I was hoping that the two hikers conducting water testing on their thruhikes were going to check for microorganisms but they apparently did not (or the results weren't reported). Some information on pH, alkalinity, and nitrogen.
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/atf/cf/{D25B4747-42A3-4302-8D48-EF35C0B0D9F1}/ATEMI%20report%2005.pdf

The article also states that these were the "...first AT-wide snapshots of water quality along the Trail." (pg 5, 1st paragraph)

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 12:57
Probably. Alcohol goes in that waterless hand sanitizer because it kills stuff, I don't see why adding some alcohol to your drinking water wouldn't either.

Appalachian Tater
09-05-2006, 13:04
After reading quite a few posts about filtering water, I have noticed that some people choose not to. This intrigues me, and I would like to see some scientific evidence that supports the claim that the water along the AT is safe for drinking. Anybody have any?
Funny, no one has actually addressed your question!
Even though you know the answer already, here it is:

No, there isn't any scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal evidence.

Unfortunately, even if a particular above-ground water source tested as "safe", a sample taken fifteen minutes lates might test as "unsafe".

highway
09-05-2006, 13:15
Funny, no one has actually addressed your question!
Even though you know the answer already, here it is:

No, there isn't any scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal evidence.

Unfortunately, even if a particular above-ground water source tested as "safe", a sample taken fifteen minutes lates might test as "unsafe".

And then again, it might not...and may never will, either.

And, as for the post above, I wouldnt want to add too much spring water to that Wild Turkey:p

highway
09-05-2006, 13:18
And, so far as scientific evidence goes, how much more scientific do you require, beyond the actual testimony of those who have already done it?

Shutterbug
09-05-2006, 13:36
After reading quite a few posts about filtering water, I have noticed that some people choose not to. This intrigues me, and I would like to see some scientific evidence that supports the claim that the water along the AT is safe for drinking. Anybody have any?

Back in the 1960's I graduated from Air Force Survival Training. We were taught how to determine which water sources were safe and which weren't, but we were also taught that the consequences of getting bad water was so great that it makes sense to treat even the "safe" water. I have to admit that sometimes I don't treat water from a spring, but most of the time I treat it even if I am confident it is safe. It is better to be safe than sorry.

I do carry a couple of imodium pills, just in case of mistake.

Creek Dancer
09-05-2006, 13:39
And, so far as scientific evidence goes, how much more scientific do you require, beyond the actual testimony of those who have already done it?

Exactly. I know too many people who have come down with this after not treating water they consumed along the AT. Who wants to have parasites living in their body? Everytime you eat something, you feed the little buggars and get more and more sick. No thanks! I will filter.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:06
Newsflash, you already have parasites living on you and in you. Dust mites, bacteria in your intestines and stomach, and probably others I don't know about. I wouldn't get paranoid about a few new and different ones. People that do probably get creeped out about their kids eating buggers.

Anyway, yes you can get sick. And based on the scientific evidence it is likely not to happen, if it is does happen it is likely not to be bad, and no matter how bad it is or isn't - it will probably go away on it's own. I would be more worried about Lyme disease and E-Coli from dirty hands than I would be giardias from mountain water.

But in any case, most people only really have faith their system works because there is no actual proof it is really doing anything since you don't even know if there is a problem in your water to begin with.

IF you use a filter and you don't get sick, your filter (given the information) probably has nothing to do with it. But you can believe it does. If you get sick you can blame it on something else - but you cannot blame your water anymore ;)

If you use a steri-pen same thing.

If you use chemicals - same thing.

If you use magnets to treat water - same thing.

If you pray to Buddha and dip a crucifix in your water - same thing.

If you don't treat you have to have faith the water isn't bad, but at least if you get sick you can also suspect your water as well as your hands. :D

highway
09-05-2006, 14:12
Well said!

Creek Dancer
09-05-2006, 14:15
Newsflash, you already have parasites living on you and in you. Dust mites, bacteria in your intestines and stomach, and probably others I don't know about. I wouldn't get paranoid about a few new and different ones. People that do probably get creeped out about their kids eating buggers.

Anyway, yes you can get sick. And based on the scientific evidence it is likely not to happen, if it is does happen it is likely not to be bad, and no matter how bad it is or isn't - it will probably go away on it's own. I would be more worried about Lyme disease and E-Coli from dirty hands than I would be giardias from mountain water.

But in any case, most people only really have faith their system works because there is no actual proof it is really doing anything since you don't even know if there is a problem in your water to begin with.

IF you use a filter and you don't get sick, your filter (given the information) probably has nothing to do with it. But you can believe it does. If you get sick you can blame it on something else - but you cannot blame your water anymore ;)

If you use a steri-pen same thing.

If you use chemicals - same thing.

If you use magnets to treat water - same thing.

If you pray to Buddha and dip a crucifix in your water - same thing.

If you don't treat you have to have faith the water isn't bad, but at least if you get sick you can also suspect your water as well as your hands. :D

Newsflash. Yes, I know we have parasites living on and in us and I am not paranoid. My decision to use a filter has nothing to do with the claims of filter companies; my decision is based on testimonies of people who have gotten sick. None of them treated or filtered their water.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:19
What about the testimonies of those that treat or filter and still got sick? :D

Roland Mussler's (sp?) book does a good job at comparing all that. And actually, as I recall based on the book, the people that didn't do anything and the people that used just iodine had some of the best statistics. Hikers with filters still got sick :o

Hmmmmm....:-?

Creek Dancer
09-05-2006, 14:34
I don't know anyone who treated or filtered water and still got sick.

So are you saying that the group of people that didn't do anything or used just iodine had a lower rate of sickness than those that filtered? Is that what you meant by "best statistics"? I would like to read that study. Was this a group of people who hiked the AT?

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:34
Something I forgot to mention about my theory about hikers water system and faith. It is something I have noticed after a few years here debating this topic.

Challenging someone on their water system faith it is like challenging anyone on any sort of faith - rarely a good idea. Because it is based on faith which is a strong emotion for most people. Rarely does science ever change anyone's belief on water.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:39
I don't know anyone who treated or filtered water and still got sick.

So are you saying that the group of people that didn't do anything or used just iodine had a lower rate of sickness than those that filtered? Is that what you meant by "best statistics"? I would like to read that study. Was this a group of people who hiked the AT?

Yes it was. It was based on surveys from AT thru-hikers and long distance hikers. And to add to that, there was some laboratory testing of filters which showed how fast the effectiveness of them dropped after continuous usage to the point they were less effective than other methods. Also, given some people that have investigated the insides of filters- they may actually be a source for water contamination.

Add to that it also showed how effective iodine really is when water is in contact over various times, 30 minutes that the instructions say is not the optimal amount of time.

And for the record, I teat water and have gotten sick. I have also filtered and gotten sick. The best guess I can figure is hands or food. I never said I didn't treat or filter.

Alligator
09-05-2006, 14:41
...
Challenging someone on their water system faith it is like challenging anyone on any sort of faith - rarely a good idea. Because it is based on faith which is a strong emotion for most people. Rarely does science ever change anyone's belief on water.You have to have scientific evidence to make a change based on scientific evidence.

