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#174164 - 01/22/13 01:32 PM Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity?
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I use grapefruit seed extract (GSE) at home for various things, so I've got it on hand. I've read it can be used as a very effective water treatment against pretty much everything on the trail and is possibly safer for consumption than iodine. However, it doesn't seem to be widely used for that purpose, so I have to wonder why? Has anyone actually used it on a trip? Did you get sick at all, or did it work for you?

The water around here is mostly muddy and warm, so my tentative plan is to filter it through a coffee filter first to get it clearer, and then add GSE and wait 30 minutes before consumption.

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#174171 - 01/22/13 03:12 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Have never seen anybody other than sellers/makers of the grapefruit stuff claim it can treat contaminated water (am unaware of any peer-reviewed scientific studies) so I assume one can get the same result by squeezing oil from a handy snake.

Iodine isn't the best chemical treatment for biological contamination; chlorine dioxide is considerably more effective. The place I'd start, in any case, is first determining what contamination is in the water, then matching it with the best treatment, whether chemical, filtration, UV, etc.

Good luck,
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#174172 - 01/22/13 03:24 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: Rick_D]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Talk to anyone who has had giardia and you decide to use something that will reliably filter or kill it. I would be extremely suspicious of claims that any citrus juice would do the job.
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#174177 - 01/22/13 04:12 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Hmmm.. I'm not so inclined to think this is bogus. I'm not familiar with GSE for this, but I suspect it could work. You'd want to know how long it takes.

It's fair to note that you can sanitize your water by just filling a clear plastic bottle and setting it in the sun for a hour or two. Sunlight will kill all the nasties in there. It might taste like crap though. And I'm pretty sure lime juice will kill the nasties too, so yeah, there are alternatives to iodine and chlorine.

Here, in most places I just use a charcoal filter (Britta squeeze bottle), but we have really good water here, and lots of it where I generally hike. I've never been bitten doing that here.

Texas, that's a different story. At the least, I'd charcoal filter the water and then boil or Sun sanitize it. You might want to filter it more than once depending on the source. A coffee filter is a good pre-filter. Some people use a bandana. I'd think the coffee filter should work better, but the bandana is multi-purpose, so there's your trade off.

I'll mention for the record that as a rule, if you can, you want to collect running water, not standing water like in a pond or lake, or still spots along the bank of a creek or river.
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#174178 - 01/22/13 04:19 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
This is better info than what I offered above...

Sunlight and Lime Juice

"SODIS (Solar water Disinfection). The SODIS method requires filling 1 or 2 L polyethylene terephthalate (PET plastic) bottles with water and then exposing them to sunlight for at least 6 hours. In cloudy weather, longer exposure times of up to 48 hours may be necessary to achieve adequate disinfection."


"Kellogg Schwab, PhD, MS, senior author of the study, director of the Johns Hopkins University Global Water Program and a professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. "The preliminary results of this study show solar disinfection of water combined with citrus could be effective at greatly reducing E. coli levels in just 30 minutes, a treatment time on par with boiling and other household water treatment methods. "



Edited by billstephenson (01/22/13 04:28 PM)
Edit Reason: added info for Solar water Disinfection
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#174179 - 01/22/13 04:36 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I've heard about using sun exposure to naturally UV purify water. There's an article somewhere about an individual in Africa running a business selling drinking water purified in bottles on the tin roof of their house.

But, I'd always assumed this was impractical for backpacking, unless you're going to be in a very sunny area and don't mind carrying a 12 hour supply of water (six hours worth hung on your pack in the sun and six hours worth of clean water to drink in the meantime). I suppose it would be useful for camping in the same place for a while.

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#174182 - 01/22/13 05:05 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Yeah, that solar method is too long for backpacking, but the lime and sun isn't.

I'd think if the GSE is highly acidic then it should work. According to the article I linked to, using lime alone is also practiced in "many cultures". I haven't looked for how long that takes yet, but I am curious to know.

I've never tried it, but I suspect you could filter the lime flavor out with a britta charcoal filter. So if you do a half hour of sun/lime and then filter, you should be pretty good.

There were caveats in that study, "noroviruses were not dramatically reduced using this technique".


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#174183 - 01/22/13 05:07 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: Rick_D]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Rick_D
Iodine isn't the best chemical treatment for biological contamination; chlorine dioxide is considerably more effective. The place I'd start, in any case, is first determining what contamination is in the water, then matching it with the best treatment, whether chemical, filtration, UV, etc.


