Don’t Let Bottled Water or Water Filters Fool you

Industry, agriculture and the general public use over 70,000 different chemicals. Many of which can be found in our environment today, polluting the air we breathe, the soil in which we produce our crops, our lakes, rivers and streams. Many of these toxic contaminants are finding their way to our drinking water sources.

Amazing as it may seem, municipal water treatment facilities are only required to test for 68 of these contaminants. 51% of the U.S. population do not believe that federal laws governing drinking water quality are strict enough. Many people today drink bottled water or use drinking water filters.

Bottled water is heavy to handle, inconvenient and expensive to buy. Most bottled water is of good quality. Some is not as “pure” as they would like us to believe. The Natural Resources Defense Council studied a number of bottled waters and found the vast majority of the waters tested to be good quality drinking water. Approximately 25% was actually nothing but tap water. A few of the waters tested were found to contain contaminants of health concern.

The source of bottled water can be misleading at times. Just because the label displays a picture of a mountain stream, this doesn’t mean it was the source of the water. Read the label and the cap of the bottle, usually the actual source will be indicated. If your intention is to use bottled water as an alternative to tap water, purchase the high quality waters.

The other option is a water filter. There are over 400 companies that manufacture and sell water filtration products that treat contaminants found in our drinking water. Most of these products only reduce chlorine to some degree. Only a few companies produce filters that actually reduce pesticides, herbicides and other chemical contaminants of health concern.

NSF International (National Science Foundation) tests and certifies water purification filters to meet certain standards and all claims of performance the manufacturer makes. Any manufacturer of water filtration products that meet the NSF standards are proud to advertise that fact. NSF certifies what the filtration device can reduce, this does not mean the contaminants listed are in your water supply.

Choosing a water filtration system can be tricky to say the least. There are a number of factors to consider in comparing drinking water filters. The first consideration should be the NSF Certification. Always review the NSF Certification of the product to verify that it will meet your needs. Manufacturer’s certifications can be viewed on the NSF website.

Quality is a key factor in choosing any drinking water filtration system. A quality system will last for years, saving replacement cost. Quality systems do not come cheap, but in the long run they are definitely the best buy and offer more value in contaminant reduction. Most high quality systems are very efficient, and reduce contaminants to the highest degree. Always look for a system that is certified to reduce Bacterial Cysts, Chlorine, Heavy Metals, Herbicides, Pesticides and a vast array of other contaminants.

Also check the lifespan of the filter itself, as replacement filters can be very costly. If the filter has a high capacity rating it will last longer, requiring fewer filter changes, therefore reducing costs.

Loose carbon filters should not even be considered as they are a breeding ground for bacterial growth, have a very short filter lifespan and are very ineffective.

Solid carbon block filters are highly effective, do not remove the healthy minerals from water, doesn’t require electricity and generally have a high capacity rating. Check the micron rating, 0.5 is is very good. A 0.5 micron filter will effectively reduce particulate matter and bacterial cysts. The NSF certification will tell you which contaminants the filter will reduce and to what degree.

Some people prefer reverse osmosis which can reduce additional contaminants. Please note: reverse osmosis removes minerals from the water. It’s a good idea to take a vitamin/mineral supplement when using this type of filter on a regular basis to replace the healthy minerals removed from the water. Reverse Osmosis also reduces fluoride, which is a good thing. There is no need for fluoride in your drinking water.

Determine what technology is used in the pre-filters and the after filter. Many reverse osmosis units use solid carbon block technology in addition to the RO membrane. An additional filter, such as a solid carbon block, is recommended just prior to the faucet. Again, check the NSF Certification and take into consideration the filter life capacities..

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Patti Wilson

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