I have yet to see any numbers on the concentration of microorganisms in water sources along the AT.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:46
Neither have I Alligator. The only evidence I see is the evidence from that one article you will probably not get giardias. If you are trying to prove that a filter or chemical is protecting you, shouldn't you also prove that it is there in the first place? Sort of like saying we invaded Iraq to get WMDs. GW could say there are none here because we invaded using the same logic as saying using a filter keeps you healthy drinking springwater.

Creek Dancer
09-05-2006, 14:48
You have to have scientific evidence to make a change based on scientific evidence.

I have yet to see any numbers on the concentration of microorganisms in water sources along the AT.

Now there's a way for an AT thru-hiker to get their hike funded! Contact one of these filter companies and get them to pay you to test the water sources along the way. Of course, there are lots of variables, but the results of the study could be very interesting.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 14:51
I would love to take the water samples and mail them to a lab every time I got to town. Sounds like a fun project :D

Amigi'sLastStand
09-05-2006, 15:00
Just remember, we are talking the AT and general mountain topography from what I have read so far.
I carry a filter, but will drink straight from a stream if the conditions are right, for example coming out of the DWG into the park with the Tammany trail overlook ( what the hell is the name of the park?.?. ) As long as I get higher up than the ppl swimming in the stream, I'll drink it all day long, no problem.
However, there are many other hiking places in this country that you would be crazy not to filter. For example, anywhere here in Florida. Or mountains out west if gold or silver has ever been found in the area ( gold and silver are usually found with VERY high concentrations of lead and somtimes mercury ). Giardia and Crypto are not the only reasons to filter.... But then again, ppl use AM for 5-6 months on a thru and dont mind drinking the residual chemical sodium chlorite which is toxic, so what the hell, drink away ppl.

Alligator
09-05-2006, 15:17
Neither have I Alligator. The only evidence I see is the evidence from that one article you will probably not get giardias. If you are trying to prove that a filter or chemical is protecting you, shouldn't you also prove that it is there in the first place? Sort of like saying we invaded Iraq to get WMDs. GW could say there are none here because we invaded using the same logic as saying using a filter keeps you healthy drinking springwater.The evidence is weak, thus the varying positions. Some people have gotten giardia along the AT. Maybe not as many as is reported due to other causes. (All I need is for you to agree on some :sun ) Filters and chemicals are tested as to effectiveness. Therefore, there is evidence of the presence of giardia, but not amount, and methods (tested) to remove giardia. What is lacking is where and how much. Filters and chemicals are protecting you, if there is giardia and/or other microorganisms present. None to some.

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 15:37
Ohh I agree some people get giardia. But I have read people from the trail (in journals and books) say the had giardia without any proof other than a feeling or belief - and if that is the proof people are using to justify needing a filter it is less than scientific as well, it is anecdotal. And the evidence (the symptoms and recovery) actually point to something other than giardia, but that can be ignored in the quest to find an easy fix to stay safe.

But for the people that do get giardia, what is the background behind how they actually got it? And what other information that could also contribute like a lack of prior exposure to develop resistance? Is it always water? Could it be other forms of contact?

Guys like LWolf are anecdotal evidence as to how safe it is to do without any treatment or filter. But based on what that article says about how hard it is to contract it, and if contracted how low the effects are, and if effected how easy it is to get over it without treatment, some of the prevention systems seem sort of like overkill to me.

Add to that the anecdotal evidence from guys like LWolf with what this article says about building immunity and you may not really need that filter or treatment if you know how to chose water and have a healthy, exposed system. But like I said, people need faith they are protected to feel good about it. If i takes $200 and 1.5 pounds to have that faith I am not going to do much to change that by posting on this web site.

That said, I still treat because it is the lightest way to go and I can do it safely and without taste and it doesn't cost much. It is my faith I reckon - but I don't have a lot of it. I am agnostic when it comes to water danger and treatment effectiveness. I would love to see a study of the real danger and how to avoid it rather than just spending money, lugging weight, and having faith. I doubt it will ever get done.

As for me, hand cleaner and Lyme vaccine. Based on my reads of journals, that is where to protect yourself.

Two Speed
09-05-2006, 15:39
. . . However, there are many other hiking places in this country that you would be crazy not to filter. . . Or mountains out west if gold or silver has ever been found in the area ( gold and silver are usually found with VERY high concentrations of lead and somtimes mercury ).Unfortunately I don't think filtering would help with this type of contamination. First, cyanide leaching was (and still occasionally is) used to concentrate gold out of gold ore, so you get to add cyanide compounds to the mix, among others. Next, the only portable filter element that I'm aware of that could possibly address these types of contaminants is activated charcoal, and that's based on adsorption. Once the charcoal is loaded the contaminant will "break through" and you'll be drinking a very mean contaminant; filter life is going to be extremely limited, if it's effective at all. Last, mine drainage, including the run off from many coal mines, can be very acidic; pH could be a problem even if the contaminants are removed.

Unfortunately, there's only two ways I know of to make this type of water potable:

Chemical treatment, by which I mean chemical reaction to cause the contaminant to settle, or possibly acid cracking and then pH adjustment (Iodine or chlorine treatment would just add to the brew, making the problem worse.) A heck of a lot of dilution from uncontaminated sources


If there's someone with a better grip on the technical details I'd appreciate a little schooling, but I believe the above to largely correct.

FWIW, I'm treating less and less of the water I pick up if I'm at high enough elevation, no evidence of camping up gradient, the water looks good, etc. I tend to agree with Weary that much of the concern around this issue is probably based on hype generated by commercial interests that would like all hikers/hunters/outdoorsman to buy one of their products.

Alligator
09-05-2006, 16:13
Rock, when you say article in post #45, you are talking about this book-- Mueser, Roland. Long-Distance Hiking?

Crazy Larry #1
09-05-2006, 16:25
On a clear running stream I usually never filter my water, but most of the time I do add a chlorine treatment. On occasion I just drink it. I've never had a problem on the trail "yet." Better safe than sorry though...........

Spock
09-05-2006, 17:32
SGT,
I think your skepticism about the amount of Giardia on the AT is justified.

I got Giardia, certified, while on a Rio Grande float trip in the 1970's. It took a Mexico-trained doc to figure it out. I'm here to tell you, real Giardia will keep you in close proximity to porcelain for longer than you can imagine. And more violently that you want to know.

What most folks get on the trail is good, old-fashioned tourista. It's gone in 2-3 days and responds quickly to Lomotil or any similar drug. They get it soon after leaving town, probably from a town source. Giardia takes 10-14 days to incubate.

