The iodine kills the harmful bacteria in water. The iodine takes around 30 minutes to work in clear, warm water, and longer if the water is cold or not clear. The iodine leaves a strong flavor in the water, and is not recommended for use by pregnant women or people with thyroid problems.
Additionally iodine tablets are also used to prevent against radiation. Many iodine tablets were sent to Japan after the Fukushima Crisis started. Iodine tablets protect the body because the body needs iodine for the thyroid glands. Radioactive iodine or iodine-131is present in the steam from failing power plants. When this iodine is ingested our body sends it to the thyroid which can cause cancer. By already having the non-radioactive iodine it helps prevent our body from using the radioactive one.
Iodine is effective in killing bacteria in water because it denatures the proteins in the cell walls of bacteria and viruses. An example of protein denaturing is when you cook an egg – it goes from being clear to opaque, and the yolk becomes a lighter color. Basically, the amino acids within the proteins have been irreversibly altered in a chemical reaction, and it’s the same concept with iodine killing bacteria. The iodine irreversibly alters or damages the proteins of pathogens, “deactivating” or killing them.
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