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Big Berkey Water Filters

  • Berkey Water Filters and TDS Readings

    Many customers experience an increase in TDS readings during the initial break-in of the black berkey filters. Since we often get the question asking why this occurs, we decided to provide a more in-depth and scientific explanation.

    Total dissolved solids (TDS) is the combination of all inorganic and organic contents contained in a liquid having a molecular, ionized, or micro-granular (colloidal sol) dissolved form. Total dissolved solids are normally only discussed for freshwater systems, since salinity comprises some of the ions constituting the definition of TDS. The principal application of TDS is in the study of water quality for streams, rivers and lakes, although TDS is not generally considered as a primary pollutant (e.g. it is not deemed to be associated with health effects), but it is rather used as an indication of aesthetic characteristics of drinking water and as an aggregate indicator of presence of a broad array of chemical and mineral contaminants that could be in water.


    The Black Berkey element formula utilizes two ingredients that will add TDS to any water passing through the elements. Firstly, all filters that utilize any form of carbon in their formulation increase TDS, as carbon fines (invisible) will attach to water as it passes through the element. Many filters utilize nano-sized particulate in high quality carbon micro fines to create the outer "mean porosity" and interior tortuosity of the block or cross section of the filter elements. Several tests are performed on automated lines to insure exact porosity and final destructive tests determine the durability of the element. Two of these tests purge or remove most of these fines, which enable the flow of water through the element through open micropores. Additional fines are removed during purging, however there may still be some non-harmful nano size carbon micro fines present in the water after filtration.

    The Drinking Water Regulations in the United States typically regulate TDS not to discover micro fines of carbon but rather unsuspecting organic and inorganic chemicals along with other micro pollutants. TDS cannot help define any one category of constituent detected in liquids or water, only the presence of a total amount of dissolved solids, whether harmful or not.

    The second and probably most common reason for increased TDS in water run through a Black Berkey element is the ion exchange media. Ions are a form of TDS, and as indicated above, are found in sea water and in water subject to any substance that ionizes liquids and or air (air ionizers) etc. There are millions of ions in the air and they are essential to life. Ions do not comprise a health risk but rather, a health benefit. While TDS will likely be on the very low should continue to exist for the life of the filter.

    Another simple test would be to test water before and after a pass through an inexpensive Carafe style water filter. You will observe the same increase in TDS.

    We hope this helps with any questions or concerns. TDS is actually the least effective type of test to determine whether water is suitable to drink. In actuality, most involved in this type of discussion are unaware and don't understand the variety of sciences concerning water filtration. Typically this type of discussion arises from those promoting the use of RO and Distillation methods, which drastically reduce TDS. Unfortunately, such water is acidic, is never found in nature, and therefore can confuse the body, which typically will attempt to re-mineralize such water by robbing essential minerals from the body. For more information on this issue please see the below references:

  • Are Antibacterial Soaps Doing More Harm Than Good?

    Triclosan, an antimicrobial additive commonly used in toiletries (including hand soaps and some toothpastes), cleaning agents and other household products, is causing concern amongst some health officials. In Minnesota they have even taken the drastic step of banning this germ-killing agent from hand soaps that are produced for the consumer market effective 2017.  An article titled 'Triclosan Under the Microscope', which was recently published in the American Chemical Society's weekly magazine, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), investigates whether these concerns are justified.

    soap and hands triclosan

    When triclosan was first introduced onto the market it was used exclusively in hospitals and other health care environments as an antimicrobial agent to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease. Triclosan is in fact a pesticide -- it kills tiny critters that could potentially make us ill. But it was considered a more harmless option for use as a surgical scrub compared to the biocides that were being used before it was available. However, once it became the standard antimicrobial agent in hospitals, it was marketed to consumers and soon become available to the masses. Today it is added to a wide range of toiletries, including toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, hand soaps and detergents, as well as general household products that we use on a daily basis, such as cutting boards, tooth brushes, toys and carpets, to name a few. In one study 75% of the studies participants had triclosan in their urine samples. So what?

    According the EPA, triclosan is unlikely to pose a health threat to most people who come into contact with it. However, triclosan may accumulate in the system of certain individuals who are unable to metabolize the compound, who would then have higher levels of triclosan in their blood. Studies on animals have shown that triclosan can cause hormone disruptions and negatively affect the heart and muscles. The most vulnerable members of the population are breastfeeding babies and developing fetuses in the wombs of pregnant women with high exposure levels. Concerns of breast cancer have also been raised as a result of some lab tests.