Of course, anyone who doesn't treat beaver pond water is just asking for it.

highway
09-05-2006, 19:11
That means that if someone ingests the cyst today from whatever source, whether from contaminated food, water or even after shaking the uncleaned hand from another thruhiker, the same hand which you subsequently use to stuff a wod of your gorp into your mouth, then you may not develop symptoms from the contamination for as long as two whole weeks. In that case, not only will the hiker not know how he/she became contaminated, hell, he/she want even know for sure in which state it occurred! So, the likely culprit is thought to be from water, whether ttrue or not. I still lean towards that unclean handshake:D

fiddlehead
09-05-2006, 22:06
I remember there was a good article on this in Backpacker mag about 4 years ago. It basically said that most AT thru-hikers who get giardia, get it from sharing gorp rather than the water. It's rare to get it from the water unless you are dumb enough to drink from big streams, rivers, ponds etc.
The ground is the best filter out there. when i see water coming out of the ground (unless it is just below the outhouse) i consider it good. The nicest looking stream could easily have Mom washing out baby's diapers a mile upstream. (i've seen that happen more than once)

weary
09-05-2006, 22:37
Exactly. I know too many people who have come down with this after not treating water they consumed along the AT. Who wants to have parasites living in their body? Everytime you eat something, you feed the little buggars and get more and more sick. No thanks! I will filter.
Conversely. I know too many people who have come down with this after treating water they consumed along the AT. I therefore choose not to treat my water with chemicals designed to kill living creatures, or carry the weight of a filter.

Weary

orangebug
09-05-2006, 22:52
There once was a man standing naked in the middle of Times Square, banging away on a drum. Of course, it took about 2 weeks before anyone really noticed him and asked him what he was up to.

"I'm keeping all of the tigers away from Time Square."

The psychiatrist recognized a delusion and commented "There aren't any tigers around Times Square" hoping to let the man understand the error of his ways.

"Yeh," the man responded. "I'm doing a great job! Thanks for the support!"

I understand he is still standing the pounding on his drum.

*******

This is a little anecdote that illuminates problems with testimonial statements from individuals. I am an non-treater of water. I am confident I will have an equal risk of GI events as other hikers, based mainly on observations of hygiene as a major risk factor in fecal/oral contamination and pathogen vectoring. The fact that I haven't gotten ill from my behavior means nothing about general risk to hikers of untreated water, or from treated water for that matter.

The will never be a study to attempt to measure pathogens in backcountry water sources. Sample size will be small, and ability to detect pathogens will vary by ambient temperature, time to get sample to lab and other impossible to control variables. Plus, there would be a tremendous financial burden to complete this test and a catastrophic financial risk should water treatment be determined to be useless.

At most, anecdotal testimonials will be found, certainly no "scientific" study regarding safety of untreated water. The study I'd love to see is to culture fingernails of hikers obtained at major road crossings every 50-60 miles. I'd expect to see nasties to get more concentrated and to hit a steady state around Virginia. A survey asking about illness would be interesting, but unreliable due to errors associated with self reporting of symptoms.

Smile
09-05-2006, 22:57
Cute story orangebug! I had not heard that one before :)

weary
09-05-2006, 23:06
The evidence is weak, thus the varying positions. Some people have gotten giardia along the AT. Maybe not as many as is reported due to other causes. ....
Of course. The question is how they got giardiasis. The evidence as near as I can tell is that most got it from dipping their hands in to a bag of gorp offered by someone who has not practiced good sanitation, or sharing half eatened food, or being licked in the face by a giardia carrying, but friendly dog.

Weary

bfitz
09-05-2006, 23:19
A full week after I came off Katahdin I started to get sick, three weeks later I went to the doc and mentioned giardia. He said I was crazy, but I insisted he check my poop. He humored me and told me two days later I didn't have giardia. A couple weeks later I went to another doc and sure enough it was giardia. Got some flagyl and a week later back to normal. Must have picked it up in maine. Never filtered but treated with polar pure if I thought it might be a questionable source. I'm pretty sure it was water, but you never know.

weary
09-05-2006, 23:30
A full week after I came off Katahdin I started to get sick, three weeks later I went to the doc and mentioned giardia. He said I was crazy, but I insisted he check my poop. He humored me and told me two days later I didn't have giardia. A couple weeks later I went to another doc and sure enough it was giardia. Got some flagyl and a week later back to normal. Must have picked it up in maine. Never filtered but treated with polar pure if I thought it might be a questionable source. I'm pretty sure it was water, but you never know.
Among the many problems with finding scientific evidence is that the tests are noteoriously inaccurate. I was treated with flagyl once. It did nothing at all for my symptoms. Either it went away by itself or the fiber I started consuing about the same time cured what ailled me.

thirteen years later the symptoms return if I skip having bowls of high fiber cereal 4 or 5 times a week.

Weary

Alligator
09-05-2006, 23:39
Of course. The question is how they got giardiasis. The evidence as near as I can tell is that most got it from dipping their hands in to a bag of gorp offered by someone who has not practiced good sanitation, or sharing half eatened food, or being licked in the face by a giardia carrying, but friendly dog.

WearyYou don't that, I don't know that either. We don't know if they're dipping their hands into the water source either. Hygiene is considered poor all around after all.

As far as being licked in the face by a giardia carrying dog, it's not polite to give tongue on the first date.

Alligator
09-05-2006, 23:49
...
The will never be a study to attempt to measure pathogens in backcountry water sources. Sample size will be small, and ability to detect pathogens will vary by ambient temperature, time to get sample to lab and other impossible to control variables. Plus, there would be a tremendous financial burden to complete this test and a catastrophic financial risk should water treatment be determined to be useless.

...You mean like this one
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/article.php?p=119497&postcount=1?

Specifically this reference
Open File Report No. 86-404-W. Dept. of the Interior, US Geological Survey, 1986

SGT Rock
09-05-2006, 23:52
No, my post referred to the article by Dr. Rockwell, PhD. The part of his article that I am referring too (other than the parts about the Sierra Nevada's which I know you think cannot possibly relate to the AT, we have had that discussion before) are the tests about how many cysts had to be ingested with water before only 30% of the subjects got measurable readings of giardia in their stool - and that isn't even symptoms. And how many cysts are in animal dropping by comparison. And about the part CDC studies of urban population where most people were exposed to giardia without knowing it and the chance of getting measurable giardia cysts was less than 1 in 2 even when the contamination was so bad, and the chance of even having symptoms from it of those contracted was less than 1 in 4, and the same case which found the chance of getting symptoms from water heavily contaminated was 1 in 9. That seems pretty well documented and has nothing to with the Sierra Nevada's - only about how hard it is to actually contract the symptoms when heavily exposed to giardia over a period of time. And about the other things in the article which seemed to be repeated in Musser's book about people getting sick and the source most likely being Eschandria Coli, Camplobacter, Salmonella, etc. and other things in that article about how giardia actually acts. I suppose the one person that represents that less than 1 in 9 that got it, and got it bad would be enough to put a lot of folks off. I got dysentery once and it put me off of ever wanting it again, but I was also drinking bottled water - so I know it was from the bad sanitary conditions where I was at.

