Frequently Asked Questions

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Question:  What is the difference between portable filters and Polar Pure?
Filters have become popular because they can remove pollutants from water without changing the water taste. The giaardia 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. 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 viruses.

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Question:  How long should I treat very cold water (35° F for example)?
Polar Equipment uses EPA standards to determine dosage and treatment time. Lower temperature water treatment times have not been determined by EPA for any chemical water disinfectant products at this time. We cannot recommend treatment times for water that is colder than 68° F, we can only recommend treating longer. One suggestion is to warm the water to be treated to 68° F if possible either in a sunny spot or with a camp stove (if backpacking or traveling).
EPA tests used an aqueous solution of iodine like Polar Pure as well as other chemicals and chose a treatment time of 20 minutes. EPA tested only two temperatures -- 42° F (5 ° C) and 68° F (20° C). The "kill rate" at the coldest 42° F water was 85% after 20 minutes. The "kill rate" for 68° F was 100% after 20 minutes. EPA did not test the colder water again after the 20 minutes to determine when 100% kill rate was attained.

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Question:  Should I use a coffee filter to get out the "big stuff" before disinfecting my water with Polar Pure?
The use of a coffee filter, or light fabric (which is reusable) 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:  Should I keep water in my Polar Pure bottle during the "off" season or between uses?
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 crack 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:  What is the shelf life of Polar Pure? Is there an expiration date?
Polar Pure uses pure elemental iodine which has an indefinite shelf life. There is no expiration date. It does not degrade with time or temperature if kept tightly sealed. If you do not fill your bottle of Polar Pure with water, the iodine will sublimate (vaporize) if the bottle is left open. Be sure that your bottle is tightly capped between uses. It is best to fill your bottle of Polar Pure with water and tightly cap when you receive it. 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 bottle. Polar Pure will produce a saturated solution capable of disinfecting your water for as long as you can see iodine crystals in the bottom of your Polar Pure bottle.

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Question:  Should the water to be treated be the same temperature as the Polar Pure solution?
The temperature of the solution in your Polar Pure bottle determines the amount of solution needed to disinfect your water. The amount required corresponds with the green dot on the dosage table on the side of the Polar Pure bottle to achieve the optimum treatment dosage of 4ppm (parts per million). The water to be disinfected does not need to be the same temperature as the Polar Pure solution temperature.

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

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Question:  Why does Polar Pure come in a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle?
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

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Question:  I have had my bottle of Polar Pure for 4 years. Is it still safe and effective to use?
Yes.   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:  Is Polar Pure harmed by freezing?
No.   The effectiveness of Polar Pure is not altered by freezing. However, once filled with water, it is important to protect the bottle from freezing. The bottle could crack due to expansion of the liquid inside 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 when not in use if you prefer but it is best to have it filled and ready to use.

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Question:  Will Polar Pure take care of chemical contamination such as fertilizer runoff, pesticides, etc.?
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:  Will Polar Pure kill cryptosporidium?
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:  When I disinfect my water, do I determine the number of capfuls of Polar Pure solution by the temperature of the solution or the temperature of my drinking water?
The number of capfuls of Polar Pure needed is determined by the temperature of the solution in the Polar Pure bottle. The saturation amount (concentration of iodine in solution) in the Polar Pure bottle changes with solution temperature. Warmer solution will have a higher saturation of iodine than colder solution. The green dot on the dosage chart on the Polar Pure bottle indicates the required number of capfuls per quart or liter of water to be treated. The temperature of your quart or liter of water to be treated determines the amount of time necessary for disinfection. Water that is 68° F (20° C) or warmer requires a treatment time of 20 minutes. Colder water will require a longer treatment time.

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Question:  I received my bottle of Polar Pure and was surprised to find out how very few crystals are actually in the bottle. Is this normal?
Yes this is normal. Each bottle of Polar Pure contains approximately 1 teaspoon of iodine crystals (8 grams). While this looks like a small amount, it is capable of treating up to 2000 quarts/liters of water. The average backpacker will have a bottle of Polar Pure for many years before the iodine has been depleted. As long as you can see iodine crystals in the bottom of your Polar Pure bottle, it is safe and effective to use

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Question: I purchased a bottle of Polar Pure to keep with my emergency preparedness supplies. For long term storage, should I fill the bottle with water or leave it empty?
It is best to keep your bottle filled with water and tightly capped. Iodine by nature sublimates (vaporizes) readily and vapors can even seep out of a tightly capped bottle. Filling your bottle with water will help to decrease this and your bottle of Polar Pure will be ready to use when needed. If you store your bottle in an area that might freeze, be sure to leave some space in the bottle for expansion of the liquid inside if it freezes to prevent cracking of the bottle.

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