Survival Still, Emergency Drinking Water System Survival Still Emergency Water Purification System Wed, 19 Apr 2017 20:58:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Be Prepared? Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:41:56 +0000  

Why is it a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected?

It’s my belief that, for the sake of your family, you should be prepared for the unexpected. Not out of fear, but out of an awareness that the systems that we all take for granted could fail.

We live in an extremely fine-tuned, specialized and interconnected world. This is our strength and our weakness. Here’s what I mean…

FINE-TUNED: Businesses have become extremely efficient. It doesn’t make sense for themsurvival still to keep a lot of inventory. You’ve heard of “just-in-time” inventory? Grocery stores, for example, don’t keep much inventory on hand. For the most part, what you see on the shelves is what they have. The computers simply have the products delivered at the exact time it’s needed. This is great for the grocery store’s profitability, but if there is a problem that prevents the trucks from delivering the food, the shelves will go bare in a day or two. So what could prevent trucks from delivering the food? A cyber-attack on computer systems, a black out, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster, interruption to gasoline supplies, civil disruption, war, terrorism, and countless other events.

emergency waterSPECIALIZED: Do you have a garden? Do you own chickens? Are you able to cut your own wood and heat your house if the power goes out? No? Don’t feel bad. In our modern world, it’s extremely inefficient to spend your time on the basics of living. Instead, we each have specialized skills and we simply buy the basics of life. By specializing, we are able to earn much more money and have an easier (but not necessarily better) life. This specialization comes at a cost though. We have become COMPLETELY dependent upon the systems that provide us with the basics of life. This is why it’s estimated that more than 90% of people in the US could die if there was a massive, long-term power outage. We simply don’t have the skills to survive without our support systems.

Lights out Ted KoppelINTERCONNECTED: It’s absolutely amazing how interconnected the world is now. If it’s winter in Minneapolis, no problem, just go to the grocery store and buy blueberries from Chile. A shark attack happens in Australia? You could learn about it before it’s even reported on the news. Flip your light switch, and the electricity lighting your bulb came from a coal from a mine in Wyoming, that was transported by train to a power plant in Nebraska and the electricity traveled to your house in thousands of miles of high-voltage power lines. Another way we are connected though is by emergency response. If a tornado hits an Oklahoma town, emergency response comes immediately from all of the surrounding towns and States. But if, for example, a massive power outage were to take out half of the USA, it would be extremely difficult for the rest of the USA to help the affected areas.

ON TOP OF THESE THREE POINTS, consider the current state of the world. Our world is over stressed in every way. You feel it. I think everyone feels it. It’s like rubber bands that are stretched to their limit, about to snap.

  • North Korea is a very dangerous situation. It’s on the brink, and everyone acknowledges that we are dealing with a crazy person – a crazy person who has nukes.preparedness
  • Our tensions with Russia are at an all-time high. Some consider us closer to a major direct conflict with them than even during the Cold War.
  • The US military has been spread way too thin and it’s been trying to do way too much. Our people are tired, our equipment is getting old, and our commitments and entanglements are increasing.
  • The USA is so deep in the debt hole that there is no coming out of it. A collapse of the dollar seems imminent.
  • And on a personal level, people are in debt and struggling to make ends meet.

Like I said, tensions are very high. Rubber bands are stretched to the breaking point. And something could happen.

Again, I’m not encouraging fear, just awareness. We live in an amazing world, but it’s a fragile and tense world. It makes sense to be prepared if something were to happen.survival water distiller

The next question is, “How Prepared Should I Be?”. That will be my next article, but for now, take care of the basics; water, shelter, self-protection and food.

One of the most important things is water. We completely take water safety for granted, but if our water system fails, due to a cyber-attack or massive black out, your water can quickly become dangerously contaminated. The Survival Still is the number one product you should own in order to be prepared for an emergency.

Please share this article with your loved ones!

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What You Need To Know About “Boil Notice Alerts” Sat, 08 Apr 2017 18:47:53 +0000 boil notice

Today I wanted to discuss a particular type of water emergency; a “boil notice” or “boil alert notification”. These notifications happen quite often around the USA (see a recent one here). But there is a very important point that they never tell you. You need to understand what it is.

First, what is a “boil alert notification”? When the water flowing to your tap contains, or is suspected to contain a biological contaminant, such as E. coli, the municipal water company will often (not always) tell you to boil the water before you consume it. Boiling the water will kill biological contaminants, thus eliminating that danger.

