FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the difference between portable filters and Polar Pure?

2. What is the advantage of using Polar Pure instead of a portable filter?

3. What about the iodine taste?

4. Can I use chlorine to disinfect my water?

5. Will boiling my water also disinfect it?

6. What are the uses of Polar Pure?

7. How long should I treat very cold water (35° F for example)?

8. Should I use a coffee filter to get out the "big stuff" before disinfecting my water with Polar Pure?

9. Should I keep water in my Polar Pure bottle during the "off" season or between uses?

10. Can I disinfect more than one quart or liter of water at a time?

11. What is the shelf life of Polar Pure?

12. Should the water used to fill the Polar Pure solution bottle be treated water or can it be from a pond or creek?

13. Should the water to be treated be the same temperature as the Polar Pure solution?

14. Why does Polar Pure come in a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle?

15. I have had my bottle of Polar Pure for 3 years. Is it still safe and effective to use?

16. Is Polar Pure harmed by freezing?

17. Will Polar Pure take care of chemical contamination such as fertilizer runoff, pesticides, etc.?

18. Will Polar Pure kill cryptosporidium?

19. Do you have a chart that shows solution temperature and the necessary number of capfuls of Polar Pure needed to treat my bottle of water?




QUESTION #1: What is the difference between portable filters and Polar Pure?



ANSWER: Filters have become popular because they can remove pollutants from water without changing the water taste. The most popular portable filters sold today have pore sizes of 0.1 to 4 microns. The Giardia cyst is 6 microns in diameter. Many bacteria are larger than 0.2 microns, so 0.2 micron filters are adequate to handle such organisms. Viruses, however, range from 0.004 to 0.06 microns in size -- far smaller than the pore size of the best portable filter. Therefore, chemicals (such as Polar Pure) or heat must be used after, or instead of a filter if viruses could be present. Only a filter system which includes an iodine matrix will destroy virses.

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QUESTION #2:What is the advantage of using Polar Pure instead of a portable filter?



ANSWER: All filters eventually become clogged. Filter lifetime is determined by the quantity and size of particles in the water (a prefilter extends life). Filters may also clog from growth of organisms in the filter medium. The filter must then be backflushed or replaced or, for ceramic filters, scrubbed clean, slowly eroding the ceramic. In very cold conditions, retained water may freeze, plugging and possibly cracking the filter element. Filters weigh 1 to 1.5 pounds -- more after use because they retain some water.
Polar Pure Water Disinfectant will kill Giardia cysts and viruses and has no filter to clog. The three inch tall bottle weighs only 3 ounces, so takes up considerably less space and adds almost no weight to your backback or emergency kit. Using a piece of fabric or a handkerchief over the mouth of your drinking water container when you fill it with water to be disinfected will help filter out organic matter (leaves, sticks, bugs etc.).

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QUESTION #3: What about the iodine taste?



ANSWER: Iodine taste (actually odor, sensed in the nose) is usually unnoticed below 2-3 ppm. If objectionable, it can be minimized by adding flavoring, sugar or Vitamin C to the water AFTER the necessary contact time. Iodine reacts with such additions to become "tasteless" iodide.

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QUESTION #4: Can I use chlorine to disinfect my water?



ANSWER: Ordinary household chlorine bleach (e.g. Clorox, Purex etc.), a 5% solution of sodium hypochlorite, can be used as a water disinfectant. It is readily obtainable in many parts of the world and will kill Giardia and viruses, but in dilute solution, it becomes awkward to use because such a large volume must be carried. Therefore, it would not be a good choice for backpacking.



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QUESTION #5: Will boiling my water also disinfect it?



ANSWER: One way to disinfect water is simply to heat it to 150° F (66° C) or to onset of boiling. The temperature at which water boils changes with the change in atmospheric pressure. Thus, the higher you are from sea level, the longer it will take for your water to boil and, consequently, more fuel will be required. The extra fuel needed may be a problem on long trips or where fuel is not available.

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QUESTION #6: What are the uses of POLAR PURE?

ANSWER: Some of the recommended uses of Polar Pure are:
  • Backpacking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Water sports
  • Bicycling
  • Foreign travel
  • Hunting and fishing trips
  • Home and car emergency kits.
The small size and easy use make it the choice of many outdoors enthusiasts and those concerned with emergency preparedness.

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QUESTION #7: How long do I treat very cold water (35° F for example)?

ANSWER: Lower temperature water treatment times have not been determined for EPA approval at this time for any chemical water disinfectant products. Our suggestion is to warm the water to be treated to 68° F if possible. When camping in cold conditions, water to be treated can be warmed by keeping the bottle close to your body, either in your jacket or sleeping bag.

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QUESTION #8: Should I use a coffee filter to get out the "big stuff" before disinfecting my water with Polar Pure?