Think of this: Field sanitation. In FM 21-10 there are the 5-Fs of field sanitation considerations. Of those five, only one has anything to do with water. And that is what I was getting to when I asked what is the background behind how they actually got it? Think of it this way: Musser's book found that people using filters still got sick while people that didn't ever treat faired better. So that means that the filter is probably not providing any real extra protection, and that the source of infection is something else. Back to the 5-fs:


Fingers
Feces
Flies
Foods
FluidsWe all know that fingers are a huge problem because backpackers live in less than ideal sanitary conditions. They put their hands where animals have dropped feces. They eat with those same hands. They don't always even realize they could do this. Say a hiker pets a dog that 1 hour ago was just rolling a in a great smell - that smell could be feces which has that 100,000 cysts. A fly could be the transmission from feces surface laid by a sick hiker to your food. Food could be prepared wrong in a container that wasn't cleaned correctly, or water could have other stuff in because it has run off in it from a parking area upstream. None of these cases we talked about confirmed the method of ingestion and most them never even went to find out if it was giardia in the first place. As a scientist you would normally want the method of induction and an actual diagnosis to be able to quantify that case as meaning anything in any real manner wouldn't you? If I said I got demon possessed on French fries and Buddha saved me, you would ask if it really was alcohol that got me possessed or the alcohol that was also there and whether it was really a demon or just a bad drunk. Same thing here - was it really giardia and was it really from the water? No way to know.

With the low amount reporting even symptoms on a thru-hike in Mussler's book, I tend to believe the danger is hype. That same amount of people probably would have gotten something like that even if they had not been hiking and simply living with treated city water.

If the CDC did a study that found less than 1 in 9 got giardia symptoms from water heavily contaminated with regular exposure over a period of time, then it seems that even the passing contact with it over a single liter or two is probably not nearly as scary as people seem to think.

bailcor
09-06-2006, 00:02
Am 68 years old and still drinking without filter. Heres and article you can read on it. http://www.yosemite.org/naturenotes/Giardia.htm

Alligator
09-06-2006, 00:52
Well then I think you need to quit sitting on the fence and throw those iodine pills out there Rock 'cause you don't seem in the least convinced that you need them:datz . Com'n you old gram weenie, there could be significant savings there.

To clarify, I don't believe one should transfer results from one studied population to another. Given the many differences between the Sierras and the Appalachians, I strongly think that would be inappropriate. That doesn't mean I have ruled out the possibility that they are the same.

As a scientist you would normally want the method of induction and an actual diagnosis to be able to quantify that case as meaning anything in any real manner wouldn't you?

Yes I would. But figuring out where the person got it from is going to be extremely difficult at best. There are however, people who have actually been diagnosied with giardiasis. I don't know where they got it from. One of the places they can get it from is water ingested while hiking. It's considered difficult (per Rockwell) but not impossible. As we don't have the concentration numbers and my microscopic vision isn't so good I prefer to treat. I agree with practicing good hygiene and I use hand sanitizer too.

Jumping to Mueser's numbers, I haven't read his book. I can't comment on his methodology or results in detail. I will say this, even if some of the numbers were higher I would want to see if they were statistically significant. As an example, 52% is no different than 48% when the margin of error is 5%. Then again they could be very far apart w/o much need for considering the margin of error. I don't know, I asked because I figured I might interlibrary loan it. (I do occasionally ask innocuous questions:D .)

Amigi'sLastStand
09-06-2006, 01:04
http://www.msrcorp.com/filters/sweet_microfilter.asp
This is my filter. It doesnt say it here, but it has a .2 micron primary filter. Cyanide is either 40 micron or 24 micron ( two sites, two different sizes ), so yes, a filter will remove cyanide, mercury ( either mercury chloride or cinnabar, usual naturally occurring states ), pesticides, benzene, etc.
FWIW, either filter or dont bother.
But I would love to see someone who doesnt filter come down here, do a week with me on the FT and tell me they still dont believe in filtering. Or are we acknowledging that not filtering/treating is ok on the AT, but not elsewhere? That is what I havent seen yet from those who dont filter/treat. Would you hike the FT or PCT and not filter/treat?

fiddlehead
09-06-2006, 05:36
But I would love to see someone who doesnt filter come down here, do a week with me on the FT and tell me they still dont believe in filtering. Or are we acknowledging that not filtering/treating is ok on the AT, but not elsewhere? That is what I havent seen yet from those who dont filter/treat. Would you hike the FT or PCT and not filter/treat?

florida would be a place i would stay away from.
flat hiking is not interesting to me. (lots of crime, guns, desperate people too)
i agree the water problem would be different in a flat hiking environment.
the PCT however is often hiked without a filter.
i hiked it in 96 without a filter as did others that year. i hiked half of it again in 2002 without a filter. no problems (it's actually easier now i think because people place water in the problem areas although that's dangerous to rely on)
The AT is easier to find good water than the PCT though. you look for seeps, springs, runoff. not necessarily creeks, streams, rivers or ponds.
You learn to camel up at good water sources and not need water at every source.
I got sick on the AT from the water about 11 years ago. have done 4 thru's since without getting sick. I got sick in CT at a spring near a shelter. I believe someone probably washed out there underwear in that spring. it happens. I should've looked for better water but was tired in in a hurry. i had diarreah for 24 hours only. not a big deal and who wants to go the next 8,000 miles worrying about the water just because one person was irresponsibile. To me the biggest problem is people who filter and think that everybody should so that they no longer respect the source.

highway
09-06-2006, 06:05
......ho doesnt filter come down here, do a week with me on the FT and tell me they still dont believe in filtering.

But do you really know that it is not safe to drink, or just that you consider it to be so because of the surface water's dark color, which is only tannic acid from decaying vegetation?

The first European settlers in our country in the 16th century were the Spanish and when they discovered Florida and drank that darkened water from the St Johns river they named it the Rio Dorado. This was because, when they brought the water up to their mouths to drink they saw it was golden in color, from the tannic acid. Of course, the indians had already been drinking from it for 10,000 years or so.

highway
09-06-2006, 06:14
florida would be a place i would stay away from.
flat hiking is not interesting to me. (lots of crime, guns, desperate people too)
[/B]
Would you please elaborate? I have lived here for 40+ yuears and have not witnessed what you claim us to be, other than that we are a flat state. But I have not seen the "lots of crime" you claim for us. Maybe it is because we all have guns down here. And I can't wait to hear why you call us "desperate" people.

Emsadida
09-06-2006, 08:31
To me the biggest problem is people who filter and think that everybody should so that they no longer respect the source.

This goes both ways. The non-filter/treat people also get to preaching a lot...

SGT Rock
09-06-2006, 08:44
Actually some of the people preaching are really filter and treatment users. Just looking at it from more than one angle to ask if it is really all that necessary. Don't paint me into something I am not, and maybe even others.

And I know I am challenging people's faith. Never a good idea :datz

And Alligator I have been contemplating it. I figure it is only a stomach bug when you get right down to it. I have survived worse LOL ;)

SGT Rock
09-06-2006, 08:53
Hey, I treated in the swamps of Louisiana, I didn't get sick there. Would that be close to Florida for water type?

