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[pct-l] Iodine Tablets

* Message posted to PCT-L from the National Scenic Trails Website
* by our guest Lara Thompson <laramt@hotmail.com>.
* Please use <mailto:laramt@hotmail.com> to reply to the sender.

Hello to all.  I used numerous iodine tablets per day on a two month backpacking trip through the Sierras without any kind of resulting troubles.  As Ron M. stated, periods of 6 months or more of use might result in toxicity.  It was explained to me that this was observed after prolonged use in the U.S. Military; however, I do not know if that is a true fact.  It's probably a reasonable idea to check with your doctor first.

I did note a few drawbacks to iodine.  I found it results in drinking water that tastes like it's been sitting in a kid's plastic blow-up swimming pool, and there is a waiting period (which varies depending on the water's temperature) before you can drink the treated water.  Additionally, if your water sources are especially murky, muddy, mossy or full of tiny visible swimming critters, you'll end up drinking whatever is in the water even if it is killed by the iodine.  Lastly, if your water sources are just small trickles, you'll probably need a water filter to pump the water to be able to drink at all.

There are, of course, benefits to using iodine tablets over a water filter.  There is the reduced carrying weight, no clogging of filters, no replacement of filter parts, and very quick and easy use.

When I calculate my personal iodine consumption costs for a 6 month period and compare them to the cost of using a water filter, the filter comes out to be the better value in terms of dollars spent.  But for a 5-7 day excursion in an area with plentiful water, the tablets are worth their (lack of) weight!


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