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Water Worries

November 01, 1998

This letter concerns the description of the PurLife Urban Suburban water purifier in the Sept. 13 Gear & Gadgets column ("Simpler and Safer Food on the Road"). While I am glad your writer didn't get sick while using this device on a hiking trip through Turkey, an uncontrolled study with a sample size of one obviously in no way establishes the efficacy of PurLife for purifying water. Your readers should be aware of the following:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends boiling or treatment with iodine or chlorine to make water safe to drink. The CDC specifically makes no recommendation on the use of portable filters, such as PurLife, due to the lack of independently verified data.

After I explained this to the Magellans representative, she did volunteer that in their catalog, they state that PurLife does not filter out viruses, a fact not mentioned in your article, and it is recommended to treat water with iodine before filtering in order to destroy any viruses. If one needs to disinfect with iodine anyway before using PurLife, it isn't clear to me what the value is of this device.

ED SCHOCH

Los Angeles

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