Prevent Water Borne Illness While Traveling in Other Countries


Planning a nice, long awaited tropical getaway?

Outfits picked out?
You: Check!

Resort booked?
You: Check!

Sightseeing all mapped out?
You: Check!

Plane tickets purchased?
You: Check!

You: Check!

Filtered Water Bottle packed?
You: Huh? Wait, what?

Do you have your filtered water bottle packed? If not, think about this. In many popular tropical travel destinations, water is not fully treated to remove waterborne organisms and pollutants that can cause illness. Waterborne diarrhea illnesses can be caused from ingesting contaminants when drinking water. For many travelers, the risk of acquiring gastrointestinal illnesses may be high due to bacteria, viruses or parasites that can be transmitted through contaminated water or food prepared with contaminated water.

Boiling water can help to purify water or some type of filtration to make it safe to drink. However, you did not book a trip to a tropical island or a foreign country, just to spend a lot of time boiling your water to drink. In addition to good personal hygiene practices, travelers want to enjoy their vacation and not worry about diarrhea or some other type of waterborne illness as a result of drinking contaminated water. Here are some suggestions to take that worry away, regardless of whether you’re traveling abroad, hiking or camping.

travel water filter              travel water purification bottle                   UV travel Water Purifier

Katadyn MyBottle             Sawyer Squeeze  Bottles                SteriPen Purifier

When traveling out of the United States, regulations on water treatment may not be mandatory. Safe beverages such as bottled fruit juices, alcoholic beverages without ice, carbonated soft drinks, hot beverages such as coffee or tea may quickly quench your thirst, but do little for dehydration.  Replacement Filters for all of these bottles are available on Let’s face it, you invested a lot of money on your tropical vacation, so why risk you or your family getting sick from water that is untreated.

Why Is Clean Water Important to W3?

How far would you walk for a glass of clean drinking water? One mile? Two Miles? Did you know that in many countries, like parts of Africa for example, women and children have to walk approximately 3.7 miles to carry gallons of water back to their homes and villages? Generally speaking, women and children usually bear the burden of collecting water by walking to the nearest water source that is contaminated, because that particular water source is shared with livestock and other animals. Thus, consuming contaminated water is their only option.

Image Credit: charity:water

Water is inter-related with health. We take the ability and freedom to walk a few steps to our faucet and turn it on in order to get a glass of clean drinking water for granted. There are poor developing countries and communities who are challenged with being able to meet basic needs. When we refer to basic needs, it goes beyond what we need to drink or ingest for our daily survival. It includes the need for water to maintain a basic standard of hygiene that is sufficient to maintain health.

At W3, as we reflect on our children and loved ones each day, we think about how it would break our hearts to helplessly watch them suffer and die from simply drinking contaminated water. This could leave them susceptible and vulnerable to diseases such as viral hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, diarrhea and dysentery. When our global neighbors are suffering and dying from not having access to clean drinking water, it is a critical matter and our W3 Team just cannot sit here and do nothing.

We invite you to join us on our mission to Work and Walk for Water. There are many ways to contribute and participate in this humanitarian effort. To learn more about our W3 initiative and how you can get involved, check out our W3 – Work and Walk for Water website.

Bally, PA Water System Contaminated for Seven Years

The small town of Bally, Pennsylvania boasts a growing population of about 1,100. And we may attribute part of their growth over the last seven years to bottled water.

As much as I hate to say it, bottled water has done this town some good. It’s the only water residents of Bally have been safely able to drink since 2003, due to groundwater contamination. According to the EPA, the Bally water system was contaminated with the industrial solvent 1, 4-dioxane, which has been labeled “a probable human carcinogen“. Officials disconnected the contaminated well from the water system, hooked up a new well about one mile away, and flushed the system to ensure the removal of any lingering contaminants. Seven years later, Bally residents are now able to safely drink water from the tap.

Did I mention, they’ve been drinking bottled water for seven years?

That’s a long time for a population of 1,000 people to have to wait for a safe drinking water supply. I can’t imagine how much plastic waste this small town has contributed to our landfills since 2003.

Residents of Bally were on a well-water system, but residents of larger cities with municipal water treatment plants are no stranger to the types of chemicals that have plagued this small town for nearly a decade. Municipal water treatment involves the use of chemicals (most of which are also carcinogenic) as disinfectants, and it’s quite common for agricultural and industrial pollutants to be present in the water supply. Though reducing 1,4-dioxane to “acceptable levels” requires advanced oxidation processes, many of the water filters we carry are able to significantly reduce other chemicals and volatile organic compounds. Whether your water supply comes from a well or a municipal system, a home water filter might be worth considering. I’m sure the population of Bally, PA will agree.