[Cdt-l] filter vs iodine

Thomas Hogeboom thogeboom at fairpoint.net
Thu Jun 19 15:26:31 CDT 2008

James Weber asked:  "are you better off using a filter or iodine or both?"


Good question.  The answer is that you're better off using a filter, as long
as the filter system is capable of removing or inactivating viruses.  One
thing that is not well known is that viruses cause far more G.I. problems
than bacteria or Giardia.  Any water treatment system that does not handle
viruses should be avoided for that reason.  Viruses are smaller than
bacteria or protozoa - commonly, a good filter system will remove bacteria
and protozoa and an iodine resin will then inactivate any viruses.  Since
the iodine is bound in a resin and does not dissolve into the water, there
is little or no iodine taste.


Iodine alone unfortunately may not kill cryptosporidium and it may in fact
help this protozoan leave its cyst.  Cryptosporidium is widespread, so I
would advise not relying on iodine alone as a water treatment option.


It is certainly possible to filter out the bacteria and protozoa, and then
dose the water with iodine, but the water will taste poor due to the iodine.


There is a huge amount of misinformation out there on this topic, including
anecdotal reports and "authoritative" statements from non-experts.  Add to
that statements from manufacturers of inferior water treatment products.  If
you want a second opinion, seek out an expert [I worked for 16 yrs as a





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