Home > General, Japan, Nuclear Energy, Radioactivity > Survival tips: Out of bottled water? Drinking water contaminated? Here is what to do …

Survival tips: Out of bottled water? Drinking water contaminated? Here is what to do …

Let’s assume you went to several stores and all of them are out of bottled water – what you can do to still lower the radiotoxicity from your drinking water by a simple trick that costs nothing.

Here is what you need to know and what you can do even if you can’t buy bottled water anymore to lower your or your child’s exposure to iodine radioactivity considerably.

What you can do in all regions where contamination is still low or where the drinking water is still uncontaminated but likely to become contaminated soon and bottled water is scarce or sold out or you expect it to be so in the near future or even if water is already too contaminated for immediate consumption:

  1. Get some food-grade (i.e. clean and with no substances in it that could seep into the water; like polyethylene or glass bottles, empty water bottles you have not yet returned etc.) containers and fill them with tap water. Store in a cool, preferably dark place. Since this costs you almost nothing and can be used again anyhow even if nothing untoward happens, stock as much as you can if you fear this scarcity to last or increase.
    If you have spare bathtub and the plug seals well, why not fill that one too, esp. if you still have a second bath room or shower? Put some cover (foil) over it to stop dust falling in.
  2. If your water is already contaminated and you expect or experience shortages of uncontaminated bottled water, you can still stretch your water reserves in the following way:
    a) Get as much clean tap water as before in #1).
    b) Store as long as you can afford not to use it (for drinking), then always use stored water instead of fresh water.
    c) Refill all emptied containers again with fresh tap water, store them at the furthest end of your stash (label them with date and time) and always repeat using the “oldest” water. “Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat” – don’t forget to relabel and use the oldest first always.

Reasons: We assume that the main contamination from Fukushima at this time will be radioactive iodine-131 esp. from rainfall that got into the wells and feeders of your water utility. Even if the iodine production at the reactors has stopped its environmental levels may still increase considerably.

Radioactive iodine-131 is highly radiotoxic esp. for your thyroid gland resulting in an increased risk of thyroid cancer. This being the case, iodine-131 has a half-life of only about eight days. So, whatever the initial amount of iodine-131 at the time you filled your respective bottle, it will contain only half the amount of harmful iodine after the first eight days, a quarter only after the next 8 days or then 16 days in total, only one thousandth of iodine radioactivity after eighty days (ten half-lives or “two to the power of ten” = 1,024) and so forth.

So if you manage to “rotate” your bottles in, say, a three-week cycle, your iodine contamination will almost only be one eighth of what originally came out of the spigot; after 32 days or about a month it will be only one sixteenth!

This method won’t help with other contaminants such as caesium unfortunately, as these have far longer half-lives (Cs-137 e.g. is over 30 years), so to avoid these you need to either get bottled water from a reliable source/brand or use distillation as mentioned.

And good luck …

For a full overview of water options go to our post

Dangers, Properties, possible Uses and Methods of Purification of radioactively contaminated (drinking) Water (e.g. in Japan)

A German version can be found here/Die deutsche Version finden Sie hier:

Survival – Radioactive WATER/Radioaktivitaet im Wasser: WHAT YOU CAN DO – Was Sie tun koennen …

  1. 2012-01-11 at 02:29

    A website that has a lot of great water filters is : http://www.pureaquanow.com

    Lots of water filters that you can use in your home.

  2. 2012-01-11 at 02:28

    Your article had a lot of useful information. Thanks

  3. 2011-11-20 at 11:25

    Appreciate this info. Thank you

    Nuclear News Now


  4. 2011-04-01 at 21:13

    Here’s the Quality level of the news you read in Germany: from the Wall of Shame: ‎
    Welt Online
    Reporter: Unknown. http://www.welt.de/vermischtes/weltgeschehen/article12863119/Es-bleiben-48-Stunden-Tschernobyl-zu-verhindern.html
    Date: 2011-3-17
    Reporting faults and errors: Pure fabrication of a story
    German “Welt online” ist Heading: “Es bleiben 48 Stunden um Tchernobyl zu verhindern” which means “Remaining 48 Hours to avoid Tchernobyl”.
    There is no information available to affirm any timeline. To whom did they talk? God?
    In the following text they write “probably” and relate to the president of the organisation for radiation-care (Sebastian Pflugbeil), who said “probably next day or day after there will be a decision..”

