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home water filter

  • Filtered Tap Water, It's Not Just About Taste

    Even if you live in a city with a trusted public utility and water that tastes great right out of the tap, using a home water filter for drinking and cooking is a smart move for the health of your family.

    In the one of most comprehensive analyses of public drinking water utilities available, the non-profit Environmental Working Group ranked performance and safety of the utility and water supplies in America’s big cities (250,000 or more inhabitants). Even top ranked Arlington, TX had 15 different pollutants present in drinking water and exceeded health targets for 4 during the monitoring period. Lowest performing Pensacola, FL reported the presence of 45 pollutants and exceeded health guidelines for 21 of them.

    The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act regulates acceptable levels of 91 chemicals that might come out of your kitchen faucet. However, there are more than 60,000 chemicals in use in the United States. Getting a chemical onto the SDWA list can take years of review, as we’ve seen with chromium-6, which has been under review by the Environmental Protection Agency since 2008. In the mean time, more and more communities have discovered this potentially cancer-causing chemical in their water supply.

    According to EPA, common sources of drinking water pollution may be human-caused or naturally-occurring and include the following:

    Naturally Occurring

    Human Activities

    · microorganisms from wildlife and soils

    · radionuclides from underlying rock

    · nitrates and nitrites from nitrogen compounds in the soil

    · heavy metals from underground rocks containing

    o arsenic,

    o cadmium,

    o chromium,

    o lead, and

    o selenium

    · fluoride.

    · bacteria and nitrates from human and animal wastes—septic tanks and large farms

    · heavy metals from mining construction or older fruit orchards that used heavy metal pesticides

    · fertilizers and pesticides used on crops or lawns

    · industrial products and wastes from

    o local factories

    o industrial plants

    o gas stations

    o dry cleaners

    o leaking underground storage tanks

    o landfills, and

    o waste dumps

    · household wastes, including

    o cleaning solvents

    o used motor oil

    o paint

    o paint thinner and more

    · lead and copper from household plumbing materials

    · water treatment chemicals, including chlorine and chlorine byproducts

    To find out exactly what contaminants may be present in your water, you can contact your public water utility, which is required to publish an annual report for you, or consult the Environment Working Group tap water database.

    EWG's Top-Rated and Lowest-Rated Water Utlities - 2009

    TOP RATED WATER UTILITIES

    LOWEST RATED WATER UTILITIES

    1

    Arlington, TX
    Arlington Water Utilities

    100

    Pensacola, FL
    Emerald Coast Water Utility

    2

    Providence, RI
    Providence Water

    99

    Riverside, CA
    City of Riverside Public Utilities

    3

    Fort Worth, TX
    Fort Worth Water Department

    98

    Las Vegas, NV
    Las Vegas Valley Water District

    4

    Charleston, SC
    Charleston Water System

    97

    Riverside County, CA
    Eastern Municipal Water District

    5

    Boston, MA
    Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

    96

    Reno, NV
    Truckee Meadows Water Authority

    6

    Honolulu, HI
    Board of Water Supply
    (Honolulu/Windward/Pearl Harbor)

    95

    Houston, TX
    City of Houston Public Works

    7

    Austin, TX
    Austin Water Utility

    94

    Omaha, NE
    Metropolitan Utilities District

    8

    Fairfax County, VA
    Fairfax Water

    93

    North Las Vegas, NV
    City of North Las Vegas Utilities Department

    9

    St. Louis, MO
    City of St. Louis Water Division

    92

    San Diego, CA
    San Diego Water Department

    10

    Minneapolis, MN
    City of Minneapolis Water Department

    91

    Jacksonville, FL
    JEA

    A high quality water filter like the berkey home water filter can protect you from many of these chemicals and contaminants that are not being removed by your local water authority properly.

  • 19% of US Drinking Wells Contaminated According To USGS Study

    For the first time a national study has been conducted testing for potential trace contaminants in wells and aquifers. Conducted by the United States Geological Survey, it was found that overall 19 percent of the 5,183 tested untreated public, private and monitoring wells exceeded health-based safety standards. When private drinking water wells were removed from the data set, it was found that a surprising 13 percent of all private wells exceeded the health standards or guidelines. As a result, the report recommends homeowners consider purchasing a home water filter to purify their drinking water to protect themselves from these trace contaminants. According to the study, the estimate of those potentially at risk are 6.5 Million households, or approximately 26 Million people!

    A total of 20 trace elements were monitored in the study. The three that were shown to have the highest levels were Arsenic, Radon, and Manganese. These were not isolated to a couple regions, but rather found to be persistent nationwide stating, "Wells with human health benchmark exceedances were widespread across the United States; they occurred in all aquifer groups and in both humid and dry regions."  A copy of the study can be found here.

