How to ensure your drinking water is safe

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“Flood water is toxic and polluted. If you don’t have to be in it, keep out.”

Runoff from large amounts of rain carries contaminants such as chemical pollutants, microbial pathogens and sewage from failed septic systems into reservoirs and wells, posing health hazards to people’s drinking water supplies.

  • Flooding causes toxic substances to wash out of basements and garages, which pollutes the flood-waters.
  • Bacteria, such as E. coli, can bring serious health consequences to people who come in contact with the microorganisms.  Some of these bacteria may also contain dangerous endotoxins.
  • Viruses may also be present.
  • Parasites and protozoa are yet another concern.

These infectious agents are a threat to anyone who comes in contact with tainted water supplies.

How to ensure your drinking water is safe
1. Boil your drinking water.

Local municipal and private water utilities have issued “boil-water notices” throughout regions affected by flooding. These directives should be followed carefully to avoid possible infections from drinking tainted water.

When boiling water for safe drinking, be sure to boil it vigorously for 1 minute and allow it to cool to room temperature. Do not add ice. If your residence is at an altitude higher than 6,562 feet, boil the water for a full 3 minutes.

2. Disinfect suspect water with iodine.

If boiling water is not possible, chemical disinfection with iodine (e.g., Globaline, Potable-Aqua, or Coghlan’s, found in pharmacies and sporting goods stores) is another method for making water safer to drink. Cryptosporidium (a parasite that can cause diarrhea) might not be killed by this method.

Iodine for treating water is available in tablet, tincture or crystalline form. Follow instructions on the package carefully, and double the dose if the water is cloudy. Cloudy water should be strained through a clean cloth into a container to remove any sediment or floating matter before treating with iodine.

3.Test your water supply with free testing kits.

Residents with private water wells should test their wells before drinking from them if flooding has occurred. State health departments usually distribute water testing kits for free. These kits usually provide screening for the presence bacteria in drinking water, but more extensive testing is required to check for other possible chemical pollutants.

If your drinking water comes from a well, contact your state health authority to see if free water testing kits are available or if further testing is advised.

4. Drink bottled water until the threat passes.

Bottled water supplies are the best assurance that your drinking water is safe. However, bottled water supplies are usually the first to be “out of stock” from store shelves in the advent of a weather emergency.

You can also bottle your own water and keep it on hand for emergency use.

5. Have a personal water filter which screens out toxins.

An inexpensive “point-of-use” water filter, The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, is designed to enable users to drink contaminated water through a filtering tube which screens out contaminants.

  • The LifeStraw filters out 99.9999% of waterborne bacterial contaminants and 99.9% of protozoan parasites found in water.
  • The 0.2 micron filter exceeds EPA guidelines for screening out Escherichia coli and Cryptosporidium oocysts.
  • The LifeStraw has been in use for years in developing countries which lack access to clean drinking water, and has just recently become available to consumers in North America.
Flooding may be the new normal in some regions

The unusually heavy rains which have accompanied the latest round of hurricanes is one of the predicted consequences of climate change. Melting ice from the polar regions has increased moisture levels in the atmosphere, with corresponding amounts of snowfall and rain accompanying seasonal storms.

Residents in hurricane-prone regions would be well advised to develop home preparedness measures which minimize the release of pollutants into the environment, and ensure a supply of safe drinking water for the family in the event of flooding and other environmental emergencies.

LifeStraw water filter for compromised water.


If you are looking to buy the LifeStraw® personal water filter, your search is over!

LifeStraw® is now available to purchase online right here at Eartheasy has partnered with Vestergaard Frandsen, the Swiss company which developed LifeStraw®, and we are now offering LifeStraw® for sale at retail for customers in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, and throughout Canada.
The price for a LifeStraw is $19.95. It’s rated for use up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons), at which point it will become too hard to suck water through.

Buy LifeStraw

The unique LifeStraw personal water filter has generated a lot of buzz since its inception in 2005. This award-winning product has been a breakthrough in the United Nations campaign to combat water-borne disease.

LifeStraws have been widely distributed in developing countries where people suffer from shortages of clean drinking water.

Lifestraw in Africa

Vestergaard Frandsen’s corporate mission statement is,

“to create life-saving products for the most vulnerable.”

And true to their mission, the priority for distribution of the LifeStraw personal water filters has been to provide this product to the people who need it most.

