[pct-l] CDC recommendations for water treatment

Michael michael at leftcoastman.com
Fri Oct 22 13:22:55 CDT 2010


This is my first time posting to this list, figuring I should take time reading it and understanding the "culture" of it.  I'm planning on taking a couple of years out of the rat race and ride my motorcycle everywhere, and do a thruhike of the PCT next spring.

But the back and forth on water sterilization is driving me a bit crazy, and I wanted to make a few points.  First, my bonafides:  I have advanced degrees in medicine and biology, and I am now in the medical products industry at an executive level.  So, I'm very familiar with how companies market their products.

1.  I reviewed the articles at Steripens.  I agree with the comment that just because a company provides links to a variety of publications on its website doesn't indicate a conspiracy.  That's poor logic.  That being said, after my review of the "published" articles on Steripen's website, their information is a bit disingenuous.  Most of the articles were not published in peer-reviewed journals and appeared (though they didn't disclose it) to be funded by Steripens just so they could brag about it.  That's bad science.  The one article that was published in a peer reviewed journal didn't give the results that I would consider to be supportive of the view that Steripens is useful.  It showed that 3.8% of oocytes sporulated (that's going to make you ill) in highly contaminated water.  In less contaminated water, the Steripens killed 100%, so that's good.  Boiling was still the best, and some of the alternative methods, like some of the cheaper non-ceramic water filters aren't worth the trouble.  If I were to make a conclusion, I'd say that the Steripens does a great job, with caveats that in highly contaminated water, you might need to take more time.

2.  The CDC is one of the greatest institutions in the US.  They are utterly unbiased, only concerned about disease control, and run by people in the US Military and the US Public Health Service.  They use great science and publish their reviews.  Without them, we'd be overrun by diseases that would reduce our average lifespan by 20-30 years.  I read over the website, and they clearly state that UV light "may not be designed to remove Crypto".  It is my opinion, and again, reviewing the data provided by Steripens, they have provided sufficient evidence that it would remove it.  However, and anyone reading this should understand, it is far from perfect.  I would be extra careful in areas that might have Crypto (love the word) contamination, like anywhere there are cattle.

3.  Someone stated that why worry about Crypto, you get it and you're over it.  Well, for a few days, you're not going to retain enough calories to do any serious exertion.  And in some people it becomes more serious.  I'm a firm supporter in prevention rather than cure, because every medical procedure, every disease has a known significant risk.  Most people might not die of Crypto, but some will, and it's easily prevented.

I know everyone cherishes their biases and opinions.  It's like using Wikipedia, which ranks amongst the worst things that's happened to medical science, publishing junk that has no standing in science or basic logic.  If you review the evidence, then you can use Wikipedia.  The same here.  Steripens works.  It's not perfect, and anyone who pretends that its perfect, puts their health at risk.  But if you're armed with the knowledge that in areas of serious contamination might require you to do something else.

I'm sorry that my first post here was a missive, but I wanted to provide some info that I believed would be helpful.  


On Oct 22, 2010, at 10:33 :22PDT, pct-l-request at backcountry.net wrote:



Why should I explain "their reference"?  

They didn't, but you seem to feel the need to...

Knock yourself out.

The studies that you trash are from universities and and an independent lab.  I'm sure they're all in on the conspiracy to sell Steripens.  I can be such a sucker for these sort of things...  ;-)

Yes, Brick; I'm done with this thread...  

BillB



On Oct 22, 2010, at 8:32 AM, jcil000-pctchat at yahoo.com wrote:

> Now that I admitted my error in posting my interpretation that the CDC was 
> obliquely referencing the Steri Pen
> in the statement, please tell us Bill which other product on the market fits 
> that description as given on the CDC
> webpage??
> 
> This is not a contest. Do you have an explanation for their reference? Another 
> product?
> 
> I would also like to repeat myself. The CDC is recognized internationally as the 
> top experts in
> medical science. I'm afraid anything that the Steri Pen company points to is 
> simply not at the 
> 
> CDC level. The CDC trumps any "independent lab" research provided by a company 
> where
> there might be a conflict in testing results. To deny that is amusing.
> 
> I might add that the Steri Pen company itself warns that its product is not 
> highly effective
> in water that is more than mildly cloudy / turbid. 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: Bill Burge <bill at burge.com>
> Cc: PCT MailingList <pct-l at backcountry.net>
> Sent: Thu, October 21, 2010 7:03:57 PM
> Subject: Re: [pct-l] CDC recommendations for water treatment
> 
> You need to avoid altering content that you indicate as "transcribing".
> 
> The line from your post:
> 
> "5)   Ultraviolet light treatment of water is not effective   against 
> Cryptosporidium at normally-used levels. i.e. Steri Pen type products."
> 
> is NOT the same as what is in the original page:
> 
> "Ultraviolet light treatment of water is not effective against Cryptosporidium 
> at normally-used levels."
> 
> 
> That is not transcribing.  It is "interpretation".
> 
> Steripen's site points to a number of independent tests that DO indicate 
> effectiveness against cyryptosporidium.
> http://www.steripen.com/micro-biological-testing
> 
> 
> BillB
> 
> 
> On Oct 21, 2010, at 6:34 PM, jcil000-pctchat at yahoo.com wrote:
> 
>> The following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are 
>> useful in 
>> 
>> the avoidance of infection by Cryptosporidium. 
>> 
>> To avoid Crypto infection, they advise the following:
>> 
>> 1)  That the use of water filters which  an ?absolute one micron? filter, or a 
> 
>> filter   certified to remove Cryptosporidium under NSF International Standard  
> 
>> #53 or #58 for either ?cyst removal? or ?cyst reduction? be used. (see A Guide 
> 
>> to Water Filters for more   information.
>> 
>> 2) That Cryptosporidium is poorly inactivated by chlorine or iodine  
>> disinfection.***
>> ***The product sold by REI called "Potable Aqua / Chlorine Dioxide Water 
>> Purification Tablets" claims effectiveness in four hours.
>> The down side to this product is that it "causes irreversible eye damage" if 
>> the 
>> 
>> user gets residue into his/her eyes.
>> 
>> 3) That boiling at a rolling boil for 1 minute (at altitudes greater than 6,562 
>> 
>> feet   (>2,000 m), boil water for 3 minutes) 
>> 
>> is recommended.
>> 
>> 4)  Cryptosporidium is not killed by alcohol gels and hand sanitizers.
>> 
>> 5)   Ultraviolet light treatment of water is not effective   against 
>> Cryptosporidium at normally-used levels. i.e. Steri Pen type products.
>> 
>> CDC web links below:
>> 
>> http://www.cdc.gov/crypto/gen_info/filters.html
>> 
>> http://www.cdc.gov/crypto/health_professionals/bwa/dialysis.html
>> 
>> If I made a mistake in transcribing this information for my hiking friends, 
>> please post corrections but I think I've summed up their information.
>> 
>> Also, in closing, the weblink shows wording by manufacturers which might be 
>> misleading while reading a product label. Be sure to read that
>> CDC warning.
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