    Triclosan can also potentially lead to antibiotic resistance, which is another area of concern. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questions whether triclosan actually plays a significant- if any role in reducing infections, and has proposed stricter regulations that require manufacturers of antibacterial body wash and hand soap to prove that their products are more beneficial than ordinary soap and water in reducing the spread of infection and preventing illness.

    “Antibacterial soaps and body washes are used widely and frequently by consumers in everyday home, work, school, and public settings, where the risk of infection is relatively low,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) in a statement. “Due to consumers’ extensive exposure to the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit from using antibacterial soap to balance any potential risk.”

    Considering that after washing your hands with antibacterial soap or using an antimicrobial body wash in the shower, this soapy water -- now laced with the antibacterial agent (read pesticide) triclosan -- then flows down the plughole and enters the sewer, freshwater systems and/or soils, it also has environmental implications. Furthermore, as it may not break down readily in the environment, it is becoming increasingly likely that you may also be exposed this pesticide as a drinking water contaminant.

  • Fracking Wastewater Disposal Induces Earthquakes in Oklahoma

    Natural gas may be hailed as the next big thing, and is considered by some to be the answer to our energy problems. But it brings with it its own set of problems, many of which are far greater than energy/fuel shortages. Problems associated with fracking and fracking wastewater disposal include health and safety concerns, largely as a result of groundwater/drinking water contamination and methane leaking into the atmosphere, which happens to be one of the worst greenhouse gases. The recent spike in seismic activity and associated earthquakes in some states where fracking activity is prolific, has also been blamed on fracking activities.

    earthquake damage

    Oklahoma has seen a dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes since 2009, which according to a recent study published in Science (3rd July, 2014), is likely the result of subsurface injection of fracking wastewater at only a few wastewater disposal wells.

    According to lead author, Katie Keranen, a professor of geophysics at Cornell University, approximately half of all seismicity recorded in eastern and central USA between 2008-2013 occurred in Oklahoma; many of the quakes recorded occurred in areas where there is a high rate of subterranean wastewater disposal.

    Induced seismicity is one of the primary challenges for expanded shale gas and unconventional hydrocarbon development. Our results provide insight into the process by which the earthquakes are induced and suggest that adherence to standard best practices may substantially reduce the risk of inducing seismicity," said Keranen. "The best practices include avoiding wastewater disposal near major faults and the use of appropriate monitoring and mitigation strategies.

    According to the study's findings:

    • After analyzing pore pressure increase models for relocated earthquake hypo-centers, the study concludes that just four of Oklahoma's wastewater disposal wells (roughly 0.05% of wastewater disposal wells) that account for the highest volumes of wastewater could be responsible for triggering around 20% of earthquakes experienced in central USA over an area of around 1240 square miles.
    • Earthquakes can be triggered at distances more than 20 miles from wastewater disposal wells, which far exceeds the current criteria of 3 miles from wastewater disposal wells for diagnosing induces seismic activity.
    • The area of pressure increase relating to these wastewater disposal wells is continually expanding, thus increasing the likelihood of converging with a large geological fault, which further increases the danger of inducing an earthquake of higher magnitude.

    Earthquake and subsurface pressure monitoring should be routinely conducted in regions of wastewater disposal and all data from those should be publicly accessible. This should also include detailed monitoring and reporting of pumping volumes and pressures," said Keranen. "In many states the data are more difficult to obtain than for Oklahoma; databases should be standardized nationally. Independent quality assurance checks would increase confidence.3

    Journal Reference:
    K. M. Keranen, M. Weingarten, G. A. Abers, B. A. Bekins, and S. Ge. Sharp increase in central Oklahoma seismicity since 2008 induced by massive wastewater injection. Science, 3 July 2014 DOI: 10.1126/science.1255802

  • Fracking Chemicals Disrupt Hormones Much More Than Initial Studies Revealed

    Many industrial chemicals that are used in the hydro-fracking process are known to be hormone disruptors that negatively affect reproductive hormones in humans. A recent study has now revealed that they can also disrupt thyroid and glucocorticoid hormone receptors, which play a vital role in maintaining optimal health.

    According to researcher Christopher Kassotis, a PhD student at the University of Missouri, Columbia:

    Among the chemicals that the fracking industry has reported using most often, all 24 that we have tested block the activity of one or more important hormone receptors. The high levels of hormone disruption by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that we measured, have been associated with many poor health outcomes, such as infertility, cancer and birth defects.


