Giardia Myth-Buster:


How Hearsay and Anecdotal Evidence has Created a False Industry Standard

By Erik Schlimmer

Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake in the Adirondacks. Image: Craig Cimmons

There are many things outdoor educators agree on. For example, a warm meal feels great at the end of the day. Cotton fabrics take forever to dry in the field and should thus be avoided. Most small groups generate less impact than large groups do. Mosquitoes and black flies come straight from hell. And, all backcountry water must be treated due to the presence of Giardia, a protozoan that has infested water sources throughout the United States, causing the debilitating gastrointestinal illness giardiasis.

Now, there is no denying hot meals are soothing, cotton kills, good things come in small packages, and camping during bug season is cruel and unusual punishment. But, has Giardia really infested our water sources? Ask this question to nearly any outdoor educator and you will receive a harried, “Oh, yes it has!” However, to the above question I calmly answer, “No, it has not.” I teach a curriculum that embraces drinking straight from the source.

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One Response to “Giardia Myth-Buster:”

  1. mtnspirit Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I learned a lot!

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