Our thirteen-week-old daughter had a very slightly dicky tummy, which was enough to make us wonder what the cause might be. One of the first things we needed to rule out was dodgy water in her bottles.

To make up the bottles, we boil freshly drawn water in our kettle. We leave it to cool for about half an hour (boiling water in plastic bottles can apparently release more Bisphenol A) before pouring it into freshly sterilised bottles, which are then sealed.

I remember advice for campers indicating that water should be boiled for some time to kill pathogens. Whilst our kettle boils the water thoroughly, it only maintains a rolling boil for a few seconds. The question is, does this kill the nasty microbes?

According to Survival Topics and The Backpacker's Field Manual by Rick Curtis

“Boiling is the most certain way of killing all micro-organisms. According to the Wilderness Medical Society, water temperatures above 160°F (70°C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185°F (85°C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212°F or 100°C) from 160°F (70°C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude.”

So that’s a yes.

An interesting aside: Reading about bacteria lead me to this article discussing how long bacteria survive on dry surfaces. The answer that you didn’t really want to know is that depending on the bacteria, they can live for days, weeks, months or years. So break out the anti-bac surface spray!

Oh – and our daughter’s dodgy tummy was caused by her starting to teethe. You live and learn.

Published 01/08/2008 Updated 12/05/2009 Tags Advice
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