In Western Kenya, for example, over 4 million people have benefitted from clean drinking water through LifeStraw filtration technology.

Six years of real-life testing have proven the reliability of LifeStraw to filter contaminated water into safe drinking water at the point-of-use. But before LifeStraw could be offered to the U.S. market, stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards had to be met.

After an extensive testing process, LifeStraw was found to exceed EPA requirements by filtering down to an amazing 0.2 microns. It’s rated for use up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons), at which point it will become too hard to suck water through.

Why we like the LifeStraw personal water filter

There are a few other personal water filters in use today. One filter using the “straw” concept is AquaSafe, but it only filters half the volume of a LifeStraw and, at $45, is more than twice the price. There are also a few water purifier “bottles” which don’t filter as much out of the water, and require replacement filter cartridges, costing $35, every 150 – 200 fills. Because of its extreme filtering capability, portability, and low cost, LifeStraw is the ‘gold standard’ of personal water filters.

  • LifeStraw removes virtually all bacteria (99.9999%) and protozoa (99.9%) from contaminated water, down to 0.2 microns. (>LOG 6 reduction)
  • Lightweight, and reliable
  • Quick and easy to use when on the move
  • Inexpensive enough to have one for every family member
  • A single LifeStraw saves the potential waste of 1000 plastic water bottles.
  • To learn more about the unique features of LifeStraw, or to buy LifeStraw, click here.

Our Video Review of the LifeStraw

Why has Eartheasy been selected as launch partner for LifeStraw?

Back in 2005 when LifeStraw first came to market we wanted one for ourselves! Our family spends a lot of time outdoors fishing, camping, hiking and exploring nature, but having a supply of clean drinking water is not as easy as you would think. We pack our own drinking bottles, but they need to be refilled from clean water sources, which can be hard to find.

Eartheasy is donating one straw to developing countries for every ten sold, through Rotary International. We also donate a tree for every order through our partnership with Trees for the Future Foundation.

In a few minutes of research, we learned the LifeStraw was not available for sale in the U.S. So we picked up the phone and called Vestergaard Frandsen to find out if the company had plans to sell the LifeStraw in the U.S. We learned it would be years before LifeStraw was market ready for the U.S.
For 5 years Eartheasy kept a regular dialogue with Vestergaard Frandsen, and over time our two companies got to know each other better. In 2010, a VF company representative flew out to visit with Eartheasy and confirm our plans to work together. Eartheasy’s commitment to sustainability, our performance as a reliable online business since 2000, and the profile of our site visitors, provided Vestergaard Frandsen a good match for their eventual plans to market LifeStraw in the USA and Canada.

Using Lifestraw to drink from a stream

Here are our impressions from using the LifeStraw:

We took LifeStraw on a hiking trip up the coastal mountains to see how it works first-hand.

Our first impression was the compact size and light weight of the LifeStraw – it was smaller than the traditional filters we carried in the past, and weighed only 2oz (56grams). It was a pleasant surprise to see we had a little bit more space in our packs.
Our next impression was the tough construction of the LifeStraw. It is light and made of plastic, but it’s tough and compact. It doesn’t feel fragile, so it can handle the bumps and jostling against the other items in our pack. We were not worried about it breaking under normal “backpacking” use, which can be rough at times.

After a stint of uphill hiking, we came across a shallow stream of cold snow melt water. The area is rich in wildlife and the water, while cold and sparkling, was untreated and untested. Giardia, or ‘Beaver Fever’, is one of our main concerns when drinking from natural water sources, so it was a bit unusual to set the LifeStraw in the stream and suck cool water easily through the LifeStraw. It was no more difficult than sucking water through a regular straw.  Upon slipping the LifeStraw back into the daypack, we felt more empowered knowing that clean water was now available anywhere we went.

Say goodbye to “Tourista”!

Travelers in any country can have difficulty identifying and accessing clean drinking water. But in traveling folklore, Mexico has long held a reputation for unreliable quality drinking water. Many a tourist has suffered “the runs”, and spent their holiday getting to know all the nearby restrooms. By bringing along a lightweight LifeStraw, you can avoid this unpleasant interruption to your good health.

LifeStraw is the ideal traveler’s companion – light, sturdy, inexpensive, and an assurance that safe, clean water is always close at hand.


