Friday, October 26, 2007

The Steripen (Justin)

Is the water safe to drink in Chisinau? Not exactly. The locals don't actually drink large quantities of water, they mostly drink moderate amounts of hot tea. That's normal for this side of the world. It's a good thing as the local water infrastructure is actually in desperate need of repairs and upgrades.

As Americans who drink lots of water we either have to filter it, boil it, or buy it bottled... until now. Introducing (if you've never met it) The SteriPEN. Yes, it's the clever combination of two words: "sterile" and "pen." Clever, because it's shaped sort of like a pen and it makes water sterile to drink. It says so on the box, and we're still alive as further proof that it works!
Readers Digest named it one of the top 10 products of 2007 that will change your life. It changed ours, and Googling it shows us several other happy customers.

It uses UV light to kill microbes in water and can do up to a liter at a time. We bought a 1-liter bottle of Fanta, lopped off the top and voila. The light it emits isn't harmful to your eyes if you use a plastic or glass bottle, but our bottle is clear and the glare sort of frightens me. So, here I am wearing my UV-resistant sunglasses while I stir. It's a bright light, so I usually look away. Actually, I often wear sunglasses around the house because my wife is so hot. And I'm shady. (Take your pick in which one you believe, or believe both if you want).

You push a button, it lights up, runs for 90 seconds and you have clean water. No hassles with boiling water and waiting for it to cool. We then pour it right into our Brita filter (which we brought from home, but we discovered they sell them here too) and have happy, clean water.

We picked it up for $99 at Bass Pro Shops just before we left. That may sound expensive, but the amount we would have spent buying bottled water here over 5 months comes out to much more than that. We use rechargeable AA batteries and that saves us some money too.

If nothing else, the SteriPEN also entertains American houseguests. The only Moldovan that's seen it was scared of the water afterwards (think Chernobyl), so we don't show it to locals. We highly recommend it to anyone needing to filter water for traveling, camping, etc.


Jessica said...

That is pretty weird. Glad to hear you checked it out on the internet. I'm sure you made sure it was safe during pregnancy.

Serghei said...

Frankly speaking I think what you are doing is pretty useless. UV kills bacteria but since water in Chisinau is extensively treated with chlorine I dont think there are many bacteria left.
Chemical contamination is a lot bigger issue here because ApaCanal filters do little to prevent it. But SteriPen would not prevent it either. If you really need safe water you need to install reverse osmosis filter in your house.

JTapp said...

Although Chisinau water is treated with chlorine, it isn't treated as extensively as ours in the States. We hear too many stories of people getting sick from drinking the water here, and I've read too many World Bank reports about the state of the water system to believe in its reliability. We've also seen it come out muddy too many times to not use the SteriPEN. It kills the microbes, that's all we need. It's very useful, and more practical than having a big filter.

Serghei said...

Actually I've never heard any report of disenteria, cholera, E.coli or other types of bacteria being spread with Chisinau water. It makes me believe that it is treated quite adequately. I agree with you that it is muddy at times, and this is exactly what I call chemical contamination and that's why you don't need SteriPEN, but a good filter.
Also water supply systems are much better in big cities like Chisinau and Balti as compared to smaller places. There were indeed water poisoning cases in places like Soroca and Rezina. I agree with World Bank in assessment of country's water supply as a whole but I cant say that water in Chisinau is so bad.