Any tips on which brands are most trusted/safest? Coghlan's, Micropur, etc.? Our city's raw water supply tests negative for giardia and cryptosporidium, but that doesn't mean it's absent where I'll be hiking. And, or course, E. Coli is always a concern.

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#174184 - 01/22/13 05:26 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
AquaMira liquid (two-part mix and treat) is the most cost-effective ClO2 option. The ClO2 tablets sold by AquaMira, Katadyn and others should be similarly effective, but when I pencil out the cost over time, they add up pretty quickly versus the liquid. Still, I always have a few in my emergency kit since they're simple to use and have long shelf life (despite what the package may say).

ClO2 is very effective against bacteria and viruses, but like all chemical treatment, is slow in treating cysts like giardia and crypto (half hour and four hour treatment times, respectively)

If you suspect giardia or crypto in your water source--from human or animal waste, especially grazing cattle--then filtration and/or UV is a faster, more reliable path. Bacteria, such as e.coli are well treated by ClO2. Prefiltering is always a good practice, since bacteria cling to particles (not to mention getting out the tiny swimmy things we often see in our source water).

I don't think Lori's statement can be overemphasized: good sanitary practices and reliable water treatment and storage are worth the bother and expense. This is one area I'm resolutely "mainstream."

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#174195 - 01/22/13 09:54 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: Rick_D]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I got a LifeStraw as a gift recently.

It looks to me like it might be rigged for use as a gravity filter. I'm going to try it out soon, even if I just use it for drinking water.
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#174199 - 01/23/13 09:37 AM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I would guess that ACV would work better than GSE. But, for me, I would rather throw down $50 for a 3 oz, .1 micron filter. Or, I would buy the Katadyn ClO2 tablets until I had the $50 for the filter, especially in Texas. Or just boil everything.
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#174205 - 01/23/13 12:14 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: finallyME]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By finallyME
I would guess that ACV would work better than GSE. But, for me, I would rather throw down $50 for a 3 oz, .1 micron filter. Or, I would buy the Katadyn ClO2 tablets until I had the $50 for the filter, especially in Texas. Or just boil everything.


There's a wealth of sources online about treating giardiasis with ACV after the fact, but I've found little to none about preventing it. The three missing pieces are 1) how effective it is, 2) the proper dosage per unit water, and 3) how long to wait before consumption. Given the lack of information ClO2 is starting to look more attractive.


Edited by 4evrplan (01/23/13 12:15 PM)

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#174208 - 01/23/13 01:11 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: finallyME]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
ACV=Aciclovir? This one's outside my vocabulary.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By finallyME
I would guess that ACV would work better than GSE. But, for me, I would rather throw down $50 for a 3 oz, .1 micron filter. Or, I would buy the Katadyn ClO2 tablets until I had the $50 for the filter, especially in Texas. Or just boil everything.
_________________________
--Rick

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#174211 - 01/23/13 02:27 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
With no clue, after reading this thread, I'd think I'd get sick as hell from drinking any water from any source, and that's just not true.

We all want to be safe, and err on the side of caution while backpacking, but you have to consider all things, so here are some things to consider about water, here in the U.S.

First off, viruses are pretty rare in water, and most waterborne bacteria are not harmful, in fact, some are no doubt good for you.

Standing water with algae in it is far more likely to contain harmful bacteria in harmful amounts than clear running water. Watersheds that have cattle grazing within them are much more likely to contain bacteria. Good, clear, spring water isn't likely to contain any bacteria or virus.

You're more likely to get sick from bacteria in water if you don't live near the source. You do build up immunities to bacteria common to local sources.

While backpacking, I'd have to suspect that personal hygiene is the biggest culprit when one gets sick, not the water. Wash your hands with soap after going to the bathroom, or use hand sanitizer (a dab of your alcohol fuel works for that), and you've greatly reduced your risks. I have never got sick from drinking water, or swimming in rivers or lakes or creeks, and I've swam in creeks with cows standing in them upstream from me all day. Now, I didn't drink the water by the glassfuls, but I certainly swallowed some.

I also have to suspect that using chlorine would kill the good bugs that are in your gut, making you more susceptible to bad bugs in the water. I'm not sure about iodine, but I do know that too much of that is not good for you either. I'll offer that for your long term health you want to avoid both of these treatments, and use them only when you have no other method of treatment and have reason to suspect the water source is contaminated. I'd rather filter and boil water than treat it with iodine or chlorine.

