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RE: [pct-l] Potassium permanganate

Another possible use for potassium permanganate: make a nice bright purple
solution and sprinkle on the snow to make an S.O.S. sign for the rescue
helicopter.  The stuff goes a *long* way as a dye - I imagine a hand-full
would turn a whole snowfield purple!  :-)

Seriously though, I've tried it as a firestarter.  Place a small pile on
tinder, add a few drops of glyerin or even brake fluid on top - poof!  Well,
poof in about twenty seconds, anyway.  It takes some time to react.  While
it does work, I don't think it's the ideal emergency tool.  One, water will
instantly dissolve the power and render it useless for fires.  Two, while it
does burn *extremely* hot, it typically only burns for a couple of seconds.
Three, it creates a thick, very noxious smoke when it burns.  Four, it will
stain your hands brown right quick.  Five, it's the oxidant from hell.
Don't get it on anything you don't want oxidized.

Waterproof storm matches, while not nearly as fascinating, are a much better
solution for emergency fire-starting.  You can light one, dunk it under
water, pull it out again, and it'll still burn along merrily.  They're

Potassium permanganate does work to purify drinking water, though I haven't
tried it.  It oxidizes all the little critters to death by tearing their
cell walls apart.  I would think you should find out some details such as
concentrations, sitting time, and possible side-effects before you try it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Jones [mailto:jjonz@gte.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 1999 8:41 AM