Teatime
09-06-2006, 11:11
Sgt Rock quoted Roland Mueser's book, which I have. I remembered reading exactly what he stated about sickness occuring just as much among those who filtered as those who didn't. On page 98, Table 13-5, I see that out of a sample of 19 hikers who ALWAYS filtered, 4 got sick (21%). I also see that out of a sample of 25 hikers who NEVER filtered , 5 got sick (20%). Of those who filtered sometimes, 56 hikers, 39% became sick. Of those who usually filtered, 10 hikers, 28% became sick. The text goes on to say that a more likely culprit for hikers becoming ill is poor hygene and dirty mess kits. No scientific study has been done on this but it does seem reasonable. So, instead of wasting all that time filtering and treating, it would be better spent "cleaning utensils with hot water and not sharing utensils among companions". The chapter, Water: Its Joys and Perils, is great reading on this subject. Roland Mueser, may he rest in peace, was a scientist and avid hiker who thru-hiked in 1989.

tlbj6142
09-06-2006, 11:53
About 2-3 years ago, backpacker mag did an article on backcountry water. They tested water from 4(?) sources. None of them, even the worst one (some place in TN???), was considered "bad". While, all (but one?) had giardia present, it was in high-enough numbers to cause any concern for healthly adults.

Considering the source of the article, I'm amazed they even published the results.

My biggest concern isn't bugs, but chemicals. Mostly from mine run-off. I treat most of the time "in the east", but rarely "in the west".

Alligator
09-06-2006, 12:09
Sgt Rock quoted Roland Mueser's book, which I have. I remembered reading exactly what he stated about sickness occuring just as much among those who filtered as those who didn't. On page 98, Table 13-5, I see that out of a sample of 19 hikers who ALWAYS filtered, 4 got sick (21%). I also see that out of a sample of 25 hikers who NEVER filtered , 5 got sick (20%). Of those who filtered sometimes, 56 hikers, 39% became sick. Of those who usually filtered, 10 hikers, 28% became sick. The text goes on to say that a more likely culprit for hikers becoming ill is poor hygene and dirty mess kits. No scientific study has been done on this but it does seem reasonable. So, instead of wasting all that time filtering and treating, it would be better spent "cleaning utensils with hot water and not sharing utensils among companions". The chapter, Water: Its Joys and Perils, is great reading on this subject. Roland Mueser, may he rest in peace, was a scientist and avid hiker who thru-hiked in 1989.There is some information missing. Are all of the above categories mutually exclusive? What were the overall totals for the Usually filtered and Sometimes categories?

Amigi'sLastStand
09-06-2006, 12:42
Hey, I treated in the swamps of Louisiana, I didn't get sick there. Would that be close to Florida for water type?
Not sure, could be, Rock. Anyone who doesnt treat swamp water, well, good luck.

Hey, highway, you shoulda come to our gathering. Anyway, I know what the gold color is, and that aint what I'm talking about:

http://www.sptimes.com/2003/10/12/Worldandnation/CDC_cautions_against_.shtml
http://www.infoplease.com/cig/dangerous-diseases-epidemics/epidemic-dysentery.html

Yeah, the Spanish drank the water and thousands died:
http://www.vernonjohns.org/nonracists/jxsemwar.html
http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=NEWS22
-- search "dysentery"

Here's one for you PCT thrus who are convinced not filtering is safe.
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no6/01-0210.htm

SGTRock is right, trying to change ppls views about their treatment habits, is like trying to change their religion.
It's like wearing a seatbelt, I've never been in a car accident while I was driving, but I still wear my seatbelt. Saying you've hiked X amount of miles and not gotten sick is no evidence that the water is safe! You've just gotten lucky.
But the science is there, always has been. Some folks said on here on the Steve Irwin threads about how they werent surprised when and how he died. Well, when you folks who dont treat backcountry water get an illness or worse, I wont be very suprised either.....

Gray Blazer
09-06-2006, 13:16
Did you guys and dolls not hear about the guy jogging near Orlando who got stuck waist deep in a swamp for three days (Maybe someone can link to it) and survived by drinking the swampwater? Now, I'm not wondering about the water, I'm wondering how he got stuck waist deep in a swamp while jogging on a break from work. This happened a couple of days ago. Now, as far as FL being dangerous, there have been a few murders and disappearances near the FNST in the Ocala Forest.

Footslogger
09-06-2006, 13:18
Knowledge>Attitude>Behavior

That's how the process flows in human nature.

You can "shock" someone into a desired behavior but it is generally a pretty short lived change.

'Slogger

Skidsteer
09-06-2006, 18:43
Perhaps the majority of us just don't like change. We can all be divided into three broad categories.

Here's what I mean:

1)Always filter/always treat,

2)Never filter/never treat,

3)filter/treat depending on circumstances.

To be more specific, it would be interesting(to me, at least)to hear from folks that went from the 'always filter/always treat' crowd to the 'never filter/never treat' crowd. And vice versa. And why?

Footslogger
09-06-2006, 19:10
[quote=Skidsteer]Perhaps the majority of us just don't like change. We can all be divided into three broad categories.

Here's what I mean:

1)Always filter/always treat,

2)Never filter/never treat,

3)filter/treat depending on circumstances.

===========================================

Left two out ...

4) Used to filter/treat and don't any more

5) Never used to filter/treat and now do

'Slogger

Skidsteer
09-06-2006, 19:21
Left two out ...

4) Used to filter/treat and don't any more

5) Never used to filter/treat and now do

'Slogger


I didn't leave them out. Those are the two groups I'm curious about.



To be more specific, it would be interesting(to me, at least)to hear from folks that went from the 'always filter/always treat' crowd to the 'never filter/never treat' crowd. And vice versa. And why?

Water epiphanies, so to speak. :)

Footslogger
09-06-2006, 19:38
I didn't leave them out. Those are the two groups I'm curious about.


Water epiphanies, so to speak. :)
==================================

Well in that case ...I am a #4. I carried a filter for over 20 years (and just about every make/model made). As I have stated before, I became skeptical about the REAL safety in using an appliance like a mechanical filter that gets used, then stuffed in a sack and put away wet. It bothered me to screw open the lid and see all that muck on the element.

I did some reading and began experimenting with PolarPur in the the late 80's. After a while, and after seeing all my water containers become discolored I started to wonder if treating water with iodine was such a good idea.

Then came AquaMira. I held off at first but once a few studies were published I jumped on board ...and I've never looked back. The studies may all be hype but I have been using AquaMira or some other form of Chlorine Dioxide (Klearwater/Micropur Tablets) ever since and I trust them based on my experience.

I was happy to retire my mechanical filters, both for the weight and the reasons stated above. If I was ever concerned about the amound of visable sediment or debris in water I would pour it over my bandana and then treat it with Chlorine Dioxide.

'Slogger

orangebug
09-06-2006, 19:49
http://www.msrcorp.com/filters/sweet_microfilter.asp
This is my filter. It doesnt say it here, but it has a .2 micron primary filter. Cyanide is either 40 micron or 24 micron ( two sites, two different sizes ), so yes, a filter will remove cyanide, mercury ( either mercury chloride or cinnabar, usual naturally occurring states ), pesticides, benzene, etc. ...Yeh, right.

