We recently received an inquiry from a young scholar named ‘Bailey’ who asked, “In science class we learned that boiling water kills the bugs in water and makes it ok to drink. Does freezing it make ice safe to eat?”
In a word, NO. Freezing water does not make it safe for human consumption because some of the ‘bugs’ one may find in contaminated drinking water actually get preserved by the freezing process rather than killed or destroyed. Once the ice thaws and returns to a liquid state, the ‘bugs’ remain just as active a threat to human health as they were prior to getting frozen.
Contaminated ice and alcohol
OK, so freezing water does not make it necessarily safe for consumption… but what if you add, say, oh, we don’t know… some scotch, rum or vodka to the equation? Won’t the alcohol content render the ice safe?
In a word, NO. While some possible drinking water contaminants may die as a result exposure to alcohol, others will not.
Oh, and while on the topic of alcoholic drinks, when traveling in places where you assume the tap water may make you sick, you should also avoid any drinks that come with fruit or vegetable garnishes since they more than likely got washed using water from the local water supply.