It’s important to keep in mind that creating an infrastructure that provides us with biologically safe tap water was a HUGE step forward for public safety. And it’s something that we completely take for granted.

Sometimes however, something goes wrong and biological contaminants pass through the pipes to our faucets, which puts us at risk. The largest such event to happen in recent times was the cryptosporidium outbreak that hit Milwaukee in 1993. Over 400,000 people became ill and over 100 died as a result.

Biological outbreaks can be very dangerous for a few reasons. First, biological contaminants are obviously living organisms, which means that they can grow and multiply. So a few can quickly become many. Second, biological contaminants can make you extremely ill within a matter of days.

But there is one extremely important point that no one ever tells you regarding boil alerts: if you have a filter or reverse osmosis system, your filter (or membrane) is now contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria. This can be a very serious situation, because the bacteria can become trapped in the filter, but it’s not yet dead. It can grow and multiply, and it can actually grow through your filter and cause a breach. In fact, if bacteria get trapped in your RO System or filter, then grow and multiply, they can then be released into your water in amounts higher than during the actual boil alert event.

Your filter or RO System could be contaminated with bacteria right now without you knowing it. If you’ve ever removed your filter and saw a green or black slime on it, you have a bacteria colony growing on your filter. This could be a reason for mystery illnesses in your family.

So what to do? If you have a filter or RO System and there has been a boil notice, you need to…
1) stop using your filter or RO System immediately until after the danger has passed,
2) remove the filter/membrane and then thoroughly disinfect the system and the lines in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions,
3) after the danger has passed and the system and the lines have been disinfected, replace the filter.

home water distillerAlternatively, instead of using filters or reverse osmosis systems, you could install a good water distiller in your home. This is what I do. Water distillers provide the highest level of protection against the full range of contaminants, including biological contaminants. If you are using a good water distiller, you don’t need to worry about boil notices.

I recommend these water distillers, which are made by my father’s company. Of course, the Survival Still will provide the highest level of protection against biological contaminants too. The difference between the Survival Still and an automated distiller is…

  • The Survival Still is non-electric and can be used with any heat source. It’s specifically designed for emergency situations. It can be used every day if you want to, but remember that it’s not designed for convenience – it’s designed for reliability in any situation. Check out the Survival Still here.
  • The AquaNui Distillers are electric appliances, so they are effective and convenient. They do require electricity to operate, obviously. Check out the AquaNui distillers here.


Also see these articles…

The Best Way To Remove Lead From My Water

Should I Drink Distilled Water Everyday?

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Get Your Priorities Straight! Sat, 11 Mar 2017 02:12:12 +0000  

survival stillEvery once and a while someone will question one of my recommendations. Let me give you a few examples…

“I don’t want to buy bottled water because plastic is bad for you.”

“Why do you recommend chlorine for treating water in an emergency? It’s poisonous!”

“Why not just use a UV light to purify the water? It’s easier and can do a whole gallon in a few minutes.”


Face it, you are spoiled. So am I. We have such tremendous infrastructure and it makes our life so easy. We go through life never having to think about the safety of our water. You never have to think about basic survival.

You have lived your entire lives this way, so of course you don’t think about it.

But if the power goes out for an extended period of time or an earthquake strikes; if the infrastructure fails, and you aren’t able to get safe drinking water, and you’re not able to get medicine or medical assistance, your world has changed. Ready or not, you are now in survival mode, and the first thing you have to do is change how you think, especially when it comes to water.

Contaminated water can debilitate you or even kill you within days. Chemicals can be released in large amounts into your water supply. And bacteria can grow exponentially fast.

Your new priority is drinking water safety. Don’t assume that the water coming from your tap is safe, even if it looks clear and smells fine.

If you used to be picky about drinking only alkaline water, or water that was super oxygenated, or clustered, or harmonically balanced, FORGET ALL OF THIS STUFF. Safety is the only thing that matters.

Your bottled water is worth gold. More than gold! (Hopefully you’ve stockpiled a 2 week supply!)

And chlorine? Chlorine is your friend. It will save your life.

And your Survival Still? Absolutely the most important survival tool you have.

There is a reason that the Red Cross and FEMA don’t include filters and UV lights as part of their core recommendations for treating water in an emergency; you can’t rely on them.

So when an emergency strikes…
1)    Change your priorities!
2)    Remember the Red Cross Recommendations.
3)    Don’t assume your water is safe.
4)    Boil, chlorinate or distill your water before drinking it!

Remember these points, and you will be able to keep your family safe!