I'll let you go first on that one.

BTW, Rock, Lyme vaccine is not longer available in the US. It had far too much cost and complications, and too many adverse events.

rickb
09-06-2006, 19:51
Here is a poll that shows how WB posters have fared with thier filters (or lack there of).

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=10785

Skidsteer
09-06-2006, 20:02
==================================

Well in that case ...I am a #4. I carried a filter for over 20 years (and just about every make/model made). As I have stated before, I became skeptical about the REAL safety in using an appliance like a mechanical filter that gets used, then stuffed in a sack and put away wet. It bothered me to screw open the lid and see all that muck on the element.

I did some reading and began experimenting with PolarPur in the the late 80's. After a while, and after seeing all my water containers become discolored I started to wonder if treating water with iodine was such a good idea.

Then came AquaMira. I held off at first but once a few studies were published I jumped on board ...and I've never looked back. The studies may all be hype but I have been using AquaMira or some other form of Chlorine Dioxide (Klearwater/Micropur Tablets) ever since and I trust them based on my experience.

I was happy to retire my mechanical filters, both for the weight and the reasons stated above. If I was ever concerned about the amound of visable sediment or debris in water I would pour it over my bandana and then treat it with Chlorine Dioxide.

'Slogger

No offense but it sounds like you still treat water, then?

I was lumping filters/treatment together.

Footslogger
09-06-2006, 20:14
No offense but it sounds like you still treat water, then?

I was lumping filters/treatment together.
=======================

Skewz me ...my bad. Yes, I treat water any questionable water. About half the time at least I just scoop and drink. Just don't filter any more.

'Slogger

Amigi'sLastStand
09-06-2006, 20:14
Knowledge>Attitude>Behavior

That's how the process flows in human nature.

You can "shock" someone into a desired behavior but it is generally a pretty short lived change.

'Slogger
Is it shock that 20,000 reported cases of amoebic or bacillaic dysentery are reported every year in the US? Or that the CDC thinks that 10 times that amount occur but are not tested for by doctors?
http://www.infoplease.com/cig/dangerous-diseases-epidemics/epidemic-dysentery.html
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9518.html
Also, can you find anywhere on McNett's website that says AquaMira treats and kills giardia, crypto, or amoebic dysentery? It may work, and I hope so since I carry it as a backup, but I would want more evidence that it worked before I would trust my health to it.

Teatime
09-06-2006, 20:29
Just the numbers this time:

Frequency of Water Purification Versus Incidence of Gastrointestinal Illness:

Of 136 hikers in the sample:

19 Always treated, 4 became ill (21%)
36 Usually treated, 10 became ill (28%)
56 Somtimes treated, 22 became ill (39%)
25 Never treated, 5 became ill (20%)

Read the book, highly recommend it.


There is some information missing. Are all of the above categories mutually exclusive? What were the overall totals for the Usually filtered and Sometimes categories?

Lone Wolf
09-06-2006, 20:38
I've never treated/fitered water ever, anywhere. Did an Outward Bound trip in Colorado 20+ years ago and never treated, against the instructors wishes, and never got sick. Others did. I'm a wolf. I drink from ***n toilets and puddles. I ain't skeered! Y'all are weenies. How can you enjoy backpacking when every minute you're worried about water, bears , mice, space in a shelter, knees, mail drops, etc., etc., on and on and on... Christ! Stay home.:rolleyes:

Alligator
09-06-2006, 20:45
Just the numbers this time:

Frequency of Water Purification Versus Incidence of Gastrointestinal Illness:

Of 136 hikers in the sample:

19 Always treated, 4 became ill (21%)
36 Usually treated, 10 became ill (28%)
56 Somtimes treated, 22 became ill (39%)
25 Never treated, 5 became ill (20%)

Read the book, highly recommend it.While I'm waiting for my copy, I'd be interested in your interpretation of these numbers .

Skidsteer
09-06-2006, 20:45
=======================

Skewz me ...my bad. Yes, I treat water any questionable water. About half the time at least I just scoop and drink. Just don't filter any more.

'Slogger

Ten four. No problem. My parameters are a little strict, I admit.

I confess I'm looking for the anecdotal equivalent(aquatically speaking) of Paul on the road to Tarsus.

If I didn't have a job and a family I'd volunteer to serve as a guinea pig and just take my chances for the sake of science. :D

weary
09-06-2006, 20:49
Is it shock that 20,000 reported cases of amoebic or bacillaic dysentery are reported every year in the US? Or that the CDC thinks that 10 times that amount occur but are not tested for by doctors?
http://www.infoplease.com/cig/dangerous-diseases-epidemics/epidemic-dysentery.html
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/9339/9518.html
Also, can you find anywhere on McNett's website that says AquaMira treats and kills giardia, crypto, or amoebic dysentery? It may work, and I hope so since I carry it as a backup, but I would want more evidence that it worked before I would trust my health to it.
Amigi'sLastStand

The evidence strikes me as overwhelming that water borne pollutants cause little harm -- or at least little harm that backcountry hikers can control. Most of the sickness that people filter or treat water to avoid occurs from poor sanitary practices.

Wise hikers, therefore, should avoid unsanitary practices of themselves and other hikers, and ignore most water treatment practices.

Weary

Skidsteer
09-06-2006, 20:57
I've never treated/fitered water ever, anywhere. Did an Outward Bound trip in Colorado 20+ years ago and never treated, against the instructors wishes, and never got sick. Others did. I'm a wolf. I drink from ***n toilets and puddles. I ain't skeered! Y'all are weenies. How can you enjoy backpacking when every minute you're worried about water, bears , mice, space in a shelter, knees, mail drops, etc., etc., on and on and on... Christ! Stay home.:rolleyes:

I'm not worried about it because I filter.

I'd prefer to not filter and not worry about it. But that's not the way I did it when I started backpacking and I don't like change. Which is my point.

I'm working on it, but it's a leap of faith for me. I'll try it sooner or later. I can't help myself.

fiddlehead
09-06-2006, 21:19
I've never treated/fitered water ever, anywhere. Did an Outward Bound trip in Colorado 20+ years ago and never treated, against the instructors wishes, and never got sick. Others did. I'm a wolf. I drink from ***n toilets and puddles. I ain't skeered! Y'all are weenies. How can you enjoy backpacking when every minute you're worried about water, bears , mice, space in a shelter, knees, mail drops, etc., etc., on and on and on... Christ! Stay home.:rolleyes:

One of your best posts ever LW. Made me smile.
Hey, 2 nights ago I did a Pink Floyd tribute at a live music bar here in Phuket. Had 5 or 6 different musicians help me and we did 15 floyd songs in a row. Keep up the good posts. Sometime folks need some help determining what's important in life. (they should all trade in their filters for "a collection of great dance songs" )

fiddlehead
09-06-2006, 21:39
Would you please elaborate? I have lived here for 40+ yuears and have not witnessed what you claim us to be, other than that we are a flat state. But I have not seen the "lots of crime" you claim for us. Maybe it is because we all have guns down here. And I can't wait to hear why you call us "desperate" people.

