The most exciting and potentially important development in chemical treatment products was the introduction of a chlorine dioxide based treatment to the market, in 1999, under the trade name Aquamira.
To treat water, the user combines liquids from two separate bottles to produce a mixture, which is added to water. The mixture gives off chlorine dioxide gas, which is not a halogen but rather a powerful oxidizer unrelated to chlorine that has been used for decades in municipal water treatment systems.
Research from municipal water treatment plants suggests that chlorine dioxide has the potential to be an outstanding treatment product for backcountry and recreational travellers.
Not only does it kill bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, including Cryptosporidium, there are also no health risks because the only byproducts it leaves in drinking water are oxygen and a miniscule amount of salt.
Furthermore, from industrial usage, it is known that chlorine dioxide has the potential to reduce or eliminate some chemical contaminants, possibly including pesticides, nitrites and sulfites.
Although chlorine dioxide seems to be vastly superior to chlorine and iodine and its effectiveness against microorganisms has been proven in large water treatment plants, there are no independently verified lab results available yet to substantiate its effectiveness under recreational field conditions. This is particularly true with regards to chlorine dioxide’s ability to eliminate some chemical contaminants from water and its effectiveness, if any, against parasitic worm eggs and larvae. Chlorine dioxide products are also expensive in terms of the amount of water it treats compared to iodine and chlorine.