Passing of the Water Purification Tablet

   03.14.17

Passing of the Water Purification Tablet

For decades, drinking water made safe with water purification tablets was a right of passage for young men and women.

When I was a teenager in the 1980s, water purification tablets was a must have for any hiking or camping trip. I would fill my canteen with a bandanna over the top to filter out large contaminates, then add a water purification tablet and lastly, shake well.

Then I bought my first water filter in the mid-1990s. After I bought my first filter, I still carried water purification tablets and added them to the water, even though the water had been filtered. The logic for continuing to use the tablets: portable filters were new and tablets had been around for decades.

Over the next few years I slowly stopped using water purification tablets. With the limited shelf-life, it is a wonder people still buy them. On various discussion forums, the tablets have fallen out of favor for modern water filters.

Do the tablets have a place? Sure they do. If I was going to a location where the water may be contaminated with human waste, I would filter and then use the tablets. The vast majority of water filters on the market only filter out bacteria and protozoa. Viruses are so small they pass through most filters.

I honestly can not remember the last time I bought a bottle of water purification tablets.

Served Their Purpose

Like everything else, water purification tablets served their purpose until something better came along.  Water filter technology progressed to the point decades ago that water purification tablets are for the most part obsolete.

Is there still a need for them? Sure there is. If there was any question whether or not the water contained a virus, I would use a water purification tablet in addition to filtration.

I wonder if any teenagers today use water purification tablets like I did in the 1980s? Then again, the 80s were right after the Vietnam conflict. Camping in the woods using those tablets, it was like we were looking up to the men and women who served in Vietnam.

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