    Kassotis points out that any wastewater spills that occur during the fracking operations -- which involves pumping vast amounts of water mixed with chemicals into the ground to crack open rocks deep underground to release the shale gas trapped within -- could contaminate both surface water and groundwater sources.

    In a previous study, the researchers examined water samples collected from fracking sites in Garfield County, Colorado, where spills were known to have occurred, and compared them to water samples collected from areas situated some distance from hydro-fracking sites. The water samples collected from the drilling sites spills exhibited moderate to high levels of EDC chemicals that disrupted both female (estrogen) hormones and male (androgen) hormones, while the water samples collected in areas distant from fracking operations had little effect on human reproduction hormones.

    This latest study expands on the earlier research to gain a better understanding of whether fracking chemicals disrupts other vital hormone receptors in the human body besides the estrogen and androgen reproductive hormone receptors (receptors are cellular proteins that hormones bind to in order to carry out their function). The researchers were particularly interested to see whether the chemicals had any effect on the following hormones: progesterone, glucocorticoid, and thyroid, which respectively play vital roles in reproduction; immune response and fertility; and metabolism, brain development and maintaining good health.

    After testing 24 the hormone disrupting ability of the most common hydro-fracking chemicals the researchers found the following:

    • 20 prohibited estrogen from binding to the cellular protein receptor, and thus disrupted natural functioning
    • 17 blocked the androgen receptor
    • 10 chemicals inhibited the progesterone receptor
    • 10 chemicals inhibited the glucocorticoid receptor
    • 7 chemicals inhibited the thyroid receptor

    According to Kassotis, these chemicals have not been measured in local drinking water samples. Although they may not show up in the same high concentrations in drinking water at areas situated in close proximity to drilling sites, he cautions that tested drinking water typically contains an array of EDCs, and when these chemicals are mixed together their hormone-disrupting effects can be exacerbated and become far worse than that of any of these chemicals acting alone.

    We don't know what the adverse health consequences might be in humans and animals exposed to these chemicals," Kassotis said, "but infants and children would be most vulnerable because they are smaller, and infants lack the ability to break down these chemicals.

  • Pollutants in Urban Rivers Suppress Chick Development

    A new study has revealed that hormone disrupting contaminants found in urban waterways are stunting the development of wild bird chicks and having a negative impact on the health of wild bird populations nesting on urban river banks in South Wales.

    The results of the study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, shows that urban Eurasian Dipper chicks -- a bird that dwells near rivers and depends entirely on insects, invertebrates and fish from upland streams for its survival -- weigh much less compared to chicks of the same species sampled at rural nests.


    Birds nesting along urban rivers also have disrupted hormones, and fewer females are being produced in urban populations compared to their rural counterparts. Biologists are concerned that this could ultimately negatively impact future breeding and survival of the affected urban populations.

    Mad-Made Pollutants Hurting The Wildlife

    After analyzing the available data, the research team consisting of biologists from the Universities of Saskatchewan, Cardiff and Exeter, and the Natural Environment Research Council, concluded that urban pollutants such as PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) chemicals used in flame-retardants and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that the birds ingest with the food they eat are the culprits. The results of the study showed that PBDE and PCB contamination was strongly correlated to a reduction in thyroid hormone levels in urban chicks -- with one particular thyroid hormone level being as much as 43% lower than chicks assessed along rural rivers.

    "Our findings are important in showing that pollutants are still a source of concern for the wildlife along Britain's urban rivers despite very major recovery from the gross pollution problems of the past", said Professor Steve Ormerod from Cardiff University School of Biosciences, a co-author of the paper, who has been researching river systems for 35 years. "Wild birds, such as dippers, are very important indicators of environmental well-being and food-web contamination, and we need to know if populations, other species – or even people - are also at risk."

    While this study is UK based, these are common urban pollutants and the implications to wildlife and possibly human health is universal.

    "We've known for some time that endocrine disrupting substances – the so-called 'gender-bending' chemicals from sewage and other waste water – can affect normal sex development in fish," said lead author Dr Christy Morrissey from the University of Saskatchewan's School of Environment and Sustainability. "These are some of the first data to show that PCBs and PBDEs might be causing thyroid disruption in wild birds and interfering with normal animal development."

