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“According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”
The fact is, with a water temperature of 160 to 165 degrees F (74 C) it takes just half an hour for all disease causing organisms to be inactivated. At 185 degrees this is cut to just a few minutes. By the time water hits its boiling point of 212 F (100 C) – plus or minus depending upon pressure or altitude – the water is safe. Even at high altitudes the time it takes for the water to reach a rolling boil and then cool means you can safely drink it. Lacking a thermometer to measure water temperature, you only need to get your water to a rolling boil. By that point you know the water is hot enough and that the disease organisms in your water were destroyed quite some time earlier. End of story, turn off the heat. Stop wasting fuel. Let the water cool down. Your water is safe to drink!
In addition to disease caused by direct bacterial infection, some foodborne illnesses are caused by exotoxins which are excreted by the cell as the bacterium grows. Exotoxins can produce illness even when the microbes that produced them have been killed. Symptoms typically appear after 24 hours depending on the amount of toxin ingested.
Originally posted by area6
Having been in the industry myself ... I would suggest boiling for 5 minutes.
The reason is this - you are sterilizing 3 distinct components when you boil water. First, the water. Second, the container. Third, any particulates, organics, etc that may be in the water. In a survival situation that lacks basic sanitation and access to medical treatment, you don't want to take the chance.
5 minutes is a good rule of thumb because you may be in a situation where drinking cloudy water is your only option and that material could serve to insulate harmful agents, if only for a very short while.
The main goal of drinking water treatment is to remove or kill these organisms to reduce the risk of illness. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of waterborne disease, adopting a multi-barrier, source-to-tap approach to safe drinking water will reduce the numbers of microorganisms in drinking water. This approach includes the protection of source water (where possible), the use of appropriate and effective treatment methods, well-maintained distribution systems, and routine verification of drinking water safety. All drinking water supplies should be disinfected, unless specifically exempted by the responsible authority.
Originally posted by Thunderheart
I was always thought that it just has to reach a boil and you're good to go.
Originally posted by THEwTRUTH
reply to post by superman2012
that is so much help but im sticking with 5 minutes you know altitude issues