With good reason I suspect that taking antibiotics will increase your risks, so if you've used antibiotics recently you should probably err further on the side of caution, but again, in that case I'd boil and filter my water, not chemically treat it, that would be among the worst things I can imagine doing after taking antibiotics. You kill all the bugs in your gut and you could certainly die from an infection in short time. In fact, one of the only effective treatments for that very condition, which is often caused by taking too many antibiotics, is to ingest a small amount of human feces (from someone healthy) in order to replace all the good bacteria you killed with antibiotics. It's like the ultimate probiotic. ( I know you want a source for that. )

Here's an article that has some good common sense info to help qualify most the rest of what I said here. The main take away from that interview, for me, is to know your source.

In any case, I still strongly recommend chemical treatments as a last resort only.

Finally, the $19.99 "Lifestraw" filter I pointed to has some very impressive specs, especially considering the price and weight (2.0 oz). It's not likely you'll need anything more than it unless you're drinking hospital sewage from a ditch.

The company that makes it also makes a gravity filter that does remove 99.9% of viruses too, and it will be for sale in the U.S. soon. From what I can see, the Lifestraw Family Water filter-purifier is a very good option for backpackers. I'll sell you my katadyne hiker right now for $25 and wait for it. laugh
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#174212 - 01/23/13 02:28 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: Rick_D]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Rick_D
ACV=Aciclovir? This one's outside my vocabulary.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By finallyME
I would guess that ACV would work better than GSE. But, for me, I would rather throw down $50 for a 3 oz, .1 micron filter. Or, I would buy the Katadyn ClO2 tablets until I had the $50 for the filter, especially in Texas. Or just boil everything.


Apple Cider Vinegar?
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"You want to go where?"



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#174214 - 01/23/13 03:08 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
There is a difference between chlorine and chlorine dioxide. People who use chlorine bleach are doing so with no real idea of what the appropriate dosage is to actually be effective. Chlorine dioxide in its various forms has a specific dosage depending on clarity of the water and the temperature of the water - there's a chart to help you decide if you really need to wait four hours or half and hour.

If you get sick while backpacking, unless you are out for more than nine days, it's not likely to be giardia, but something else. Were I stuck and filter broken I would simply drink the water available untreated on my hike back to the car - giardia is misery but treatable. In areas where reports of crypto are made, nope, I'd be building fires and boiling it instead. Not really any treatment for such an infection, and it's worse than giardia. Also rarer, thank goodness.

The Lifestraw has a too-short lifespan to be of interest to me. The 200 gallon lifespan of a Hiker Pro makes more economic sense. The backflushable Sawyers with their million gallon guarantee make another kind of sense.

All in all, it's up to the individual, but after talking to too many giardia infected folks who rang up hospital time I filter and don't sweat it.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#174217 - 01/23/13 03:38 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: lori]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Quote:
The Lifestraw has a too-short lifespan to be of interest to me.

From the LifeStraw Site:

Filters up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water (Tested up to 1,600 Liters)
Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction)
Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction)
Reduces turbidity, filtering down to 0.2 microns
Ultralight: weighs only 2oz!
Contains no chemicals (and is BPA-free), uses no batteries, has no moving parts
Very high flow rate
Easy to clean
Very durable


That's pretty darn impressive.

I think on my next trip I'll use the LifeStraw for drinking water, and I'll use my Britta squeeze bottle to charcoal filter water for cooking (boiling). This is a lighter and easier option than the Katadyne Hiker, and probably costs less. It certainly cost less initially.

My "Hiker" filter failed on a cold weather trip. It didn't freeze, the input nipple broke off when I pulled the hose off of it after using it. Katadyne sent me a new filter body at no charge, so they have my gratitude for the great customer service I received. But the filters are expensive, and they need to be replaced once a year for my use, and it's heavier.
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#174218 - 01/23/13 03:45 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
lifestraw still looks flimsy to me.... I'll avoid it for the same reason i avoid steri pens. They do not look me-proof.

Hiker pro has lasted four years without issues.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#174219 - 01/23/13 03:46 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Originally Posted By Rick_D
ACV=Aciclovir? This one's outside my vocabulary.

Cheers,

Originally Posted By finallyME
I would guess that ACV would work better than GSE. But, for me, I would rather throw down $50 for a 3 oz, .1 micron filter. Or, I would buy the Katadyn ClO2 tablets until I had the $50 for the filter, especially in Texas. Or just boil everything.


