Forum Index » Food, Hydration, and Nutrition » Betadine water purification?


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JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
Betadine water purification? on 02/06/2010 10:31:18 MST Print View

Many years ago, and on the tail end of serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, I traveled for three months around the globe. We used Betadine solution to purify our water exclusively because of the ease of handling, flexibility of dosage (4 drops per liter) and availability literally ANYWHERE.

When we came back to the states and got back into backpacking folks looked at us as if we were completely crazy for using betadine, that it would not work and that if we insisted on iodine then we had to use the pills. I hate to admit that I have just assumed that information to be true until I did some web searching and found lots of data to support that betadyne usage works just fine.

Search of this site did not produce much information, a few references. So my question is why would this not be a popular water treatment option within the ultralight backpacking crowd?

I am not trying to open a debate to multiple purification techniques, I have researched many different options and keep coming back to iodine for our needs. It just seems with the far greater flexibility, availability, lower cost, faster dissolve rates, etc. That drops are a much better option than pills and have the added bonus of being a great multiple-use item for topical sterilization. What am I missing??

Read, but search for other info which is abundant:

http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/water.html

JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
Bump on 02/08/2010 13:13:02 MST Print View

No interest in this topic? I just filled a 1 oz bottle which is enough 150 liters of water treatment, that would 6 bottles of pills...

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Bump on 02/08/2010 13:28:36 MST Print View

How fast does it purify?

Is it safe to drink in large quantities? Not the stuff itself, but water treated with it.

What is it guaranteed to kill?

Edit: just read the contact times on the link you provided.

Edited by T.L. on 02/08/2010 13:33:41 MST.

JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
Info on 02/08/2010 13:51:49 MST Print View

Read the whole article. Same protection as iodine since it is iodine.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
not iodine on 02/08/2010 14:05:06 MST Print View

Betadine is not elemental iodine. It is an iodine compound.

Read down the bottle label to the place where it says "Warnings." "External use only."

Years ago we used elemental iodine in very carefully controlled concentrations for water treatment.

As far as water treatments go, Betadine is an excellent topical first aid liquid.

--B.G.--

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: not iodine on 02/08/2010 14:08:52 MST Print View

So in other words, look for some other chemical treatment?

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Betadine water purification?" on 02/08/2010 14:16:04 MST Print View

Go with chlorine dioxide, dude!!!

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/aquamira_tablets_24pk.html

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: not iodine on 02/08/2010 14:19:31 MST Print View

Iodine isn't considered especially effective against crypto or giardia, so ClO2 would seem to be a better route. Betadine as an emergency treatment measure might be worth investigating, particularly with respect to minimum concentration and contact time.

Cheers,

Rick

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
water treatment on 02/08/2010 14:29:54 MST Print View

It seems like we keep going back to some original principles. First, you have to know what the problems in your water are, and then you _might_ be able to treat the water for them. If you don't know your water threats, you are just thrashing around. There might be heavy metal contamination, bacteria, viruses, or protozoans.

Halogens will treat some of these problems in the water, and iodine and chlorine are the two most likely candidates, again depending on what it is you want to kill.

Betadine could be a rich source of iodine in the water, but its not very desirable in some regards. It would certainly be better than nothing, but standard water treatments might be a lot better.

I have some friends who have problems with iodine compounds, and chlorine compounds are a lot safer. I have yet to find anybody allergic to chlorine compounds, which is why so many public water systems use chlorine compounds in their treatment.
--B.G.--

JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
focus on 02/08/2010 14:38:27 MST Print View

"I am not trying to open a debate to multiple purification techniques, I have researched many different options and keep coming back to iodine for our needs."

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Excellent! on 02/08/2010 14:56:14 MST Print View

“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood”. --old Chinese Proverb

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Do Not Swallow on 02/08/2010 15:15:38 MST Print View

FWIW the package insert says "Do Not Swallow." All of the formulations I've found are topical- non are enteral. But that might mean the full-strength stuff. I'm not sure how applicable that is for a few drops diluted in a liter.

JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
Clarify on 02/08/2010 15:15:55 MST Print View

Bob, I tried to be very clear in my first post that I was looking for input on Betadine usage as a different way of dealing with Iodine treatment, that clarity was specifically with this exact thread drift in mind. I'm not being closed minded, I've just researched other options and found that Iodine treatment works great for the application range that I'm using it for. I understand there are lots of other applications, with different pluses and minuses.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
the answer to your original inquiry on 02/08/2010 16:10:07 MST Print View

Apparently Betadine is not popular among the ultralightweight backpacking crowds.

Personally, just for myself and for water treatment in the mountains, I don't have any huge problem with elemental iodine. I used it carefully and exclusively for years.

However, Betadine, No, Never.
--B.G.--

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Clarify on 02/08/2010 16:28:52 MST Print View

Hi John,

In your OP you asked, "So my question is why would this not be a popular water treatment option within the ultralight backpacking crowd?"

If you could enumerate what source water and contaminants you typically treat for it would help further the discussion; otherwise I'm afraid the conversation will continue to go in circles. A search of forum threads will reveal in vast detail what drinking water contaminants our contributors treat for and which treatment options ultralighters both consider and choose.

At the end of the day the various treatment schemes (including no treatment at all) are merely tools to match against conditions within a framework of reasonable risk management.

