Poor Bob Wallace, the 88 year old inventor of Polar Pure. Bob has been making, packaging and distributing Polar Pure, a crystal iodine based water purification solution, since 1983. I was first exposed to Polar Pure in 2000 when my son and I joined local boy scout troop 916. Polar Pure was the troop’s standard solution for wilderness water purification. A small bottle of Bob’s magic crystals was light to carry, never expired, and could treat over 2,000 quarts of water.
Working from his garage in Saratoga California, Bob became a folk hero to backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts, and natural disaster victims everywhere. His product, which has prevented countless cases of the runs, is now facing its own legal case of the runs from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
As of Dec 3rd., 2011, Bob’s website polarequipment.com notes:
We are currently in the process of new permitting requirements and are unable to ship Polar Pure at this time. We do not know how long this process will take or what the outcome will be – this is dependent on the governmental agencies involved.
So what did Polar Equipment do to warrant this unwelcome attention from the DEA. Nothing. The problem is that criminals might be purchasing and using his product in their illicit meth labs. Bob has been declared merely collateral damage by the DEA. According to the San Jose Mercury News:
“Methamphetamine is an insidious drug that causes enormous collateral damage,” wrote Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman. “If Mr. Wallace is no longer in business he has perhaps become part of that collateral damage, for it was not a result of DEA regulations, but rather the selfish actions of criminal opportunists. Individuals that readily sacrifice human lives for money.”
I doubt too many people are sticking up for rights of the meth labs, but what about the backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts, and natural disaster victims? What about Bob? Are we really willing to accept shutting down a product and destroying a career and company simply because the product might be used in an illegal manner? Seriously?
I am pretty sure Polar Pure could be transported to meth labs in cars. We should probably do something about that. And aren’t these meth labs usually in peoples homes? Seems like another opportunity for improvement. Since DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno seems quite content accepting collateral damage, I suggest we start by taking possession of both her car and her home. After all, it would all be in the name of fighting the potential of a future crime.
Or perhaps that logic is pure malarky. Or in poor Bob’s case, Polar Pure malarky.