And one final reminder, it’s a heck of a lot easier to deal with such situations if you are prepared BEFORE the emergency happens.


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The Hierarchy of Water Needs Mon, 06 Feb 2017 21:02:41 +0000  

A very important point to understand about purifying water in an emergency is that you don’t have to purify all of your water to the same degree. I call this the “Hierarchy of Water Needs”.

Think about the different uses for water…
non-electric water distillerAt the top of the list is drinking water for infants, newborns, young children, the elderly and immune compromised people. Do you remember the cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993? Over 100 people died from that incident, and most of the deaths were the very young, the elderly or people with compromised immune systems. Use only the highest purity water with absolute certainty of biological protection, or in other words, use distilled water or a large name bottled water, such as SmartWater or AquaFina. Avoid other types of water if at all possible.

Also at the top of the list is water for medical purposes. See the previous recommendations regarding water quality.

Next, and still extremely important, is drinking water for adults. It’s very important that you protect yourself from the different types of contaminants that can be in your water. This is especially true in an emergency situation, because the infrastructure that keeps us safe can fail in an emergency, possibly allowing dangerous levels of biological, chemical and even radioactive contaminants in the water. Again, you should use distilled water or bottled water. If your source water seems to be quite clean and there are no chemicals or heavy metals in the water, you may be able to drink water that has been properly boiled or chlorinated, according to the Red Cross recommendations.

emergency waterWater for cooking is also important. If you are cooking soup, pasta or vegetables directly in water, this water will end up being consumed, so take care to have good quality water. Of course, always start with the cleanest water available and as long as there are no chemicals or heavy metals in the water, prolonged boiling may be sufficient. If you are worried about the quality of your source water, you can filter the water first, with a good filter, such as a Berkey or Katadyne, or use distilled or bottled water.

Next comes water for hygiene purposes. It’s important to wash your hands and other parts of your anatomy in order to keep clean and not spread germs. It’s very important to use chlorine in this instance, because chlorine has a residual disinfection effect. Start with the best water you have available, filter it or even boil it if needed, and then add chlorine to the water in accordance to the Red Cross recommendation.

Water for cleaning surfaces. Cleaning tables, dishes, cutlery, toilets, etc is also very important, because you may find yourself in unsanitary conditions (toilets don’t flush). In this case you want to use chlorinated water, but since you aren’t consuming this water you will be able to use a higher concentration of chlorine in this water. I recommend these guidelines.

To produce distilled water in an emergency, I recommend the Survival Still.

Click here to see my advice on bottled water.

I recommend that you print this article out for your records.

Glenn Meder

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Water and Your Child’s Health Sat, 14 Jan 2017 01:42:57 +0000  

Today I want to talk about the single most important issue when it comes to water purity; children’s health. I think you will agree that there is nothing more important than protecting your child from potentially dangerous toxins. children lead in the water

One way that some children ingest toxins is simply by consuming city water because many water systems across the country have been found to contain harmful chemicals. Unfortunately it’s very hard to get accurate information, so hopefully this article will help you.

While it’s important for people of all ages to avoid chemicals, it’s especially important for infants and children. The fact is that children and infants are more susceptible to harmful contaminants that could be found in tap water. Here’s why…

GREATER EXPOSURE: Infants and children consume more than twice as much water for their size as adults do, which means that their exposure to contaminants in water is considerably greater.

LOWER BODY MASS: Children and infants have a much lower body mass, which means that toxins build up in their bodies faster.

UNDEVELOPED IMMUNE SYSTEM: Children’s immune systems are not as developed as adults so they don’t have strong defenses against contaminants. Contamination outbreaks are considerably more dangerous for children than for adults.

STILL DEVELOPING: Unlike adults, children’s bodies and brains are still going through critical developmental stages. Many chemicals have been linked to developmental problems that interfere with critical growth stages.

EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS: Even small amounts of contaminants are now thought to be dangerous to children and can be a real factor in long-term illnesses.

I want to start with a quote from a report published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “the contaminants in drinking water are quite varied and can cause a range of diseases in children, including cancer, developmental effects such as learning disorders, and acute diseases such as gastrointestinal illness.”

Sounds bad, but fairly vague, so let’s get into a real-life example…

FLINT, MI.lead in the water children
The lead in the water in Flint, MI is probably still in everyone’s mind. There was a lot of hype about this incident. It was headline news for weeks and there was a very political town hall meeting on MSNBC.