    The wells that were found to be most at risk were the private wells used by homeowners. This is due to the fact that these wells are not monitored by any agency and are not regulated. It is the homeowners responsibility to keep tabs on the water quality and for many reasons this is not commonly done. As a result, an increased amount of contaminants and health effecting trace minerals have seeped into these wells unnoticed.

    Arsenic Well Contamination

    Here we show the study results in map form for Arsenic:

    Arsenic Well Contamination Levels

    Arsenic

    According to the EPA website on the dangers of arsenic,  "Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate."

    Joseph Ayotte, one of the researchers and a hydrologist with the U.S.G.S. states "It was a bit surprising how many of these trace elements had exceedances of human health benchmarks, especially compared to other contaminants we are often concerned about. The findings certainly underscore the message we hear from the public health agencies, that everyone should test their wells for a suite of trace elements." For interested customers, the Berkey PF-2 filters are used inside the lower chamber of our home water filter system for removing arsenic from the water.

    Radon Well Contamination

    Here we show the study results in map form for Radon:

    Radon Well Contamination Levels

    Radon

    According to the EPA website on Radon; "Radon in water is only a concern if your drinking water comes from underground, such as a well that pumps water from an aquifer. Breathing radon in indoor air can cause lung cancer. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe it.. ..radon in indoor air is the second leading cause of lung cancer." This statement directly corresponds to the radon dangers this study has found.

    Joseph Ayotte makes another statement many should pay heed to. He states, "We often get more upset about these anthropogenic contaminants but we have to remember that these naturally occurring elements are often times more of a widespread problem. Not to diminish the importance of the others, but trace elements are also hugely important and arguably more so."  This is in large portion due to the fact that these trace elements build up in the body over time and can cause a slow degradation of health. This can be more dangerous as an individual can experience a slow growing health issue over many years. That individual and their doctor may struggle to isolate the root cause and not recognize that it could be harmful trace elements from their own well water. With this many Americans potentially at risk, we also strongly advocate that home owners take the necessary steps to test their wells on a yearly basis. We also recommend a home water filter like the berkey to remove these harmful trace elements from the water.

    One additional poignant USGS statement was that harmful elements "far outpace" other pollutants, many of which get far more public attention. Based on previous USGS research, this 19 percent of wells that were discovered in this study compare with 7 percent of wells contaminated with nitrates and 1 to 2 percent for pesticides and volatile organic compounds.

    Manganese Well Contamination

    Here we show the study results in map form for Manganese:

    Manganese Well Contamination Levels

    Manganese

    The EPA does not have primary health risks associated with Manganese, rather they set secondary standards due to impacts "such as the corrosion of iron and copper, may stain household fixtures, and impart objectionable metallic taste and red or blue-green color to the water supply as well. Corrosion of distribution system pipes can reduce water flow."  Manganese can have a "black to brown color; black staining; bitter metallic taste"

    Protection With a Home Water Filter

    The primary question we have to ask ourselves is: How have these concentrations gotten so high putting so many US citizens at risk, and how does one protect their family? There are two primary causes for these major well changes; natural chemical evolution / groundwater age, and pollution.

    The geochemistry of groundwater changes in time due to the contact with it's aquifer materials. This constant change and reactions with minerals is considered chemical evolution. Basically, the longer the water has been in contact with the aquifer, the more chemically evolved it is deemed to be and thus the greater concentrations of these trace minerals, some of which are harmful to the body such as arsenic and radon. Not stressed enough in this report is the fact that the study analysis is based on NAWQA (National Water-Quality Assessment) Program data collected from 1992 to 2003. Given the statements in the report and prior historical data, our feeling is that these harmful levels have most likely inclined, not declined since this data was collected.

    In addition, while not discussed nor a focus of the USGS study, a major and still growing problem is pollution. As our lands continue to be treated with fertilizers and chemicals, in concert with continued land development, population growth, and industry pollution we experience an ever increasing trickling of chemical waste into our groundwater systems and waterways. Many of these chemicals seep and soak through the sediment impacting our wells directly. However, they also contaminate the wells indirectly by surface water runoff flowing into the underground waterway systems and ultimately finding their resting spots in karsts and water aquifers that these wells feed off of. The reality is that has been a growing problem for decades now. We've stressed the importance of conservation of karsts before as most folks do not realize that once these groundwater supplies are contaminated naturally or by human pollution, it is very difficult and expensive to reverse the condition. Regardless, protection with a home water filter is essential for homeowners whose wells have been compromised by these harmful trace minerals or chemical pollutants.

