Category Archives: Contaminants

Is The Safety Of My Fridge Water Impacted By Floods?

Flood Waters Impact Drinking Water SafetySeveral parts of the country, including our home state of Minnesota, have recently been deluged by rainstorms leading to significant issues with flooding. Part of the coverage related to this flooding, including stories published in both Minnesota and Missouri, has centered on the impact flood waters have on the safety of local drinking water.

This leads to perhaps the most important question of all, and one that we’ve heard from some FridgeFilters.com customers, is my drinking water safe?

In answering this question, we first need to determine where the drinking water dispensed by your fridge first originates from.

If your water comes from your municipality, ie ‘city water,’ the answer is very likely ‘yes.’ In the event of any contamination issues with local drinking water, cities will issue a boil water alert or advisory. Fortunately, most municipalities are quite good at being overly cautious in issuing these alerts if there is even a small chance of bacteria entering into a water supply (ie due to a sudden loss of water pressure or work on a water main.)

That said, there are notable recent exceptions, in both Portland, Oregon and Wake Forest, North Carolina where alerts were not issued quickly enough – leading to some residents reporting sickness and nausea.WellSafe Well Water Test Kit

The lesson that can be taken from this is that if there is ever a question on the safety of your municipal water, or worse, an ‘off’ taste or odor – boiling water prior to consuming or drinking only bottled water is advisable until a test can be conducted. Affordable DIY water test kits, available on our site here, can provide much of the data you need to make an initial determination.

If your fridge water originates from a private well, the issue is a little bit more involved, simply because every private well is different.

The stories linked to at the top of this post discuss the primary issue with well water safety as it relates to flooding: flood waters carry with them any number of contaminants, impurities and pathogens. As flood waters transform into run-off, they can quickly infiltrate wells, carrying all of these impurities with them.

If the water dispensed by your fridge is contaminated with pathogenic impurities, and face only the carbon filter in your fridge prior to pouring into your glass, these pathogens will still be present – for the simple reason that carbon filters are typically not designed to reduce bacteria.

Our advice for anyone living in flooded areas is this:

-          If you are a city water user, monitor the water news or reports in your area closely. Boil water alerts will typically be communicated through major news outlets.

-          If you are a well water user, test your water with a DIY well water kit as soon as possible. Even if your water test indicates that it is safe, our recommendation is still to flush your filtration systems and replace any filters in your home after all flood waters have subsided, to reduce any risk of being exposed to pathogens that may be trapped somewhere in your filters or system.

-          If there is even the smallest question related to the safety of your water, or any off flavor or odors, boil your water or use bottled water until a test can be completed. Alerting a rep from your local water company to your concerns may help expedite a formal lab test.

We also invite you to contact us directly with any additional questions at 1-800-683-8353 or to leave a question via a comment below.

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Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order at FridgeFilters.com!

 

Free Refrigerator Water Filters Are Being Sent To Our West Virginia Customers

Maytag UKF8001 - Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter by Tier1

Maytag UKF8001 – Comparable Refrigerator Water Filter by Tier1

On January 10th, residents of Charleston, West Virginia awoke to find that their tap water was undrinkable and unusable.

An unprecedented chemical spill from a storage facility managed by Freedom Enterprises leaked up to 7,500 gallons of MCHM (4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol) – an industrial chemical used to separate coal from rock – into the Elk River, just under two miles from the area’s water treatment plant.

This week, residents are striving to get back to normal as tap water has been declared safe again in most areas.  But after-effects, from odor to discoloration present in drinking water, persist in many homes.  In addition to dealing with these after-effects, residents are also instructed, by the CDC and West Virginia American Water authorities, to flush their lines and replace all water filters – including refrigerator water filters.

This type of event robs us of our peace of mind.  While we at FridgeFilters.com may not be able to help our customers in the Charleston, West Virginia area fully regain this peace of mind, we do want to do our small part to help.

West Virginia American Water Map Providing The All Clear

West Virginia American Water Map. All Blue = All Tap Water Has Been Declared Safe

This week, we will be sending all of our customers in the Charleston, West Virginia area a free replacement from our Tier1 line of refrigerator water filters*. Tier1 refrigerator water filters are built to fit all major fridge brands and provide the same great tasting water, virtually free of stated contaminants. We are happy to be one of the exclusive distributors of this new line of filters.

If you live in West Virginia and have ordered a refrigerator water filter from us in the last three months, no action is required from you – your filter is already on the way.

We hope this helps to bring some normalcy back into your routine.

