J. D. Heyes
Feb 11, 2013
Have you ever heard of a product called Polar Pure Water Disinfectant? If the state of California and the Drug Enforcement Administration have their way, you may never hear of it again.
First, a little history.
According to the company’s website, the product was developed in the late 1970s by Bob Wallace, the founder, as he sought “an effective form of water treatment to use during a climb of Popocatapetl Volcano in Mexico.” After doing a bit of research, Wallace came upon an article by a pair of physicians – Frederick Kahn and Barbara Visscher – both of whom became infected with giardia on a climb near Los Angeles, Calif. Writing in Backpacker Magazine. the M.D.s recommended treating water with iodine to prevent similar infections.
Realizing that the risks of water-borne pathogens was very high in Mexico, Wallace decided to give the iodine a try; he made his climb and returned home without becoming sick.
The results inspired him to “create a product that would allow others to easily disinfect their water no matter where they were,” said the company website. So Wallace began working on a formula after thoroughly researching the information Kahn and Visscher had published, as well as other sources. The result was Polar Pure Water Disinfectant.
What started out as a good idea…
Originally, the company said it intended its product to be used primarily by backpackers but as time passed, others began using it to treat their water when they traveled to foreign countries, during survival training in the military and, most recently, “as an important and essential addition to emergency preparedness kits.”
Per the company’s website:
Each bottle of Polar Pure contains a small amount of crystalline iodine. When water is added to the bottle, a saturated solution of iodine is created and used to disinfect a quart/liter bottle of water. When used as directed, the Polar Pure solution kills not only giardia but viruses and bacteria as well. An economical, effective and unique product, one small bottle of Polar Pure is capable of treating up to 2000 quarts of water.
Enter the nanny state, an inflexible leviathan whose one-size-fits-all regulatory approach is, by design, simply incapable of distinguishing good and bad behavior.
Iodine, you see, is used by producers of methamphetamine, so the DEA reclassified it as a “controlled substance,” heavily regulating its use. And that decision effectively put Polar Pure out of business.
“The DEA and the State of CA implemented stricter regulations for iodine as well as many other products in an attempt to control possible diversion for illicit use,” the company said in a lengthy post last year explaining why they are no longer able to manufacture and sell their product. “While individuals still find an illicit way around the regulations to continue to manufacture meth, we are unable to purchase iodine for the legitimate purpose of manufacturing Polar Pure.”
On its website, the company chronicled its painful odyssey through the regulatory appeal process until the end of August, when owners of the small, family-run business hit their final roadblock.
‘Most out of control federal agency’
“We met yesterday in Sacramento, CA with Richard Lopes, Assistant Director, Department of Justice, CA, to discuss our product, Polar Pure, and the current issues that we have been trying to solve in order to get back in business,” said an Aug. 31, 2012 post. “We met with Mr. Lopes for about an hour in an effort to help him to understand the effectiveness and importance of Polar Pure as a choice for water disinfection. We discussed the history of our small family company, Polar Equipment, Inc., and how Polar Pure works to disinfect water. In addition, we explained how the current state and federal regulations have, negatively impacted the availability of Polar Pure and, subsequently, your inability to purchase an important and effective water treatment product.”
Nothing happened. To date, the company remains unable to sell its product.
That’s because, according to Stephen Downing, a former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the DEA is one of the most out-of-control federal agencies because it receives so little oversight.
“Within the controlled substances act, the DEA is given authority over chemicals as they come up,” he told Reason magazine in May. “To make it easy for federal enforcement people to so called, do their job and make their quotas and have their show-and-tells, they pass these regulations that impact innocent people.”
That includes 88-year-old Bob Wallace’s business.
This article was posted: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm