Does Iodine Purify Water?

A person cups their hand to gather natural water

Iodine purifies water by killing harmful microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and cysts. If you find yourself in an emergency situation and iodine is available, it can be administered in very small doses to purify water. However, there are issues with using iodine as a regular water purifier, as it can pose certain health risks.

Iodine Water Treatment

Since iodine can be used to disinfect skin, you can often find bottles or tinctures in first aid kits and medicine cabinets. If you have a tincture of iodine available, you can drop a very small amount into water to disinfect it. According to the EPA, you can use five drops of 2% tincture of iodine to a quart or liter of clear water to disinfect it. Since iodine can be absorbed into dirt or other particles, you should use 10 drops if the water is cloudy. Once it has been added, you should thoroughly shake or stir the mixture for several minutes. The water will be disinfected and ready for drinking after 30 minutes.

How Do Iodine Tablets Purify Water?

Iodine has been used as a water purifier because it is a strong oxidant that is able to kill microorganisms. However, when we consume iodine, our stomachs are able to quickly convert it into iodide, which isn’t a disinfectant. That’s why we can use iodine to kill microorganisms in a bottle of water while still being able to drink it afterward.

Is Drinking Iodine Water Safe?

Using iodine for water purification is generally safe for occasional use by most people, but there are risks. People who are pregnant or those with thyroid conditions should avoid using iodine tablets or iodine-treated water. About 5–10% of adults over 50 have a mild form of hypothyroidism that could be exacerbated by ingesting excessive amounts of iodine. Certain iodine products can also irritate your hands or eyes, and some people are unable to use iodine because they are allergic.

Because of these issues, the sale of iodine for water treatment was banned in the European Union in 2009 after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that iodine should only be used in controlled doses and for a limited period of time.

Using Iodine Tablets for Water Purification

Iodine water purification tablets were first created in the 1940s by the U.S. military for troops in the field, and it later spread to civilian use. Despite the health concerns noted by the CDC and World Health Organization, iodine tablets are still used to purify water by hikers, campers, and boaters because it is a fast and reliable way to kill harmful microorganisms. However, not only do iodine tablets have health concerns, but they also leave behind a poor, chemical taste.

Chlorine Dioxide vs. Iodine for Water Treatment

Chlorine dioxide is a better option for water treatment because it does not come with the same health risks associated with iodine. Like iodine, it is fast-acting, able to be deployed in tablet form, and capable of killing the vast majority of microorganisms. That’s why chlorine-based tablets have been approved and used by the WHO, International Red Cross, NATO, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders.

Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Aquatabs offers chlorine-based water purification tablets that kill 99.99% of microorganisms without negatively impacting the taste of your water. They are simple and easy to use and can make your water easy to drink in just 30 minutes. 

One 49 mg tablet can disinfect a half gallon of clear freshwater within 30 minutes, and a 397 mg tablet can purify four gallons. In fact, a single 100-count package of 397 mg tablets can purify enough water to keep one person fully hydrated for up to 470 days—and it costs significantly less money than a home distillation machine.

Aquatabs for emergencies

Why Choose Aquatabs?

Aquatabs are the most popular water purification tablets on the market, and they are trusted by governments, international aid groups, and other organizations to disinfect billions of gallons of water every year. Our water purification tablets are popular with hikers, backpackers, and campers because they eliminate the need to carry around filters and other equipment. They are also used by people traveling internationally to ensure they always have access to reliable drinking water.

Buy Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Looking for a safe, reliable, and affordable water purification tablet? Check out Aquatabs’ products to find the right option for you.

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