    One more: Germany’s BILD Zeitung gets an award for total nonsense:
    Headline titling “Atomic Horror” mit 4 (!) exclamation marks. The picture on the front shows a person with gas mask/some suit against radioactive pollution. In the background a devastated landscape is shown. On first sight it looks like a nuclear desert, however it is a picture from the destruction caused by the Tsunami. On the next pages they ask: “And what´s up with the Sushi
    in the restaurants? Can we still eat it”?

    Crisismaven, you say that German cities were more destroyed than Japan’s? Once again, you just talk total BS. How do you come to this conclusion? Just making up facts as you go again, eh? Did you guys have two nuclear bombs dropped on you? How about 100,000 people killed in one bombing in one night with the 1945 firebombing of Tokyo? The worst you had was Dresden and that was 25,000 dead according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dresden_in_World_War_II

    You are arguing with a professional news person Crisis, you had better have your facts straight before you continue with more nonsense… You are one step away from the Blogger Wall of Shame with this.

    • 2011-04-01 at 22:49

      You are arguing with a “professional German” whose father fought in both World Wars! Dresden was deplorable because, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was absolutely no military target and the war would have probably ended along the same timeline as it did, with or without these particular bombings.
      But in Germany, when mentioning Dresden, the death toll you mentioned was of one single night, although numbers of victims could never be fully determined due to the recent huge influx of unregistered refugees from further east. However, after the war was over, almost no larger German city was left standing, since they had been constantly bombarded in raids that flew over Germany almost every single night for several years.
      To this day there’s some survivors who have the same nightmare every night ever since and no, repeat no, other country went through this in living memory.
      While the immediate carnage by atomic bombing is huge, instantaneous and without precedence, believe me, the death toll and destruction within German borders through “conventional” bombing was several times larger than Japan has experienced.
      But that’s neither here nor there. How did we get there?
      I believe, you (or your countrymen) are in danger of suffering a higher dose of esp. thyroid radiation than without heeding my advice should there be a bottled water scarcity (note the subjunctive).
      You say, there won’t be,
      a) higher radiation nor (through water at least)
      b) a bottled water scarcity,
      then well and good.
      See my post like a band-aid in the drawer that we all hope we never need but hope to have handy when we cut ourselves.
      As for Welt and Bild, they, and esp. the latter, a “yellow paper”, do not have the best of reputations. Indeed we cannot know exactly what is happening when and if there is a full core meltdown or only a partial one in which reactor.
      At least one partial core meltdown has been confirmed by your own government unless you want to accuse the whole English-speaking media of ballyhoo as well.
      So, when there’s a (partial) meltdown, the radioactive iodine is released, period, and almost all of it. Believe me, I am the recognised expert in Germany in the field who spared my country a similar fate as yours by bringing about a nuclear building moratorium for new nuclear power stations in 1977. I suppressed a total of 120 projected power stations.
      There was a time, thirty years ago, when I would know every single reactor in the world by name, size and technical detail, and I had copies of all German reactor blueprints, all.
      Now, as for hopes and realities: take it that I don’t need to ask God nor consult a glass ball to tell whether three reactor cores in Fukushima seem to have melted at least partially. Still, even if dubbed partial, the full amount of radioactive iodine has been released or will be released over the coming weeks, luckily it will also decay a good bit in the meantime.
      However, these three reactors initially, i.e. on March 11th contained the equivalent of at least six thousand Hiroshima bombs in radioactive iodine equivalent!!! And since it was emitted at low altitudes and not into the stratosphere, the equivalent rises to over ten thousand Hiroshima bombs radioactive iodine
      relative to what would be the effective dose on the ground.
      So even if you don’t like to heed my advice, pray, don’t obfuscate the issue and let each of your countrymen do as they see fit. Or you even play God.

  5. 2011-04-01 at 19:07

    Thanks Chris,
    Well, my friend, in my most possibly lame attempt at being an investigative journalist, I have been to OK supermarket in Yoga, Setagaya, every morning for the last 3 weeks. I have been able to buy 2 ~ 8 liters of water everyday. The stores were out of water for only 2.5 days.

    This is Japan. We have earthquakes all the time. Only a idiot or negligent parent would not have at least 12 liters of water and food stored for each family member (to last at least 2 weeks). Why don’t you write about that common sense approach instead of this quasi-sensationalism? I have been near worse earthquakes than this when we didn’t have water for nearly three weeks.

    Miyagi and those areas have suffered. Tokyo has been, at the most, inconvenienced.

    Please be more responsible and at least post on this blog information as to how people can get off their asses and help those suffering up north as opposed to paranoid nail biting and worrying about the end of the world.