Ok, i'll try to explain my thoughts on this. I have a friend who moved to FL and returned 12 years later. i went to visit him 3 times during his stay there. He didn't allow his children to play outside because he was worried they would be abducted like his neighbors kids were. He always carried a gun (never did in PA and still does not most of the time) He got hooked on amphetimines in FL and claimed so many are on it. He went there with money and came home with none. He learned a lot of dirty tricks that i won't go into. Now, of course non of this is the least bit scientific so, here is a link to an fbi website about statistics: http://www.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=/ucr/cius_03/xl/03tbl05.xls
only CA has higher crime per state and they also have more than double the population (although not double the crime)
I hiked a short section of the FL trail once when i was down there visiting this friend and saw 3 homeless people living on the trail. I didn't feel comfortable around them as they were checking out my gear and i got out of there. I never had this feeling on the AT. (although i have seen homeless people living on the trail, but not for long) (I'm sorry if i named them desparate people. Perhaps i should call them something else, but perhaps you would get upset over whatever i called them)
I'm not saying any place is perfect. we have crime here in Thailand too. about 20% of the rate of FL's crime. YOu have lived there for 40 years. good for you. i hope you are far away from the crime.
So, i'm glad you like it there. We all choose to live where we do of course. for many reasons.

Alligator
09-06-2006, 22:18
Any other articles besides
Roland Mueser-Long Distance Hiking
Rockwell's article on the Sierras
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/arti...97&postcount=1 (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/article.php?p=119497&postcount=1)?
Specifically this reference
Open File Report No. 86-404-W. Dept. of the Interior, US Geological Survey, 1986

Rick's poll
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=10785

and two of Amigi's links
http://www.infoplease.com/cig/danger...dysentery.html (http://www.infoplease.com/cig/dangerous-diseases-epidemics/epidemic-dysentery.html)
http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH...9339/9518.html
?


Weary mentioned some overwhelming evidence for our enlightenment, some citations shouldn't be too difficult then Oh Wise One:) . Let's get a references section going here. Did I miss any from this thread:-? ?

SGT Rock
09-07-2006, 01:21
Hey, if you have or get Muesser's book also look for the paragraph or table or whatever it was that showed how fast the laboratory tested effectiveness of a filter dropped from the advertised effectiveness. I think some people that use filters may want to see that part too.

highway
09-07-2006, 05:19
Ok, i'll try to explain my thoughts on this.

Try and at least wean yourself off the harder drugs while you are over there...it has really begun to cloud your judgement terriblt!:cool:

Teatime
09-07-2006, 09:31
Okay, Gator. The point is that there's virtually no differnece between those who filtered and those who didn't. Why, then, were they afflicted with gastrointestinal illnesses? The author, with some support, draws the conclusion that they were getting sick from something else besides the water. Poor personal hygene and not thoroughly cleaning your cooking /eating utensils were highlighted as a likely cause. Also, sharing water bottles and other items is cited as well. Hey, I'm not making this stuff up. Please read the book if you have any further questions, I'm sick of doing your homework for you.:) Curious, how does MS treat his water? He is a scientist, is he not?
While I'm waiting for my copy, I'd be interested in your interpretation of these numbers .

Alligator
09-07-2006, 10:08
Okay, Gator. The point is that there's virtually no differnece between those who filtered and those who didn't. Why, then, were they afflicted with gastrointestinal illnesses? The author, with some support, draws the conclusion that they were getting sick from something else besides the water. Poor personal hygene and not thoroughly cleaning your cooking /eating utensils were highlighted as a likely cause. Also, sharing water bottles and other items is cited as well. Hey, I'm not making this stuff up. Please read the book if you have any further questions, I'm sick of doing your homework for you.:) Curious, how does MS treat his water? He is a scientist, is he not?I didn't ask for what the author thought, I was interested in your personal interpretation. I'm sure that's not in the book. Since you felt it necessary to post the data, it was a pretty minor task to ask that you get it right:) . It was only one table.

From your above post, the only interpretation is this statement

The point is that there's virtually no difference between those who filtered and those who didn't.The rest is simply the author's findings. Feel free to elaborate. Don't worry, I won't turn it in to the teacher as my own, it'll have your name on it:cool: .

MS? Don't know offhand. He might know of some references though, do your own homework and find out yourself:rolleyes: .

highway
09-07-2006, 10:10
We have all developed the occasional gastrointestinal illnesses, even while safely at home, too. And, when it does occur, we are not always exactly sure what brought it on, either. But if it occurs on the trail, we almost always consider the likely source to be from the water.

Slingshot
09-25-2006, 15:07
There is plenty of evidence that drinking unfiltered water along the AT is UNsafe, but you can just risk it and hope for the best. It adds to the adventure.

SGT Rock
09-25-2006, 15:14
What evidence?

orangebug
09-25-2006, 15:23
What evidence?The same evidence that proves it is dangerous to wake up each morning, and be one day closer to death.

Run Rabbit, Run.

Bloodroot
09-25-2006, 18:15
"In 2004, a study found that 56 percent of backpackers on the Appalachian Trail develop diarrhea, and those who don't always treat their water to disinfect it face a 69-percent risk of illness."

That's not a huge margin in my book. Treaters and untreaters both developed the runs. The most important aspect of this study was bad hygiene.

Bravo
09-25-2006, 19:18
I've never treated/fitered water ever, anywhere. Did an Outward Bound trip in Colorado 20+ years ago and never treated, against the instructors wishes, and never got sick. Others did. I'm a wolf. I drink from ***n toilets and puddles. I ain't skeered! Y'all are weenies. How can you enjoy backpacking when every minute you're worried about water, bears , mice, space in a shelter, knees, mail drops, etc., etc., on and on and on... Christ! Stay home.:rolleyes:

Music to my ears. Well put Wolf.

Tin Man
09-25-2006, 19:20
"In 2004, a study found that 56 percent of backpackers on the Appalachian Trail develop diarrhea, and those who don't always treat their water to disinfect it face a 69-percent risk of illness."

That's not a huge margin in my book. Treaters and untreaters both developed the runs. The most important aspect of this study was bad hygiene.

The study had bad hygiene? ;)

Filter your water, clean your stuff you eat off along with your hands, and take imodium when all else fails.

Another study showed 100% of hikers hiked, at least to some extent, then they yellow-blazed.

Tin Man
09-25-2006, 19:27
Music to my ears. Well put Wolf.

I know filtering is considered nonsense by some and I am sure most of the water is safe, but if I didn't give my brother something to do now and then(besides check the map, check the knees, check for bears, check for mice, check shelter space, etc. etc. on and on) we would never stop for a break. ;)

SGT Rock
09-26-2006, 01:45
here's plenty:

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060819/food.asp

and the link to the actual scientific study:

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.2310/7060.2004.13621

Actually Boston, that article does not establish that the water is unsafe, it shows that hikers get sick. Even almost half of them that treat and filter still got sick. If the water was the danger, and these people are doing everything right, then how come they still get sick?