If you have friends or family in the Charleston, West Virginia area that have been impacted by the recent chemical spill, we encourage you to refer them to us.  Provide them with the code ‘Facebook10’ to use at check-out, and we’d be happy to offer them 10% off on your behalf.

If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with our customer service department at 1-800-683-8353.

We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+.

*Important note: refrigerator water filters from Tier1, or from any brand, are not designed to reduce MCHM, primarily because not enough is known about this chemical. Replacing refrigerator water filters is a necessary reactive step after MCHM has been cleared from the water source.

A Low Cost Filtration System for Africa

Children collecting water

Two students at Penn State’s School of International Affairs developed a low-cost water filtration system which can be used in many parts of Africa. Kory Hansen and Jin Ju Kim are part of the school’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program. Their challenge was to use no more than 2 people and no more than $200 in just 2 days to create a water filter based on resources available in Africa.

When the students tested the filters on campus, it removed 99.9% of bacteria and would drastically help a communty’s water burden if the system could be recreated in Africa. An integral part of the design of the filter was its commitment to local African resources in order to ensure sustainablilty in the future.

Naturally, Kim and Hansen hit obstacles during their quest for clean water, especially once they arrived in Africa. Other than the language barriers, they said the people were warm, welcoming, and very eager to help them with their project. They have both decided to continue their work with this project and other non-profit groups to help those in Africa. Nearly 3.4 million people die each year from lack of access to clean water. Millions more have to walk miles to retrieve water for their family or community, but more often than not, the water is not fit for drinking. Luckily, many people in Africa may have the opportunity to begin filtering their water thanks to these two students from Penn State’s HESE program!

The Global Water Crisis

You've probably been hearing more and more about the growing concern for the global water crisis. Frequently, countries like India, China, and many African nations are mentioned when discussing the need for clean drinking water. Many people don't realize that the water crisis also hits us at home and our neighbor, Canada.

Love the Earth

Climate change and population explosion are just two factors in the global water crisis. Nearly 800 million people worldwide don't have access to clean drinking water and another 2.5 billion are without sanitation. It's expected by the year 2030, the worldwide demand for water will outweigh supply by 40%.

Many people think Canada has one of the most abundant fresh water supplies in the world, however it only has about 2.5% of the world's supply. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and reduced spending, the Canadian government has done very little to enact federal regulations on conservation and water quality for its citizens. What regulations and standards the Canadian government does have, many people feel it is old and outdated.

 

In America, many regions used to face water restrictions in the hottest parts of the summer. Now, those restrictions are lasting most, if not all of the year. Due to farm waste runoff, septic system discharge, and pesticide residue, one in three US lakes are not fit for swimming. In addition to gross stuff in our lakes and rivers, there are signs on the piers of the San Francisco Bay warning those who fish that the fish eaten from that bay may be hazardous to your health.

 

There are many ways you can do your part to help the global water crisis. It's important to conserve as much water as you can by using filtered water instead of bottled, taking shorter showers, and planting water-saving plants in your yard. Every step you take, no matter how small, will help ensure we have enough fresh water for the world in the future.

Is Your Water Fluoridated? Ask Your Dentist!

When you visit your dentist, it's highly likely he knows if your water is fluoridated. Since America began fluoridating many municipal water supplies, dentists claim to see healthier teeth in their patients. In communities where water is not fluoridated, dentists can quickly pick out a non-native because these patients tend to have fewer fillings and less tooth decay.

Dentist
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deemed fluoridation to be one of the top 10 greatest public health acheivments of the 20th Century. The EPA also has allowably safe levels of fluoride in the water to minmize the risk of fluoridosis. However, even with the constant monitoring of fluoride levels, many people in the US have a growing concern for the fluoridation of water.

 

 

Whether or not water should be fluoridated is a controversial topic. Many people and organizations claim that the fluoridation of water has reduced the number of cavities seen in a person and has increased overall oral health of the US population. Those on the other side of the issue see fluoride as toxic and site studies linking the ingestion of fluoride to toxicity and many other health problems. These same people are also frustrated with the fluoridation of water because it is a chemical which is not easily removed from water. There is no standard carbon water filter which removes the chemical. Only reverse osmosis and distillation systems can remove fluoride.

 

North Carolina Commission on Fracking

Recently, North Carolina approved the bill to allow fracking (or hydraulic fracturing). In 2013, members of North Carolina's Mining and Energy Commission (NCMEC) are developing regulations for drilling. Drilling could begin as early as 2014.