    Previous studies conducted by the researchers have shown that Dippers residing along once heavily polluted urban rivers are exposed to a concoction of chemical pollutants, dominated primarily by PCBs and PBDEs -- both known endocrine disruptors. Scientists have recognized that changes in thyroid hormone levels can be used to predict developmental effects in wildlife resulting from exposure to these contaminants.
    Exposure to thyroid hormone disrupters can affect birds in various ways, including: stunted growth; impaired immune system; impaired cognitive ability; abnormal behavior and motor activity that can continue through to the adult life-stage.

    Dipper Birds Are An Indicator Species

    Dippers are apex predators, and are therefore a valuable indicator species that can be used to monitor river health and to assess whether urban pollutants are having an impact on wildlife reproduction and the development of young. The biologists plan to continue this research, with the next phase examining whether the changes in thyroid hormone levels and sex ratios will impact the fitness and survival of individual birds, and whether this could impact the dynamics of the broader population. Another key focus is to pin-point the exact source/s of the contamination.

    John Clark, a Futurescape Officer at the Royal Society for the Protections of Birds (RSPBs), sums up the findings: "The return of Dippers to urban rivers is a fantastic outcome of pollution reduction in the UK. However, this study highlights the importance of birds as an indicator that some pollutants still persist in our rivers at harmful levels. We need to work in partnership with water companies, regulators, statutory agencies and communities at a catchment scale to address those practices that continue to introduce damaging chemicals to our rivers."

    Journal Reference:
    Christy A. Morrissey, David W.G. Stanton, Charles R. Tyler, M. Glória Pereira, Jason Newton, Isabelle Durance, Steve J. Ormerod. Developmental impairment in eurasian dipper nestlings exposed to urban stream pollutants. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/etc.2555

  • The Relationship Between Snow and Streamflow

    A new study has revealed that water levels of rivers in watersheds fed by snowmelt are significantly dependent on what percentage of the precipitation consists of snowfall. What this in effect means, is that with climate change induced localized warming, if there is less snow falling – even if this is replaced by rainfall – less water will flow through the rivers than is currently the case.

    The research study, which was conducted by Wouter Berghuijs, who is completing his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol, together with two research associates, was published online in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change.


    What Affect Does Snow Have on Water Levels in Rivers?

    Currently relatively little is known about river flow mechanisms of rivers sited in snowy areas. Past studies have focused largely on the role that snowfall plays in determining seasonal streamflow rates during a specific period or time of the year, assuming that snowfall did not affect the average streamflow rates. This is the first study to look at the role that snow plays in determining the average flow rates of rivers in catchments fed by snow.

    Analyzing historical records from hundreds of catchment areas spread across the US, the research team assessed the effect of snowmelt in relation to the volume of water discharged by rivers. Their results have revealed that snowfall plays an important role in the average rate of water discharged by rivers.

    We are very likely to see a significant reduction in snowfall due to climate warming in future – even with a temperature increase of just 2°C – which could in turn have a significant impact on catchments that rely on snowmelt. The study suggests that there will be a reduction in water levels and flow rates of affected rivers due to a temperature induced decrease in the amount of snow feeding these river systems.

    According to the authors: “With more than one-sixth of the Earth's population depending on meltwater for their water supply, and ecosystems that can be sensitive to streamflow alterations, the socio-economic consequences of a reduction in streamflow can be substantial.”

    This can have a serious impact on the availability of drinking water as well as other sectors that depend on this water supply.

    “Our finding is particularly relevant to regions where societal important functions, such ecosystem stability, hydropower, irrigation, and industrial or domestic water supply are derived from snowmelt,” said the authors.

    Considering the importance of streamflow rates and the potential impact on society should there be drastic changes in streamflow, the research team have proposed that further investigation is necessary to enable us to respond to a temperature induced shift in precipitation from snowfall to rainfall so that we can cope with the consequences in the event of such as shift.

    Journal Reference: A precipitation shift from snow towards rain leads to a decrease in streamflow, W. R. Berghuijs, R. A.Woods and M. Hrachowitz, Nature Climate Change, Vol 4, June 2014.

  • New Berkey Filter Calculator App Launched

    We are excited to announce the release of our Berkey Calculator Phone/Tablet app for both Apple and Android devices. This calculator provides a quick calculation based upon your daily usage and how many filters you have installed. It answers the age old Berkey question "When should I replace my berkey filters?" and will let you know whether your filters need replacing or tell you approximately how many months you have left.