Lead is just one of the many, many potential contaminants that can be in water of course, but it’s a great example of how dangerous toxins can be. Lead is bad. And yes, lead is dangerous to everyone, even adults, but it’s especially dangerous to children, infants and unborn babies.

Even at small doses, lead can interfere with brain development in children, reduce IQ, and cause attention disorders and learning disabilities. And this damage is irreversible!

The families in Flint, MI did nothing wrong. They were simply living their lives, and then one day they found out that they had been poisoned for the past year. A number of children were found to have lead poisoning. For those families, this is a tragedy.

But I want you to think about the good side of this event. At least they learned about it. They were able to change water sources and children born since that time were given different water to drink. The real tragedy is that there are many people and children who drink water contaminated with lead or other toxins every day, and they never learn about it. So the problem compounds and continues when it doesn’t have to.

After the Flint, MI tragedy, USA Today did an investigation and published an article that reported, “While a harsh national spotlight focuses on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich., a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation has identified almost 2,000 additional water systems spanning all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years”.

The article went on to say, “The water systems…collectively supply water to 6 million people…Many of the highest reported lead levels were found at schools and day cares. A water sample at a Maine elementary school was 42 times higher than the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion, while a Pennsylvania preschool was 14 times higher, records show. At an elementary school in Ithaca, N.Y., one sample tested this year at a stunning 5,000 ppb of lead, the EPA’s threshold for “hazardous waste.

These are shocking numbers. Think about the children who are having their lives permanently altered, and they don’t know it.

You don’t. Nor does the government. You can get your water tested, but remember that a test is just a snapshot in time. In Flint, MI the water was good one day and the next day it wasn’t. The other thing to realize is that a test won’t test for every different possible toxin.

What I’ve talked about until now is everyday drinking water contamination. But it’s also important to think about emergency situations, such as an earthquake, hurricane or long-term power outage. In such situations, water contamination can be much more serious because the infrastructure may fail, and tap water can be contaminated with sewage water, which can result in dangerously high bacteria levels. But an emergency situation can also cause chemical pipelines and storage tanks to rupture, thus releasing large amounts of these chemicals into the environment. This is a very dangerous situation, and again, children are at a higher risk.

The good news about an emergency situation, is that many times it’s obvious when it occurs so you have warning about taking extra precautions (as long as you’ve prepared and have a way to provide your family with safe drinking water).

The answer is simple, make sure that all of the water that your child consumes is as pure as possible. How do you do this?

Well first, it’s obvious that simply trusting in the government to provide you with safe drinking water is not the answer. This is what most people do though.

The second option is to use a filter or reverse osmosis. The fact is however, that filters and reverse osmosis are simply not able to provide effective protection against chemicals and other contaminants such as lead in the water. Filters and reverse osmosis systems produce variable and temporary results, you never know what you are getting out of them, and they are not recommended by the Red Cross or FEMA for use in an emergency situation.

emergency waterThird, and the best solution by far is a well constructed water distiller. Distillation, unlike filters, produces consistent results on the broadest range of contaminants. This means that, except in extreme cases, you don’t need to get your water tested before you install a distiller. Distillation is the single best method for purifying water that there is, it’s the gold-standard for water purity and it’s recommended by top doctors and nutritionists such as the bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil. In addition, distillation is even recommended by the Red Cross and FEMA for use on dangerously contaminated water For everyday drinking water, I recommend and use AquaNui Distillers. I can’t recommend them enough.

As a final note, for emergency situations, everyone should have a Survival Still. It is the most effective emergency water distiller on the planet.

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A Clarification of My Position on Bottled Water Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:11:33 +0000 emergency bottled water
One of my core recommendations for being prepared for a water emergency is to have an adequate supply of bottled water on hand. Bottled water is very important, for reasons I will share. But every time I recommend bottled water I inevitably get some people who respond and proclaim that bottled water is the devil and I must be getting money from the bottled water industry for promoting them. I also hear from people who don’t like their water coming in contact with plastic, and there are other people who complain about the brands that I recommend.

I want to set the record straight and cut through any issues you may have with bottled water. And also, before we go any further I want to say that no, I don’t receive any money from the bottled water industry. So with that out of the way, here’s what you need to know.

In brief, I recommend that you store one gallon per day per person for at least fifteen days. I recommend the small, half-liter plastic bottles and my preference is AquaFina brand. To see my specific recommendations, go here.