Cheers,

Rick

Edited by halfturbo on 02/08/2010 16:29:46 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Clarify on 02/08/2010 17:14:10 MST Print View

"At the end of the day the various treatment schemes (including no treatment at all) are merely tools to match against conditions within a framework of reasonable risk management."

As good a summation as I've ever seen. Well stated.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Rick on 02/08/2010 17:24:58 MST Print View

(Rick is now contemplating a second career as a lawyer.)

A D
(wentworth) - F
iodine on 02/08/2010 18:21:14 MST Print View

Hi Rick,
I understood that Iodine did kill giardia as long as the water was above 20 C, thus allowing the outer shell to soften and the iodine to get in?

I remember reading something on Roger's Bushwalking faq about betadine.

regardless, is there a difference between iodine tabs/ polar pure and betadine as a source for purification? The former results in 8 parts per million. What does 4 drops of betadine result in?

JOHN ZENNER
(johnz)

Locale: East Bay
Linked article on 02/08/2010 18:36:58 MST Print View

The relevent section from the link pasted below:

http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/water.html


Iodine
Iodine has been used to disinfect water for nearly a century. It has advantages over chlorine in convenience and probably efficacy; many travellers find the taste less offensive as well. It appears safe for short and intermediate length use (3-6 months), but questions remain about its safety in long-term usage. It should not be used by persons with allergy to iodine, persons with active thyroid disease, or pregnant women.

Note that Iodine and other halogens appear to be relatively ineffective at killing cyclospora, a troublesome diarrhea-causing bacteria seen in Nepal only in the late Spring and Summer months. At these times it may be reasonable to pre-filter water to remove the large cyclospora (about the size of Giardia cysts), and then treating with iodine. (See the comment from Dr. Backer)

Iodine is available in numerous forms, which can be confusing to the traveller. A simplified table is presented below; for more complete information refer to (Backer 1995).
Iodine Preparations
Preparation
Iodine
Amount/Liter

Iodine Topical Solution 2%
8 drops

Iodine Tincture 2%
8 drops

Lugol's Solution 5%
4 drops

Povidone-Iodine (Betadine®) 10%
4 drops

Tetraglycine hydroperiodide
(Globaline®, Potable Aqua®, EDWGT®) 8 mg
1 tablet



Disinfecting Contact Times
WATER CLARITY WATER TEMPERATURE
5 °C 15 °C
Clear
30 min
15 min

Cloudy
60 min
30 min



NOTES:
-
final drinking concentrations calculated at 8 mg iodine/liter
-
measure with a tuberculin syringe or dropper: 1 drop = 0.05 ml
-
In general, if you are in a hurry double the chemical dose and halve the contact time; if you want better flavor halve the dose and double the contact time.
-
If you believe the water may be heavily contaminated, double the chemical dose or double the contact time.
-
Iodine Topical Solution and Iodine Tincture also contain 2.4% sodium iodide, Lugol's Solution also contains 10% potassium iodide, increasing the dose of iodine ingested.
-
Povidone is a non-toxic polymer that binds the iodine and allows higher concentrations in a water-based solution. This complex system provides a sustained-release reservoir of free iodine, and makes calculation of the "strength" of the solution difficult.
-
A system comprising iodine crystals in plain water is available, and works well. It lasts an extremely long time. I have not shown it here because the amount of iodine dissolved in the water is highly temperature-dependent, and this is problematic in the universally cold environment of the Himalaya.
-
Addition of a small amount of vitamin C (50 mg) to your water after the contact time with the iodine will render the water nearly flavorless!

Discussion and Personal Preferences
Trekkers visit Nepal in huge numbers, and have a significant impact on the environment here. There are some important steps they can take to minimize this negative impact. Using bottled water in remote areas is unsupportable. It results in a terrible waste problem with non-reusable, non-biodegradable plastic bottles. Boiling water requires heat, which may be from a kerosene stove or dried yak dung, but is often in the form of a wood fire. Burning wood = deforestation in many of these fragile mountainous areas. For this reason I encourage trekkers to enjoy hot drinks in the tea houses, but not ask for boiled water to fill their water bottles. Filters do not do an adequate job of disinfection, and so I see no point in spending money on them or taking up valuable backpack space carrying them. I recommend iodine as the treatment of choice, unless there are contraindications to its use.

My own preference is to use Betadine® (10% povidone-iodine) in a small dropper bottle, and a one liter nalgene bottle. I fill up the bottle from a stream, drop in 4 drops of Betadine®, screw on the lid, and put it in my pack. Half an hour later, it is ready to drink. With minimal planning ahead, I rarely need water faster than this. I like this system because I carry Betadine® in my first aid kit anyway, and I personally think the flavor is less noxious than some other forms of iodine. I don't usually feel the need to add flavor crystals to my water, rather I joke that iodine is "the taste of safety." A little goes a long way: 30 ml of Betadine® is enough to disinfect 150 liters of water, or drinking water for about 50 days of active trekking (I am presuming that some additional fluid intake exists from tea, soup, meals, etc.).

I encourage trekkers to try a "taste test" at home with the various forms of iodine to determine which form tastes least bad, what strength they can tolerate (balanced against the necessary contact time), and whether they need to plan on carrying bulky flavoring crystals. Try the vitamin C trick!

A D
(wentworth) - F
betadine on 02/09/2010 13:54:33 MST Print View

Is Betadine just a stronger % of Tincture of Iodine? That's what Cody Lundin recommends for emergency purification. Or does Betadine have other nasties added?