    This Berkey Filter Calculator app covers the popular black berkey and PF-2 fluoride filters, in addition to the older generation 7" and 9" white ceramic filters.  Also, don't forget you can also always verify black berkey filter performance by performing a red food coloring test on them.  Below are some screenshots of the app.

    Iphone appiphone app 2unnamed


    For Apple users, the app can be found here.  For Android users, the app can be found here.

  • E. coli Bacterial Contamination: What are the Health Risks?

    There have been a series of health scares related to E. coli bacterial contamination across the country in the past few weeks including recalls of ground beef, hamburgers, sprouts and hummus products. In the latest incident, the Portland Water Bureau issued a Boil Water notice, urging the approximately 670,000 people affected to boil water used for drinking, brushing teeth, food preparation or making ice, after three water samples tested positive for traces of E. coli bacteria.


    The timing of the Portland Water scare coincided with the Rose Festival City Fair along the Portland waterfront, and thus also negatively affected vendors, who were instructed to dispose of any food and/or drink products that contained tap water due to concerns that the water may be contaminated. According to a CNN report, municipal reservoirs have since been cleaned and disinfected, however, the source of the contamination is still unknown.

    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there are several strains of E. coli bacteria, and while most are harmless, some strains produce Shiga toxin – referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) – which causes disease in humans. In the US there are around 265,000 STEC bacterial infections every year, with E. coli O157:H7 being the most prolific strain, causing more than 36% of all bacterial infections.

    People of any age can become infected, but children under 5 years, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most vulnerable to developing severe symptoms upon contracting the disease. Symptoms of a bacterial STEC infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting, and vary in severity with some being mild while other infections may be life-threatening. Between 5-10% of people who contract a STEC infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that requires immediate medical attention, as it can result in permanent kidney damage, or worse still, kidney failure and death.

    How is E. coli Transmitted

    Disease causing E. coli bacteria can be transmitted via ingesting contaminated food or water, through contact with human or animal feces, or direct contact with people or animals that are infected with the bacteria. Drinking water may become contaminated if human or animal feces gets into the water supply. E. coli bacteria is also used as a marker to indicate water contamination in municipal drinking water systems, as even if the strain of E. coli itself is not harmful to humans, their presence is an indication that the water has not been adequately sanitized and could pose a health risk.

    Preventative Measures

    The CDC recommends taking the following precautions to prevent E. coli infection:

    1. Practice Good Hygiene – Always wash your hands after changing your baby's diaper or using the bathroom, as well as after touching animals, cleaning animal pens/cages, or coming in contact with an area where animals are housed, such as petting zoos, farms, fair grounds, or even your own pet's living quarters.
    2. Keep food preparation areas clean by washing hands, counter-tops, cutting boards and knives or other utensils used when handling, preparing or cutting raw meat.
    3. Avoid eating raw meat – Ensure that meat, particular ground beef, is well-cooked.
    4. Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, dairy products and fruit juices such as apple cider.
    5. Try not to swallow water when playing or swimming in lakes, streams, ponds, or man-made swimming pools.

    If drinking water is contaminated, boil the water to a rolling boil to kill off any bacteria that may be present, or filter the water using a good quality filter that is capable of removing bacteria.

  • Fluoride in Drinking Water Linked to Urinary Stone Disease

    Fluoride is routinely added to our drinking water as it is believed to provide certain health benefits. But is this really the case? A study conducted by a team of Russian and Australian scientists, which was recently published in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry, reveals that fluoride added to toothpaste and drinking water may in fact increase the likelihood of Urinary Stone Disease – an excruciatingly painful disease of the urinary tract.


    Urinary stones can form in the kidneys (kidney stones) or bladder (bladder stones) as a result of dehydration, which causes minerals that are present in the food we eat to form concentrated crystals rather than be flushed from the urinary system. Urinary stones typically consist of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and fluoride ions, as well as cystine and uric acid.

    Study Details

    To gain a better understanding of which minerals are responsible for the formation of urinary stones to enable us to take preventative measures, the research team analyzed a sample of 20 urinary stones from Russian patients using ion chromatography technology. Their analysis revealed that 80% of the urinary stones contained fluoride ions, mostly at low concentrations; but two stones consisted of high concentrations (> 0.5 mg) of fluoride. They attributed this to high concentrations of fluoride present in the patient's urine, which could stem from fluoridated drinking water or from ingesting toothpaste with fluoride added.