Bottled water is quick, easy and reliable. It’s a great way to store water, distribute water and keep an inventory of how much water you have on hand. Bottled water is hugely important when you need to focus on urgent issues and you don’t have time to produce your own safe water. For example, let’s say there is a massive earthquake, roads are blocked and you have to get your children from the daycare center that is two miles away, while your husband has to help a neighbor who is injured. In such a scenario, you don’t even want to think about producing water. You just want to grab what you need so you can stay focused.

If an emergency strikes and our infrastructure fails, the rules of the game of life have suddenly changed. You MUST change your priorities and adapt to your new situation quickly, and if you don’t you will be putting your family’s lives at risk. Let me give you three examples…

  1. If the grocery store is stripped bare and your options for food at greatly limited, are you going to stick to buying only organic apples, or would you settle for regular apples?
  2. If there is a two hour wait for gasoline at your local gas station, are you going to insist on only buying premium octane gasoline, or would you settle for whatever octane you can get?
  3. For this third example, let’s say you are in India, amid the tremendous crowds of people who live in poverty and with minimal infrastructure. In this situation, are you going to stick to your guns and drink the water coming from the tap because bottled water is bad for the environment, or would you drink bottled water?

If you complain to me about what brand of water I recommend or if you insist that you don’t want to contribute to the environmental pollution of bottled water, or if you don’t want to use plastic, you are not properly adjusting your thinking to the reality of a life or death emergency situation. You are focused on 1st World problems. Think about Hurricane Katrina. The people of New Orleans were thrust into a situation in which the water was as bad as the worst 3rd World country.

I recommend AquaFina brand of bottled water, because it’s good water, they have good quality control procedures, it’s cheap and it’s widely available. You can use any well-known brand of bottled water though.

Last time I sent out an email recommending AquaFina, I received an article from someone that called AquaFina a scam because it’s just purified tap water. Ok, let’s get something straight. Water is water; the only difference between different types of water is the contaminants that are in the water. The water you are consuming now, may very well have been consumed by another person before. Yes, that means that it went into their body and was expelled through sweat, urine or feces – and now you are drinking it! In fact, depending upon where you live, the water in your body could have been in someone else’s body last week.

But that’s Ok, because that is how our world works. Water circulates. It’s constantly in motion. What you need to be concerned with is, “is the water safe and pure?”

People who call bottled water a scam because it’s just purified tap water don’t know anything about water.

Plastic is good for our purpose. We want to have a supply of safe, high-purity water for a long time – and plastic does a good job at this. Yes, high-quality glass would be the most inert material for coming in contact with your water, but glass is completely impractical for an emergency situation because it’s heavy and surprise, it breaks! Plastic bottles are the way to go for an emergency.

Understand that my recommendations are based on what you should do in an emergency situation. For your everyday life you can be concerned about the environment and potential endocrine disrupters from plastic, but in an emergency you need to keep your priorities straight.

Yes, bottled water should be a key part of your preparedness plans.

Yes, AquaFina is a good brand for our purposes, but by all means choose your favorite brand of bottled water.

No, bottled water is not a complete solution for being prepared. You also need a means to purify your own water. The Survival Still is the best option for purifying potentially dangerously contaminated water.

I hope this article was helpful for you. Leave comment below if you have questions.

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Don’t I Need Minerals In My Water? Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:38:40 +0000  

distilled waterOne of the most common questions I receive is, “Don’t I need minerals in my water?” This a persistent water myth, but if you look at it rationally, it’s easy to discover the truth of the matter.

First, it’s important to look at this question from two scenarios; 1) an emergency situation, and 2) everyday life.

In an emergency situation it’s very important that you ONLY consider one aspect; the safety of your water. All other factors are irrelevant. So, when you are in an emergency situation, follow the Red Cross recommendations, or go beyond these recommendations by using a water distiller to purify your water. In an emergency situation, don’t worry about whether your water has minerals, if it has the right pH, whether it’s clustered, super-oxygenated, harmonic, or whatever else someone is selling. It’s all about safety, and if anyone says anything else, don’t listen to them ever again.

Now that I made that point crystal clear, let’s move on to drinking water for everyday life. Do you need minerals in your drinking water?

No. Water is the most important substance you put into your body. It allows you to regulate your temperature, it transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell, it removes toxins, aids in digestion, is a key for every chemical reaction and electrical signal in your body and countless other functions. Being a source for minerals is not one of the functions of water.