Apple Cider Vinegar?


Yes, apple cider vinegar.

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#174220 - 01/23/13 03:51 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 627
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By billstephenson
I'll sell you my katadyne hiker right now for $25 and wait for it. laugh


Don't know if you're serious, but that is pretty tempting. Nonetheless, for reasons all my own, I'd have to decline.

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#174224 - 01/23/13 04:04 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: lori]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Lori
There is a difference between chlorine and chlorine dioxide. People who use chlorine bleach are doing so with no real idea of what the appropriate dosage is to actually be effective.


That's another very important point.

I've talked and hiked with people who use household bleach, and that will work to kill bugs, but there are other issues like what you mention, and from what I recall Phat mentioning in a previous post, chlorine dioxide does not combine with bacteria into chloramines, like household bleach does, which are really not good for you.

Charcoal filtering and boiling is probably the best and most economical way to clean and sanitize water while backpacking, but I don't want to wait for boiling water to cool before drinking it, so I need something to solve that problem. Right now, that LifeStraw looks like the best solution. I will get back to this forum after using it. I'm pretty picky about water too, if I taste anything nasty, or it's not easier and lighter than anything else I've done, I will let you know.

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#174260 - 01/24/13 11:14 AM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By billstephenson

Apple Cider Vinegar?


Someone else confirmed, but yes, Apple Cider Vinegar.

I use it at home to kill stuff. When I butcher a chicken, I soak it in ACV afterwards, instead of bleach. When I get foot fungus, I soak my feet in it, better than anything at the drug store, and cheaper. I use distilled vinegar to clean out a fish tank. Bleach will kill the fish.

I have no doubt that ACV will kill all nasties in water. But I don't think 1 drop will work in a liter of water, probably need much more. Again, no test to look at. So, for the weight, ClO2.
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#174261 - 01/24/13 11:21 AM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Quote:
The Lifestraw has a too-short lifespan to be of interest to me.

From the LifeStraw Site:

Filters up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water (Tested up to 1,600 Liters)
Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction)
Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction)
Reduces turbidity, filtering down to 0.2 microns
Ultralight: weighs only 2oz!
Contains no chemicals (and is BPA-free), uses no batteries, has no moving parts
Very high flow rate
Easy to clean
Very durable


That's pretty darn impressive.

I think on my next trip I'll use the LifeStraw for drinking water, and I'll use my Britta squeeze bottle to charcoal filter water for cooking (boiling). This is a lighter and easier option than the Katadyne Hiker, and probably costs less. It certainly cost less initially.

My "Hiker" filter failed on a cold weather trip. It didn't freeze, the input nipple broke off when I pulled the hose off of it after using it. Katadyne sent me a new filter body at no charge, so they have my gratitude for the great customer service I received. But the filters are expensive, and they need to be replaced once a year for my use, and it's heavier.


Bill, those are pretty impressive, until I compare it against the Sawyer squeeze.
0.1 microns
3 oz for the whole thing (still need to weigh mine to see what parts that includes)
$50
Million gallon guarantee, you can back flush to increase flow, and extent the life indefinitely.
No moving parts

The life straw is $19, but you have to replace it after 300 gallons. Yeah, I know, it will take a lot of trips to hit 900 gallons (which is the cut off point). You can use the sawyer just like the lifestraw.

Everyone has their preference, and the lifestraw aint a bad option. It is definitely better than a lot of other options out there.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#174265 - 01/24/13 11:37 AM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: billstephenson]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By billstephenson


The company that makes it also makes a gravity filter that does remove 99.9% of viruses too, and it will be for sale in the U.S. soon. From what I can see, the Lifestraw Family Water filter-purifier is a very good option for backpackers. I'll sell you my katadyne hiker right now for $25 and wait for it. laugh


That is interesting, mostly because Sawyer already makes one that does .02 microns (which is the same as the one in your link here). You connect it to a bucket, and it works the same way.
_________________________
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#174278 - 01/24/13 01:38 PM Re: Any on-trail experience with GSE for water purity? [Re: finallyME]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Not to be too much of a contrarian, but I'll wager giardia and crypto cysts will survive just fine in a bottle of vinegar, given they thrive in our acidic guts. Vinegar's acetic acid, and not very concentrated at that.

Regardless, as you rightly note a drop or even seven in a liter of water won't kill anything and will just make it taste like pickle juice. And if it's "hard" water, it will be instantly neutralized.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. smile

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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