    At the end of WWII, Japan had over 2 million dead military and nearly 1 million dead civilians. Her cities had been carpet bombed into ruin. Yet she recovered. Not to downplay the suffering of those affected, but the disaster in Miyagi and surrounding areas is bad, but, in the long term view of things, merely a blip on the screen. Had this accident happened in Tokyo where 65 million people live (as opposed to the 750,000 in Miyagi), near the Tokai reactor – THAT would be a real disaster.

    Yet, on your blog you have zero info on how to do anything positive to help the suffering and you have nothing positive as to how to prepare for a real disaster. You are merely scaring people with this.

    You wrote: “where the drinking water is still uncontaminated but likely to become contaminated soon” Likely t become contaminated soon!? And, pray tell, by what stretch of the imagination do you make this judgement? This is conjecture and rumor mongering and the creation of fear.

    Please consider what I have said here.

    • 2011-04-01 at 20:26

      My dear Mike, our cities were in an even worse state at the end of the war; we had suffered more casualties, in absolute as well as relative figures (yes, we had our share in instigating it, I don’t forget).
      I am not scaring people, I go by from what has been reported in Europe and the English-speaking media.
      Why don’t YOU kick some ass over there to make sure YOUR government and TepCo provide US with reliable figures?
      That said I have downplayed the fears, as some people are in panic. We have the largest Japanese exclave of the world in Duesseldorf, Germany so we do have some reliable contacts over here too. We notice that the rich are leaving the country, “just” to be on the safe side.
      Yes, you are acquainted with and used to earthquakes, Germany to only a negligible extent. Tsunamis we don’t have at all. But, pray, why did your great nation build nuclear power stations all over the place? Those contain several thousand Hiroshima bombs in radioactive equivalent each. I’m sorry, I don’t want to critisise anyone and in your culture it’s not the done thing anyways, but prudent behaviour all this is not nor is your country’s management of the nuclear crisis.
      As for the water “to be contaminated”: Tokyo and a lot of other places get their water from surface sources and filtrates. When Fukushima winds don’t benignly blow outwards you will have more spikes in drinking water radioactivity and in all probability it would have to be declared unsafe not for infants alone. Then why not get a three week or four weeks’ supply also for washing etc.? The bottles won’t do your laundry.
      Please consider, what I have said here
      The only questions you need ask your governments to end the nightmare for good are here:
      before it’s too late.
      Call me a fear monger, but you have already lost over two decades, are terribly indebted, another nuclear catastrophy and you’re back to where Japan was a hundred years ago. Wake up!

      • 2011-04-01 at 20:46

        Thanks Maven. Aha! You are not in Japan so you don’t know. You are believing sensationalist news reports from western news sources.
        I am 1/2 Japanese, have lived with Japanese people all my life, can read and write Japanese, have lived here for over 27 years. I understand both the western media and the Japanese language media. Not only that I am a professional broadcaster with over 30 years experience in broadcasting and the only foreigner in japan’s history to be the GM of a major Japanese broadcasting station and I was a former CNN news caster.

        You, my friend, are believing nonsense hype and sensationalism. Take it from an expert who knows and is here. You are exaggerating because you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • steveo
          2011-04-03 at 19:25

          Ah! an expert broadcaster, now that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

    • 2011-04-01 at 20:50

      You wrote: “Call me a fear monger, but you have already lost over two decades, are terribly indebted, another nuclear catastrophy and you’re back to where Japan was a hundred years ago. Wake up!” Aren’t you embarrassed writing this kind of shit? What total irresponsible and childish nonsense. What does our debt and two decades of debt have to do with your water purification ideas?

      No, you are not a fear monger… Perhaps idiot would be a better description.

      • 2011-04-01 at 22:58

        A lot – when already inside a hole it’s more difficult to climb out. I was just stating the situation as it is, turn a blind eye if you like. I remember how your countrymen were shocked when the good times ended as real estate prices dropped by as much as 90% and the Nikkei index almost three quarters back in the eighties. And your government squandered the postal savings bank on shares that later tanked. No, I don’t believe you people currently need to paint a rosy picture at all.

  6. 2011-04-01 at 11:49

    [sidebar] Check out Toni Straka’s The Prudent Investor. I think he’s right up your alley. theprudentinvestor.blogspot.com

  7. 2011-04-01 at 03:48

    Extreme situations require extreme response!

    • 2011-04-01 at 19:43

      Thanks Segun,
      “Extreme situations require extreme response.” Well said. I am in central Tokyo, you are in Nigeria. What do you know about what’s going on in Japan? A big fat zero.

  1. 2011-04-01 at 02:39

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