So let’s break it down…

Hydro1)    The Minerals In Water Are Not Bioavailable. In other words, the minerals found in water are not in a form that’s useable by the body. To understand this, let’s look at how minerals get into water in the first place. Pure rain water falls to the ground and dissolves the rock and metals it comes in contact with, thus the minerals found in water are simply dissolved dirt and soil. Humans and animals can’t get nutritional minerals directly from the soil, but rather we get our minerals from plants, or from eating animals that have eaten the plants. For example, you and I are not able to go in the back yard and suck on a rock of calcium and get the calcium that our body needs in this way. Plants do, however, get the minerals that they need directly from the soil, and then they transform these minerals into a “bioavailable” form, which means that they can be used by your body. This is why Dr. Andrew Weil says, “We get our minerals from food, not water.” So, eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and meats to get the right minerals for your body. If you want to supplement your diet, buy a high-quality mineral supplement that says that the minerals are in the chelated form.

2)    There Can Be Harmful Minerals In Water. All minerals are not good for you. There are many parts of the country that have high levels of arsenic or nitrates, which have both been linked to many different forms of cancer. In addition, cities often add fluoride and other contaminants to the water.

3)    There Can Be Other Harmful Chemicals In Water. The minerals in water are often mixed with other chemicals. There are over 85,000 chemicals recognized by the EPA, and an alarming amount have been found in water supplies across the US. Remember that when the government says that your water is “safe” to drink, they are using the LEGAL definition of the word “safe”, not the English language definition (it’s funny that they don’t tell you about this important distinction). So even if you could get good minerals from water, it would be like dropping a vitamin on the ground and getting it all dirty before you take it. You simply don’t know what other bad stuff is in the water.

4)    The Quantities Are Too Small. Anyone who still thinks that they want minerals in their water has to consider that they would have to drink a ridiculous amount of water to get anywhere close to the recommended Dietary Allowance of minerals in their diet. If you live in Boston, for example, you’d have to drink over 650 glasses of water each day just to meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance. This view is backed up by The American Medical Journal that states, “The body’s need for minerals is largely met through foods, not drinking water.”

To summarize this, your body needs plenty of clean water. The best way to get consistently clean water is via a well-designed and properly constructed water distiller. I recommend two different distillers. For emergencies, I recommend the Survival Still. For everyday use I recommend the AquaNui brand of water distillers.

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What Happens If You Go Without Water? Tue, 21 Jun 2016 21:00:31 +0000  

This is an entertaining short video from the guys at SciShow about the importance of water in your body. Please watch!

(No, that is not me on the video. )



Disasters happen. If the power goes out in your city for an extended period of time, your tap water could be dangerously contaminated for a long time. Without a supply of safe drinking water you can quickly become ill and not be able to protect and provide for your family when they need it most. The Survival Still can save your family, if you own one BEFORE an emergency happens!

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What is the Difference Between Pasteurization, Boiling and Distillation? Fri, 17 Jun 2016 21:02:26 +0000  

There is discussion on the internet about pasteurization of water in an emergency situation. In this article I want to clear up any confusion between boiling and pasteurization, because they are not the same thing, and I want to compare both methods to distillation.

Water boiling

Water boiling in a clear glass pot.

Let’s start by comparing boiling and pasteurization. While there are some similarities, they are not at all the same. One similarity is that they both involve heating water, but the difference is the temperature to which water is heated and the length of time it is held at a specific temperature.

Mankind has been boiling substances much longer than we have been pasteurizing substances. To my knowledge, no one person has been given credit for discovering the process of boiling though many have studied it. Let’s just give credit to early man or God since there are some examples of boiling in nature. The process of pasteurization, on the other hand, is named after a famous French Chemist, Louis Pasteur. He did much of his research pasteurizing wine and is also famous for anthrax and many other germ-related research. He is the one most responsible for the germ theory for infectious disease.

We shall continue here by defining the word boiling. According to Wikipedia, boiling is defined as the process of heating a liquid substance until there is a rapid vaporization of a liquid. This occurs when a liquid is heated to a specific temperature referred to its boiling point. At this temperature, the vapor pressure (tendency to evaporate) of the liquid is equal to the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere to not evaporate.

When the pressure exerted on the liquid is decreased, such as is the case at higher altitudes, the boiling point is lower. Example: Water boils at a lower temperature in Denver than it does at sea level. When the pressure exerted on the liquid is increased, as is the case in lower altitudes such as in Death Valley, the boiling point is higher. In other words, the boiling point of a water and any other liquids much be defined at a specific atmospheric pressure. For standardization purposes this is usually defined as 760 millimeters of pressure on the metric barometric scale or 30.0 inches of mercury on the English barometric scale. This is referred to as standard pressure.