And no where on there does it test water quality of anything along the trail. For all that thing relates, those people could have gotten their diseases through city water, pizza, eating GORP, failure to wash after wiping or any other method.

And that is the thing. No one has tested the water along the trail. That is why there is no EVIDENCE that the water is bad. Only an assumption by people that there must be bad water because some people got sick.

Tin Man
09-26-2006, 08:01
Agreed, this is not evidence. Wasn't there an effort to conduct a study by collecting water samples along the trail? What ever happened to that? :-?

SGT Rock
09-26-2006, 09:32
If I remember right, all they ended up testing was for pollution, they didn't check for biologicals.

Tin Man
09-26-2006, 12:30
You are right. Click here (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/atf/cf/%7BD25B4747-42A3-4302-8D48-EF35C0B0D9F1%7D/ATEMI%20report%2005.pdf#search=%22appalachian%20tr ail%20water%20test%22) for the report from the ATC website.

orangebug
09-26-2006, 13:19
A study to look at microbial / parasitic growth in backcountry water would be a major waste of time. Temperature changes, time between obtaining samples and culturing, seasonal changes, recent weather and other variables would interfere.

The problem remains that we have illnesses occur associated with city folks getting into the backcountry, and marketers have found an opportunity to use fear to sell a number of products. I suspect that attention to hygiene is more valuable, but that it is likely that you will be at some increased risk given our antiseptic lifestyles in the city as opposed to more "earthy" living on the trail.

SGT Rock
09-26-2006, 13:23
Good point. I don't think this broke down when each of these hikers got sick and where. Snow melt is supposed to be more dangerous, and times when flies are moving could increase the chance for food contamination.

And on your thought, exposure to these builds immunity. That is one of the reasons they give to explain why the over 30 crowd has less than half the chance of those 18 year olds to get sick.

Mike & Gloria Walsh
09-26-2006, 15:39
We will start our thru in Feb 2007 NOBO. What kind of outer gloves do most thru hikers use.:clap

orangebug
09-26-2006, 22:13
We will start our thru in Feb 2007 NOBO. What kind of outer gloves do most thru hikers use.:clap
This would be a better question to ask via a new thread.

highway
09-27-2006, 09:53
Here is a great article from BackpackingLight, a great site for lightweight items and info, about sipping water from the wilderness, this from the Indian Peaks of the Rocky mountains:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/sipping_water_drinking_untreated_backcountry_water .html

You might also note from the photo that he is wearing sandals, too, in the high country, contrary to what so many naesayers seem to post-but those are most likely opinions from those who have not tried it....;)

Anyway, all the water does not need to be treated in the mountains. In fact, I remain convinced most of it really does not need it at all! But if you feel more comfortable lugging the filter and/or chemical, then go for it.

Outlaw
09-27-2006, 13:48
Here is a great article from BackpackingLight, a great site for lightweight items and info, about sipping water from the wilderness, this from the Indian Peaks of the Rocky mountains:

Highway, that is a great article with a well thought out approach to finding "safe" drinking water. The fact that the author is an ER MD certainly adds a lot of credibility to his article, as does his expansive backwoods experience.

Panzer1
10-01-2006, 20:51
Acording to a French secret service agent, Osama bin Laden is supposely dead from drinking bad water.

Maybe he read on this thread that he didn't need to filter his water because it was from a mountain stream. Good job men.. Keep up the good work.

Panzer

theThriftstoreMtneer
10-01-2006, 21:13
I only post this because part of the question, perhaps the backbone of it, is " scientific evidence" and it appears that none have actually offered even a single "drop" of bankable, presumably indisputeable scientific evidence. Well, OK, HERE IT IS: a couple of years ago a scientist and member of the American Alpine Club published a very detailed study of various outside water sources. I do not have a photographic memory, but it can be found through the AAC website www.americanalpineclub.com (http://www.americanalpineclub.com) or call them. However, if you trust this author, the "end of the story" is : if chosen with care (such as the suggestions mentioned in the preceeding posts) almost all of the water is absolutely OK to drink.
I too have been increasingly doing this to no ill effect.
And I am surprised no one has mentioned the Government concerning this topic. It is my opinion that should one person out of a million get sick on "your" public lands, the Dept. in charge must declare all water "UNSAFE" to drink. Well, all I can suggest to you dear reader and fellow outdoors lover: just think about this abit.
respectfully,
Greg Degler
NH
rain

Panzer1
10-02-2006, 01:01
Actually, I went to that web site (www.americanalpineclub.com (http://www.americanalpineclub.com/)) and did a search on "drinking water" and they gave me a list of 10 water filters I could use...

Panzer

Skidsteer
10-02-2006, 06:09
Here are some water links (http://www.americanalpineclub.com/redirect.php?b=LcgliLko9gQ%3D&term=water&nterms=d2F0ZXI%3D&position=6&odomain=americanalpineclub.com&source=1&to=aHR0cDovL3d3dzYwLm92ZXJ0dXJlLmNvbS9kL3NyLz94YXJ ncz0xNUtQamcxNDFTdHBYeWwlNUZydU5MYlhVNlRGaFVCTTBkJ TVGaHRab3FXdE11VHA4THREWTRUNzRxS3J4eHFmVUNFYlU1dFU zT2xiYko2dk1iTCU1RkQ3anFpSEV3bUpRbENNSCUyREw1MkpxU ndQazVSOTdYVzZJMGhyQXR6NW5xbkk5WWFuSUNZbTZuQ29yOWs lMkQlNUZPSWRUN09IMUolMkQ0Y0QyMFdVaWZBYXg4JTJEMnglM kRjY0VMN2UyeUVMJTVGMHFOTEp0VTNaQURnTXkyS1pJT084TlJ mOXFQeVN1VWRJb2J4dDUxbE9YV1BWSUVkQ2FoN1drRm9remRLV 0lnOWVmYklvSzVtNFhxak5DVmFPUGptTWRYYVZxUzlmSjFyeE9 XM3o2UWo5OGhjaVBSMk84STJBZEhKUCUyRGpQV3VFMWw5NjlPd VgyWjJQSzU0TTZtWHRDZHFZR25maElycERUSEExWCU1RnFwS1Z hcUpHYzYlNUZCJTJESGNZdEJjTmV2OGlHb1NGVzFPV2txWWtWU TR0S1ZDUFklMkUmeWFyZ3M9d3d3LnB1cmV3YXRlcmdhemV0dGU ubmV0) from the site's search engine.

warren doyle
10-02-2006, 12:30
"The Science of Stomach"
30,000+AT miles and I have never treated my water.
Giardia is more than welcome in my intestinal home.
"A giardia a day keeps the hemorrhoids away." Doyle

SGT Rock
10-02-2006, 13:20
"The Science of Stomach"
30,000+AT miles and I have never treated my water.
Giardia is more than welcome in my intestinal home.
"A giardia a day keeps the hemorrhoids away." Doyle
Now that is a good testament and a good laugh at the same time.