  • Outdated Water Infrastructures May Be A Health Hazard

    Water treatment plants are charged with keeping our water free of bacteria, poisonous chemicals, parasites and other waterborne toxins. However, keeping facilities manned, maintained and up to date is not cheap and requires substantial taxpayer dollars. Even in communities with state of the art treatment facilities, the infrastructure that connects these facilities to homes, businesses, and schools is often in dire need of repair and maintenance.

    Extreme rainfall can deluge sewage systems, especially those systems that are called upon to manage both waste water and storm water runoff. Storm water and wastewater can then mix and overflow, ultimately resulting in contaminated drinking water.

    The problem is further complicated by limited taxpayer dollars set to the backdrop of towns and states facing major budget shortfalls. In Pittsburgh for example, officials are debating over how to fund needed updates to both their water treatment facilities and maintenance of sewer lines which were installed in 1912.

    The condition of infrastructure in Pennsylvania and across the nation has been in the spotlight as federal stimulus dollars begin to dry up. The 2010 Report Card recently released by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Pennsylvania's water and waste water management systems failing grades. Local governments are looking to the Commonwealth's H2O funding announcements to help cover a small portion, but it is estimated that more than $25 billion will be required. Meanwhile, as this gets worked out, the risks to your health ever increase without a home water filter.

    The results of a recent study indicate that it may not even take a severe rain event to cause contamination of tap water. Dr. Marc Gorelick, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, led a group of researchers that studied the incidence of illnesses following rainfall.

    The study reviewed data detailing the number of emergency room visits by children due to gastroenteritis or diarrhea. Children were studied because they, along with the elderly and those in poor health, are the first ones to become ill following an assault upon their immune systems. Researchers found that the average number of emergency room visits increased by 11 percent for four days after any amount of rainfall. The study concluded that the incidence of waterborne illnesses occur more frequently even after comparatively mild rain events.

    Study collaborator Sandra McLellan is a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee’s Great Lakes W.A.T.E.R. Institute (Wisconsin Aquatic Technology and Environmental Research). According to McLellan, water leaving Milwaukee’s treatment plant is very high quality. Dr. Gorelick stated that the mystery “is what happens to water between the time it leaves the treatment plant and gets to your tap.”

    The answer to that mystery likely lies in an aging infrastructure of pipes used to transport water. These pipes are kept under pressure and are designed to keep contaminants out of the treated water. However, this pressure can fail after a water main break results in a breach. This can also be an issue after rainfall saturates the surrounding soil, allowing contaminated water to leach into the piping system. In this way, even moderate rainfall or water events can contribute to drinking water contamination.

    These variables affect water after it leaves the treatment plant and makes it difficult to guarantee that water exiting the tap will be consistently safe. For this reason, spending the time and resources finding a home water filter should be a top priority.

  • Berkey Filters Are The Premiere Home Water Filter

    Clean drinking water is essential to one’s health. To prevent sickness and bacteria spreading in our homes, our loved ones need fresh clean water to drink every day. That is why a handy home water filter is required in every home. The best and most proven home water filter we've found is the Berkey water filter.

    Home water filters are used to filter treated or untreated water inside or outside the home to produce pure water for safe drinking. These great machines have been tested and proven to eliminate water borne bacteria that can cause various ailments. A Berkey water filter has all the high purification functions desired, along with smooth and elegant designs to match any kitchen style you have at your lovely home. It has been in the market for over 100 years and has proven to be one of the best water filters on the market.

    All of the stainless Berkey home water filters are produced with the highest quality 304 grade stainless steel, durable enough to last for decades. This high-grade material allows for fast and easy cleaning while also maintaining a great look on your counter top.

    Our most popular system, the Big Berkey home water filter, stands 19.25 inches tall and 8.5 inches in diameter, holding up to 2.25 gallons of water. This fantastic system is operated with no pressure or electricity and can filter 3.5 gallons of water in an hour. It has two chambers, an upper chamber and a lower chamber,that are both very important to the filtration process. Unfiltered water is poured into the upper chamber and is pushed through the black berkeys filter elements located inside the system via gravity. Once purified, this clean water drops into the lower chamber and then awaits use.

    Berkey home water filters will remove bacteria such as salmonella, e-coli, and cholera, in addition to eradicating rust and other heavy metals in the water that can have negative impacts on the body. Through a short procedure, this handy machine will provide you with clean purified water as well as saving you from the costs of potential sicknesses caused by unwanted chemicals and contamination.

    The great advantage of using a Berkey home water filter is its flexible function. There are instances when unpredictable occurrences such as natural disasters and power blackouts can place our families at risk. Berkey water filters can protect them from the dangers of unsafe water during these times as it requires no electricity.

    People all over the United States are becoming more practical these days purchasing only the necessities for achieving health and happiness.  The Berkey home water filter is one of these necessities providing the healthiest water for you and your family at a reasonable cost

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