ANSWER: The use of a coffee filter, or light fabric (which is reusable) or any other filter medium as a pre-filter before disinfecting water with Polar Pure is a good idea. This removes large organic particles (leaves, bugs, etc.) from the water, thereby increasing the efficiency of Polar Pure.

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QUESTION #9: Should I keep water in my Polar Pure bottle during the "off" season or between uses?

ANSWER: It is a good idea to keep water in your Polar Pure bottle when not in use so that it is ready when you need it. Keep tightly capped and prevent the bottle contents from freezing. A full bottle of Polar Pure may break if frozen due to expansion of the liquid. It is not a problem to empty the bottle if you prefer, just keep it tightly capped -- some liquid will be retained in the bottle.

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QUESTION #10: Can I disinfect more than one quart or liter of water at a time?

ANSWER: One filled bottle of Polar Pure is capable of treating between two and six quarts of water at one time before refilling. The amount of Polar Pure needed varies with solution temperature. Warmer solution will have a higher concentration of iodine (higher saturation) so fewer capfuls will be required per quart / liter.

One way to maximize the use of the saturated solution is to warm the bottle of Polar Pure. This can be achieved by placing the bottle in a dry, sunny spot prior to use. Submerging the Polar Pure bottle in water (warm or cold) is not advised.

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QUESTION #11:What is the shelf life of Polar Pure?

ANSWER: Polar Pure uses pure elemental iodine which has an indefinite shelf life. It does not degrade with time or temperature if kept in a tightly sealed container. The iodine in your Polar Pure bottle will sublimate (vaporize) if the bottle is left open. Be sure that your bottle is tightly capped between uses. Iodine complexes -- tetraglycine hydroperiodide tablets -- are sold under various names (Globaline, Potable Aqua) are convenient and effective when fresh but degrade on air exposure; tablets should be discarded 3 months after opening the bottle. Polar Pure will produce a saturated solution capable of disinfecting your water as long as you can see iodine crystals in your bottle.

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QUESTION #12:Should the water used to fill the Polar Pure solution bottle be treated water or can it be from a pond or creek?

ANSWER: Water to fill your Polar Pure bottle can be from a pond, creek or from your bottle of treated water. The pond or creek water will be purified by the Polar Pure solution in it's bottle.

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QUESTION #13:Should the water to be treated be the same temperature as the Polar Pure solution?

ANSWER: The amount of solution required to treat your drinking water is determined by the temperature of the solution in your Polar Pure bottle. The amount required corresponds with the green dot on the dosage table on the side of the Polar Pure bottle. The temperature of the water to be disinfected does not need to be the same as the Polar Pure solution temperature. Please remember that the temperature of the water to be disinfected effects treatment time. See question #7 for details.

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QUESTION #14:Why does Polar Pure come in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles?

ANSWER: Using a plastic bottle instead of glass is practical in that it is not as easily broken if dropped. However, Polar Pure has an indefinite shelf life. Using a glass bottle is the only way we can be sure that the printed instructions and Polar Pure identification will not rub off as it would if printed on a plastic bottle. The printing on the glass bottle is permanent. The printing on a plastic bottle would rub off long before anyone ever used up all of the iodine in the bottle. This is one of the reasons we use glass.

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QUESTION #15: I have had my bottle of Polar Pure for 3 years. Is it still safe and effective to use?

ANSWER: Polar Pure has an indefinite shelf life. As long as you can see iodine crystals in the bottom of your Polar Pure bottle, it is safe and fully effective to use. It will never "go bad".

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QUESTION #16: Is Polar Pure harmed by freezing?

ANSWER: The effectiveness of Polar Pure is not effected by freezing. However, once filled with water, it is important to protect the bottle from freezing. The bottle could break due to expansion of the liquid when frozen. If you are hiking in freezing conditions, keep your bottle of Polar Pure in an inside pocket close to your body or with you in your sleeping bag. Store your bottle of Polar Pure where it will not freeze between uses. You may empty the bottle between uses if you prefer but it is best to have it filled and ready to use when needed. Some liquid will be retained in the bottle.



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QUESTION #17: Will Polar Pure take care of chemical contamination such as fertilizer runoff, pesticides, etc.?

ANSWER: Polar Pure or any other chemical water disinfectant will NOT be effective in the event of chemical contamination or fertilizer runoff. A filter may be necessary for these conditions. All filters should indicate whether they are suitable for chemical contamination.

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QUESTION #18: Will Polar Pure kill cryptosporidium?

ANSWER: At this time, we cannot say if Polar pure kills cryptosporidium. So far, no chemical water disinfectants (including Polar Pure, Potable Aqua etc.) have been tested by EPA for their effectiveness against cryptosporidium.

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QUESTION #19: Do you have a chart that shows solution temperature and the necessary number of capfuls of Polar Pure needed to treat my bottle of water?

ANSWER: Please refer to our dosage chart for solution temperature vs. required capfuls of Polar Pure needed to disinfect your quart/liter bottle of water. Dosage Table

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