Be prepared in weather emergencies with a LifeStraw for each family member.

The intense weather disturbances we have been experiencing recently are, according to weather forecasters looking at climate change trends, the “new normal”. We can expect increased weather extremes in the years ahead, and providing our families with a simple, effective means of access to safe drinking water is an essential preparedness measure.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee, residents in the Northeast suffered widespread flooding. Local municipalities issued boil-water notices, and residents were warned that their water sources may have been contaminated from flood runoff. Bottled water was in short supply in some areas.  LifeStraw is ideal for these kinds of situations, as it ensures safe drinking water from suspect water sources. If the power goes out and people can’t boil water, the bottled water supply at the local stores won’t last long! To learn more about the effects of flooding on water supplies, read our article Contaminated water feared in hurricane’s wake.

Life Straw Accolades:

  • ‘The Gadgets for Disaster Zones’ BBC News Magazine (May 2011)
  • ‘Big Ideas, Little Packages’, National Geographic (October 2011)
  • ‘Fighting Water-Borne Disease In Africa, And Making Millions In The Process’ FastCompany (April 2011)
  • ‘Clean Water at No Cost? Just Add Carbon Credits’ The New York Times (November 15, 2010)
  • ‘Design for the Rest of the World: LifeStraw®’ The New York Sun (May 2007)
  • ‘Tools for Better Living’ Fortune (December 2006)
  • ‘One of the ‘Ten Things That Will Change The Way We Live’ Forbes (February 2006)
  • ‘Gadget Produces Safe Drinking Water’ Newsweek (June 2007)
  • ‘A Water Purifier That Could Save Lives’ New York Times (October 2006)
  • ‘A Water Purifier for the Masses’ Popular Science (December 2005)
  • ‘Invention of the Century’ Gizmag (December 2005)
  • ‘Innovation of the Year’ Esquire (December 2005)
  • ‘Europe’s Best Invention’ Reader’s Digest (July 2006)
  • ‘Best Invention of 2005’ Time (November 2005)

LifeStraw Awards:

  • 2008 Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas
  • ‘INDEX: 2005’ International Design Award
  • ‘Well-Tech 2006’ Innovation Technology Award


At Eartheasy, we are proud to be able to offer LifeStraw to customers in the U.S. and Canada. Many years of research, development and field testing have led to this amazing product, and we are pleased that you can now buy LifeStraw for your own use.

Buy LifeStraw

Retail stores selling the LifeStraw:

Interested in buying the LifeStraw from a dealer near you? A complete list of retail stores selling the LifeStraw

LifeStraw Store Locations & Dealer Locator Map

Looking to buy the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter online, or at a store location near you? Our retailer list and store locator map below will help you find the nearest LifeStraw dealer. NOTE: For store locations, please call ahead to ensure they have stock before visiting.

Buy Online    Buy in Store

USA & Canada

View LifeStraw Store Locator Map in a full screen map

Eartheasy is the wholesale distributor for LifeStraw in US and Canada. If you would like to carry it in your retail store, please email:
(503) 941-5063

Bass Pro Shops

(800) 227-7776

(212) 288-6240


(435) 749-2909

(800) 537-1339

(435) 578-1330

Clean Water Revival

(561) 340-4000

Clever Training

(727) 213-0008

(866) 792-6201

Discover Testing

(626) 359-8441

(888) 451-6752


(972) 955-3372

Energy Canteen

(828) 273-7863

(303) 915-4682

(778) 908-1841

Green Beetle Gear

(800) 506-9692

Grouse River Outfitters

(877) 547-6873


(727) 738-9635

Highwater Filters

(509) 685-0933

My Patriot

(866) 229-0927

Nuvona Premium

(888) 520-1030

Paragon Sports

(800) 961-3030

PrepareNow Outfitters

(800) 835-2966

(866) 820-9998

Solar Direct

(800) 333-9276

Survive It

(888) 222 0840

(604) 733-7888

Wholesale LifeStraw inquiries: Eartheasy is the wholesale distributor for LifeStraw in US and Canada, so if you’re looking to carry it in your retail store, please email

Call Toll-Free: 1-888-451-6752

EPA WaterSense Partner  Privacy Guaranteed  Better Business Bureau Members  Terrapass Carbon Balanced  Green America Co-Op Members  major payment methods accepted

© 2012 – All Rights Reserved


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