It is quite fascinating to carefully observe the side view of water boiling. As the water warms up, tiny bubbles of steam will begin forming at the bottom of the flask (closest to the heat source.) The size of the bubbles increases as the bubbles rise and eventually burst at the surface to release the invisible steam. Faster and faster it goes until big bubbles are forming and bursting simultaneously at the surface of the water. In other words, it is boiling! Tada!

There are actually three types of boiling. The first is called nucleate boiling, as was just described above. This is where small bubbles of vapor form at discrete points. The second type is critical heat flux boiling where the boiling surface is heated above a certain critical temperature and a film of vapor forms on the surface. Transition boiling is an intermediate, unstable form of boiling with elements of both of the two main types. The boiling point of water at sea level is 100 °C (Celsius) or 212 F° (Fahrenheit), but as was stated earlier, is lower with the decreased atmospheric pressure found at higher altitudes.

Boiling water is a very useful method for making water sterile and therefore more potable. It does this by killing virtually every microbe that may be present. Because the sensitivity of different micro-organisms to heat varies, it is possible to kill many, but not all germs or organisms by heating water to 70 degrees C (158 Fahrenheit) and holding it there for ten minutes. This is defined to as Pasteurization of water.

The process of pasteurization does destroy some biological contaminants but it does not remove them. It also evaporates some gases and liquids with low boiling points but it, like boiling, concentrates some of the inorganic chemicals such as heavy metals and nitrates. Here is a big one…pasteurization does virtually nothing to deal with viruses.

Pasteurization is a very useful process for substances other than water. It most commonly applied to milk, beer and other alcoholic beverages, vinegar, eggs, even almonds are sometimes pasteurized as well as several other food products. Pasteurization is not guesswork however. There are specific procedures and temperatures involved for each product.

survival stillPasteurization of water is a step in the right direction but it is simply not adequate treatment for most tap water today and here is yet another reason why. Some micro-organisms are more resistant to heat and require heating for at least one minute at the boiling point of water. The destruction of viruses requires the boiling of water for at least 20 minutes! Clostridium spores can even survive this treatment, but because this infection is caused a microbe in milk and is not water-borne, this is not a water problem. (Fortunately there are antibiotics that kill clostridium spores.)

I want to mention two more significant differences between pasteurization and boiling. First, and this is a significant point, boiling is recommended by FEMA and the Red Cross for treating biologically contaminated water in an emergency while pasteurization is not. Second, from a more practical perspective, it’s much easier to tell when water is boiling than to take it through the pasteurization process.

One of the problems of both boiling and pasteurization is that while these processes can kill biological contaminants, other types of contaminants such as chemicals and metals such as lead will actually become concentrated in the boiling water. Why is this?

Survival StillSimple. The steam is pure water, and it’s leaving. Which means that the water that remains in the boiling pot gets increasingly contaminated with inorganic and most organic contaminants. This brings us to distillation, because in distillation we are boiling the water and then capturing the pure steam and then cooling it back down into high-purity, liquid water. So, in effect, distillation is the opposite of boiling water, because the boiling water actually is what we want to throw away.

The process of distillation (assuming that the distiller is designed properly) is the single most effective water treatment process that there is. This is why the Survival Still is the best emergency water purifier on the market today.

In summary, if you are only concerned with biological contaminants in water, boiling is an effective method and is definitely better than pasteurization. I recommend that you simply drop pasteurization of water from your thought process. Definitely the best process is distillation.

I recommend the AquaNui Brand of water distillers for everyday drinking water, and the the Survival Still water distiller for emergency situations, or any other off-grid situation.

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The Truth About Alkaline Water Tue, 05 Apr 2016 20:42:55 +0000  

alkaline waterOne of the most well traveled water myths is that of alkaline water and its supposed health benefits. These claims are based on pseudoscience and are not based on facts or science.

I want to first focus on the facts, then I will answer “why” this myth is so persistent and finally, my recommendations.


I want to encourage you to read Dr. Stephen Lower’s website “The gallery of water-related pseudoscience and quackery”. Dr. Lower (a retired chemistry professor of Simon Frasier University) looks at the countless claims made by people selling water and tries to cut through the huge amount of misinformation that is out there.

