Sep 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm #1279431
Anyone know for sure? (no guesses/speculation, please).
I called Katadyn and they're closed for the day. I have one and will be going out tomorrow in an area that **could** have mercury contaminated water. Besides the Hiker, I also have the Pocket Filter and MSR Sweetwater.
I'm fairly certain most if not all my water can come from springs, right out of the ground. If one of my filters reduced mercury though, I'd take it for a peace of mind……Sep 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm #1780148
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
It does not and cannot. Neither does most anything else available.
Don't drink that sort of water.
Activated charcoal will remove SOME ions, but there is no guarantee as to how much will be removed. Risky business.
As OP has pointed out, if the contamination level is rather low and you are only drinking a litre or two, the amount of mercury you would absorb would be very small, possibly within safe exposure guidelines. But you don't know.
In an *emergency* you could use clear water from the top, avoiding any sediments or organic matter.
Do you feel lucky?
CheersSep 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm #1780163
Not even reduce?
After I posted but before you replied, I decided to give MSR a call….since I have a Sweetwater too. The guy told me the Sweetwater would "reduce some" but he/they had no idea how much. He thought any filter with carbon in it would reduce to some degree. That was the impression I was under too. But, I really don't know….Sep 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm #1780169
The guy told me the Sweetwater would "reduce some" but he/they had no idea how much.
I thought you didn't want speculation? Just cause he gets his paycheck from MSR doesn't mean his speculation is any better than anyone else's.
Beyond what Roger said, I'm pretty sure, but not positive, that any water filter I've ever bought has had a warning tag specifically stating it didn't eliminate heavy metals and other contaminants.Sep 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm #1780171
sry for dupe… stupid networkSep 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm #1780172
sry for dupe… stupid networkSep 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm #1780197
If you are thinking about filtering water out of a lake that has high levels of mercury it shouldn't be a problem unless you are filtering at the bottom of the lake. Mercury is much more dense than water and will sink. Just don't eat the fish…Sep 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm #1780198
@jreigleLocale: SF Bay area
I think you will need something far more advanced than any hiking filter to adequately remove heavy metal or chemical contamination.Sep 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm #1780230
Jeremy and AngelaParticipant
@requiemLocale: Northern California
Technically the MSR guy is correct; if the filter contains activated carbon it can remove /some/ mercury.
However, if the levels of mercury in the water are above safe levels, you should not assume that the filter will reduce them in any significant amount, particularly if it has not specially formulated for mercury removal. (E.g. in coal plants, the activated carbon used in scrubbers will be impregnated with iodine.)
In other words, follow Roger's advice.Sep 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm #1780254
Thanks, everyone.Sep 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm #1780266
drowning in spamMember
Yeah, not worth worrying about for a water source you're barely going to use. If you're going to start drinking out of there for years or decades, then yes, do worry. The slight amount of mercury you may consume will eventually be naturally eliminated from your body. If nothing else, remember that mercury used to be a medicine. The crew on the Lewis & Clark expedition put a ridiculous amount of that stuff into their bodies, and some of them lived long lives…a lot of the short-lived folks died of 'adventurous' things.Sep 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm #1780280
Anyone know of sources of published data that could help answer this question?
I have some hearsay of my own, which is that I've read that activated carbon of the type used in these filters is really quite good at significantly reducing heavy metals.
But again, data is needed…Sep 17, 2011 at 9:24 am #1780350
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
The short answer is yes, carbon can adsorb mercury from water but is more commonly used for vapor-phase mercury removal. I can't find literature on whether it captures methyl mercury (the bioavailable form). See section 8.
Regrettably the question as posed here is unanswerable. FWIW the most common concern with methyl mercury is exposure via the food chain, not directly from drinking water contaminated by it. It bioconcentrates in fish.
Nobody in customer service will be able to provide guidance because they cannot possibly know. What kind of carbon is in the filter, how much is there, what's the flow rate and contact time, what's the contaminant concentration in water, what's the water chemistry, how fresh is the carbon…the variables pile up into a gigantic heap.
The array of carbon types is vast, in itself.
I've worked with groundwater and soil contamination cleanup using GAC, but typically for solvent and fuels contamination. The interesting bit is when it removes radionuclides and the carbon vessels become "hot" and the carbon itself becomes radioactive waste.
RickSep 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm #1780386
Stephen B Elder JrMember
@selderLocale: Front range CO
"FWIW the most common concern with methyl mercury is exposure via the food chain, not directly from drinking water contaminated by it. It bioconcentrates in fish."
Here in Colorado the health folks encourage you to limit your intake of alpha predators from reservoirs, but I've never heard of any concern about drinking he water.
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