Beware: Don’t Drink H20 From Swimming Pools?


A reader with a swimming pool wanted to know if LifeStraw filters could be used for drinking from his pool in case of an emergency, such as an earthquake.

The filters, shaped like a drinking straw, are used in third-world countries and by hikers. They allow people to drink directly from lakes and rivers, removing 99.999 percent of bacteria and 99.9 percent of protozoa, but do not remove contaminants that are dissolved in water including chemicals (like arsenic) or salt from salt water.

According to LifeStraw’s website: The filters should not be used in areas where there is known chemical contamination and should not be used in ocean water.

They should not be used on pool water, because it is usually treated with chlorine and other chemicals. LifeStraw will only remove bacteria and waterborne parasites, not chemicals.

The News found a second company, ProSip, which manufactures “Propur” straws. The company claims the straw removes chlorine, lead, mercury, aluminum, hydrogen sulfide, arsenic, cadmium, barium, fluoride, giardia, E. coli, algae, fungus, scale and sediment.

A call was made to the company to see if the “straw” could be used to drink directly from the pool, and a spokesperson responded, “You sure could.”

Yet another source said pool or spa water should be used only if it is first boiled (disinfecting chlorine bleach is probably not an adequate safeguard by itself).

And one disaster site pointed out: “Some believe that it is safe to drink pool water and that there is no need to store potable water. This just isn’t true. Pool water is not safe to drink. Pool water should be your last choice before you dehydrate and die.”

The Palisades News cannot recommend one product over another or how to prepare, but please make sure you have adequate drinking water stored at home in case of an emergency—one gallon of water per person per day.

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