Here’s a short snippet of what he has to say about alkaline water (see his full analysis here)…

Here, in a nutshell, are a few basic facts that I believe anyone with a solid background in chemistry or physiology would concur with:

  • “Ionized water” is nothing more than sales fiction; the term is meaningless to chemists.
  • Pure water (that is, water containing no dissolved ions) is too unconductive to undergo signficant electrolysis by “water ionizer” devices.
  • Pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis. Alkaline water must contain metallic ions of some kind — most commonly, sodium, calcium or magnesium.
  • The idea that one must consume alkaline water to neutralize the effects of acidic foods is ridiculous; we get rid of excess acid by exhaling carbon dioxide.
  • If you do drink alkaline water, its alkalinity is quickly removed by the highly acidic gastric fluid in the stomach.
  • Uptake of water occurs mainly in the intestine, not in the stomach. But when stomach contents enter the intestine, they are neutralized and made alkaline by the pancreatic secretions — so all the water you drink eventually becomes alkaline anyway.
  • The claims about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water are not supported by credible scientific evidence.
  • “Ionized”/alkaline water is falsely claimed to be an anti-oxidant. It is actually an oxidizing agent, as can be seen by its ability to decolorize iodine (see video)
  • There is nothing wrong with drinking slightly acidic waters such as rainwater. “Body pH” is a meaningless concept; different parts of the body (and even of individual cells) can have widely different pH values. The pH of drinking water has zero effect on that of the blood or of the body’s cells.
  • If you really want to de-acidify your stomach (at the possible cost of interfering with protein digestion), why spend hundreds of dollars for an electrolysis device when you can take calcium-magnesium pills, Alka-Seltzer or Milk of Magnesia?
  • Electrolysis devices are generally worthless for treating water for health enhancement, removal of common impurities, disinfection, and scale control. Claims that “ionized” waters are antioxidants are untrue; hypochlorites (present in most such waters) are in fact oxidizing agents.

Here is another article about the myth that people can change the pH of their blood.

I want to add two more points about alkaline water. Your stomach acidity is part of your immune system. It’s your first defense against biological contaminants, such as bacteria and parasites. If you consume Tums or alkaline water, you will temporarily lower the defenses of your body and make yourself more vulnerable to these biological contaminants. This is not something that you want to do, but it’s especially important that you avoid this in an emergency situation.

Also, it’s important to understand that pure water can not be alkalized. In fact, alkalizing equipment will not work to produce their desired effect unless impurities are in the feed water. It needs inorganic impurities to conduct the electrical current that is necessary to change the pH of the water.


I believe that there are a two reasons that this myth is so persistent. First, the fact is, MANY PEOPLE WANT TO BELIEVE IN A SILVER BULLET – something that will undue years of unhealthful habits and give us an extra lease on life. This desire to believe in a silver bullet is simply human nature. I’m not making a judgment, I’m just stating that people’s desires affect their willingness to believe in something, which many people take advantage of. More than any other industry that I’ve seen (except maybe the financial industry), water has been a perfect target for snake-oil salespersons.

The second reason that people believe this myth is that alkaline water can temporarily make people feel better. What is one of the most prescribed drugs in the US? Anti-heart burn medication. Thus, taking Tums or alkaline water may help people for a short period of time, but it’s only affecting the symptom and not the underlying cause. Plus, it takes people’s focus off of what should be their primary focus – purity.


Instead of trying to find the magic bullet, I recommend that you keep your priorities straight and focus on consuming clean water. If you do your research on water contamination, you will come to realize, as I do, that the facts are pretty shocking. We live in an increasingly toxic world, and the government can’t ensure the true safety of your water. It’s up to you to ensure that your family is drinking safe, pure drinking water. The best way to do this is with a well-designed water distiller.

I recommend the AquaNui Brand of water distillers, which are made by my father’s business. Before I launched the Survival Still and started my own company, I worked with my father for over 20 years. I know that they are the best distillers on the market and that they are made in the USA by an ethical, fantastic company. I think you will find them to be quite reasonably priced, and surprisingly, even the larger automatic systems are priced lower than a professionally designed filter system.

I personally use and recommend the larger size systems, and I recommend getting a pump with the system so that you can have the water delivered directly to a separate faucet on your sink. An important thing to understand is that it’s not just about drinking pure water, but rather, everything that you CONSUME should be pure. This means that soups, coffee, tea, pasta, rice, protein drinks, and especially baby formula should be made with pure water, which is why I recommend the larger sizes.

If you want to talk to someone about the AquaNui products, call the company at 402-467-9300, extension 327 and talk to Courtney Meder (my sister) who will be able to explain anything about the products and can help you choose the right option.

Of course, I also recommend the Survival Still water distiller for emergency situations, or any other off-grid situation.

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