    According to the researchers, fluoride ions are known to possess an exceptional affinity to calcium ions, which leads them to believe that hyperfluorosis – chronic disease developing due to excessive amounts of fluorine and its compounds being absorbed into the body over a long period – to be a possible cause of Urinary Stone Disease.
    Fluoride is added to municipal drinking water in the belief that it helps combat tooth decay. However, according to the Fluoride Action Network, drinking water fluoridation actually involves adding a concoction of chemicals – sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, and hydrofluorosilicic acid – that are in fact unpurified waste products from industry and mining, which in some cases are contaminated with other toxic pollutants, such as arsenic. Hydrofluorosilicic acid is highly corrosive and is also associated with leaching lead from lead pipes, resulting in higher exposure to lead – another toxic drinking water contaminant.

    Fluoride Controversy

    Fluoridation of municipal drinking water is a controversial issue, with some believing that it promotes tooth health, while others hold a completely different view. Drinking water fluorination is known to cause dental fluorosis – discoloration of the teeth – in children exposed to high levels of fluoride, and has also been associated with other health issues, including bone cancer. A study conducted by the World Health Organization showed that European countries who do not fluoridate their drinking water do not have elevated levels of tooth decay, and in some cases fare better than countries that do.

    Some people consider fluoridation of drinking water to be a form of forced mass medication. If you would prefer to not have these chemicals forced upon you, you can take steps to remove them from your drinking water by filtering your water with a good quality water filter. The Berkey range of filter systems will remove lead and other contaminants, and can be fitted with additional fluoride and arsenic filters in the lower chamber to remove these contaminants from your drinking water.

  • You Can Provide Kids with Water but You Can't Make 'em Drink

    The USDA mandate requiring all schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program to make free drinking water accessible to all students is now in effect. A research team hailing from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Chicago recently conducted a follow up study assessing compliance with this newly implemented requirement together with general perceptions regarding water quality and drinking fountain hygiene. They found that while most schools provided access to drinking water to meet the new USDA requirement, there is room for improvement both in terms of providing better access to drinking water, and promoting water consumption amongst students.

    water fountain

    Water consumption improves general health and well being. Yet, less than 33% of children and teenagers drink the recommended daily water quota for their age category, and 25% of adolescents consuming less than one glass of water per day. Many children quench their thirst with sugary beverages rather than water, which can lead to dental problems and obesity.

    The study, which was recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that most schools provided access to drinking water via drinking fountains placed in school cafeterias, and in some cases, cups for easily accessing water from drinking fountains; by providing students with free bottled water; or by placing water pitchers on dining tables. While compliance was good overall, the researchers found that schools in Southern states were most likely to meet the new requirements compared to other states in the US.

    According to Dr Lindsey Turner, a Research Scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and co-author of the paper: “This is consistent with other nationally-representative research showing that school districts in the South have made faster progress in developing nutrition-related school wellness policies, and that they have stronger policies than do districts in other regions of the US.”

    The researchers also examined potential hurdles that may reduce the likelihood of students taking advantage of the free drinking water on offer. They found that while most students surveyed indicated that their school's drinking fountains were 'clean' or 'very clean', there was still concern in terms of drinking fountain hygiene and/or water quality – roughly 25% of students attending middle- and high schools were concerned about drinking water quality.

    In some cases, while free drinking water may be provided, it may not be easily accessible to all students, which could be another hurdle that may prevent students from consuming the free drinking water on offer.

    “Although many schools rely on water fountains,” explains Dr. Turner, “fountains may not be very effective at encouraging water consumption. The elementary students may need permission to get up, and if water is not available on the table with the meal, students must make a special trip and may have to wait in line to get water. So in terms of practicality, drinking fountains may not meet the need for access to water during meals.”

    If your child does not have access to free drinking water at school, or if you are concerned about drinking water quality or the cleanliness of drinking fountains, you could opt for a portable filter water bottle, which can be filled at home and topped up at school. The sport berkey has a filter element that will remove any contaminants from the water, ensuring that it is safe and healthy for your child to drink.

    Journal Reference:

    Nancy Hood, Lindsey Turner, Natalie Colabianchi, Frank Chaloupka, & Lloyd Johnston. Availability of Drinking Water in US Public School Cafeterias. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, April 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.02.001

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