More on the Chemical Treatment of Water, Including Hydrogen Peroxide

I want to write a bit more about water purification.  Here are some guidelines on the use of calcium to treat water.  Again I want to remind you of the dangers of storing calcium hypochlorite.  Read the hazards on the labels and pay attention to them.  It is a strong oxidizer and I have seen it cause fires and explosive reactions.

Another chemical that I occasionally hear about for water treatment is hydrogen peroxide.  It is a chemical compound with many uses.  I have to admit to being a little confused by this chemical.  I have found a lot of conflicting information on the subject of storing it and using it to treat water.  It is often used in large municipal treatment plants, but in 35% solution.  At this strength, inhaling hydrogen peroxide can cause lung problems and the effect of chronic exposure to hydrogen peroxide is not yet entirely known.

Hydrogen peroxide has a shelve life, and it needs to be kept in a dark bottle that blocks out sunlight. Potency could be an issue if it has been stored for a long period.  The shelve life seems to be largely dependent on temperature and how pure the solution is.  I am not sure how you would determine this under emergency conditions.

The hydrogen peroxide that we commonly buy at the drug store is a 3% solution.  It is my understanding that 7% is the standard water treatment strength.  In the large treatment plants, they use  35% solutions, but determine its effectiveness by measuring  parts per million in the water.  I have not found a reliable method of determining how much hydrogen peroxide to use to treat your water. I have found claims that it will work in various strengths,  but nothing that I trust (including up to 1 pint of 3% per gallon of water).

At this time, I am recommending that you do not use this method as your primary method of purifying water, but it is something you may be able to try in a real emergency.  My mind is still open on the subject of using hydrogen peroxide, so if you have additional information I would like to see it and share it with others.



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2 Responses to More on the Chemical Treatment of Water, Including Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. Psyco Prepper says:

    Howard, keep your day job. Your full of it.

  2. KE4SKY says:

    This link at the Centers for Disease Control has the current recommended info on water disinfection.

    Regarding hydrogen peroxide it states:

    “Several other common products have antibacterial effects in water and are marketed in commercial products for travelers, including hydrogen peroxide, citrus juice, and potassium permanganate. None have sufficient data to recommend them for water disinfection in the field.”

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