 

Scientist looking at flask
NCMEC's chairman, Jim Womack, believes North Carolina will require "stringent disclosure laws." Many critics of fracking have shown that natural gas drilling causes earthquakes and water contamination. If North Carolina can obtain full disclosure of all chemicals used in fracking, including the "proprietary" chemicals, it would be a first nation wide.

 

In some situations, environmental regulators may know what chemicals are used in fracking, but there is a question as to allow emergency first responders and medical personnel know the types of chemicals used. Fracking additives can be extremely dangerous and contaminate the ground water. One of the many additives used in fracking is a compound called biocide tributyl tetradecyl phosphonium chloride. In addition to potentially harmful additives, the shale itself can release flammable and toxic chemicals like methane and benzene. These chemicals, since they are being release from the shale, can move more quickly into aquifers and into our groundwater. Hope Taylor, executive director of Clean Wate for North Carolina, says, "This is our public groundwater. The public has a right to know."

 

At this time, there are no water filters that remove the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. As science learns more about the proprietary chemicals used in fracking, more filters and filter systems will be able to be tested for and remove unwanted pollutants.  

Is Your Tap Water Making You Sick?

We know that tap water in America is some of the best drinking water in the world. Many people in the world don't have easy access to any water, let alone have drinkable, healthy water coming from three or more faucets in their home at any time. While we are extremely fortunate, recent research indicates our wonderful water may be making us sick.

 

Bottledwater-trash-small

In the last twenty-five years, the number of children and adults with food allergies has sky rocketed. This is a growing concern for the general population, but only recently did researchers look into the link between the high use of environmental pesticides and water purifying chemicals. Chemicals called dichlorophenols have been used to treat groundwater to make it "safe" to drink. According to a study reported by TIME Magazine, over 10,000 participants who had the highest levels of dichlorophenols in their bodies were "80% more likely to have food sensitivities."

 

Because each person is different, the allergic reaction may manifest itself in different ways, however the authors of the study believe dichlorophenols cause a hyper-sensitive immune system reaction which causes common food to be recognized as foreign. These hypersensitivities are thought to affect different systems of the body which may control and regulate daily processes.

 

For the first time in human history, more people are living in cities and urban areas instead of the rural country side. Many people believe the difference in environment and exposure to different things can create more sensitivities and allergies in a person. Another thought is that since dichlorophenols are used to purify water, perhaps they prevent us from being exposed to more bacteria and viruses, causing our immune system to react differently. 

 

Although there is no proven filter to remove contaminants like medications and pharmaceuticals from our water, many water filters will remove heavy metals and contaminants like dichlorophenols. If you're concerned, have your water tested and we will be happy to help find you a filter to meet your needs! 

Will Watersheds Win the War on Fracking?

We like to update our blog with fracking information as often as possible. As more information comes out regarding the chemicals used and the water consumed, it's hard to find the good in fracking these days. 

Scientist looking at flask

Currently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), under the Department of the Interior, is developing new rules and regulations on fracking. These new rules include policies on over 750 million acres of both public and private land nationwide. The Secretary of the Interior has even noted that the current rules "are in many ways outdated."

 

The BLM's most recent draft of rules seems to be lacking in several areas. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wants to see the BLM require companies to disclose the chemicals used before fracking takes place, require a base water test of the area's water supply before fracking begins in order to tell in the future if fracking has occured, and they want the BLM to establish high standards for fracking well design and construction and prohibit the use of open air pits for toxic fracking waste disposal. 

 

Because frackings risk are so high, these desired requirements don't seem unfair. Some of the affected areas include the Washington DC water supplies of the Potomac and James Rivers. Fracking in this area would also affect residents of the  Shenandoah Valley area. In Colorado, the water supply for the Denver area (including Centennial, Columbine, Littleton, Aurora, Lakewood, Glendale, and more) in Park County could be targeted for fracking. The White River National Forest in Colorado, which provides water to Carbondale, Vail, Aspen, Gypsum, and Redstone, is also an area where there is proposed fracking.

 

These areas are high in population, so the need for stringent regulations is even greater. Millions of water supplies could be contaminated and without knowing the chemicals fracking companies use. Without knowing what's in our water, we may not be able to remove contaminants with a water filter and doctors may not know how to treat any ailments caused by unknown pollutants. 

 

With fracking becoming an increasingly popular topic, what are your thoughts on it? Share them in the comments! 

 

What Are Contaminants?

In water filtration, we use the word "contaminant" frequently. But what exactly does it mean? A contaminant is any one of a number of unwanted things in something. Food, drink, land, and filters are all things which can be contaminated.

Fresh tap water

 

Contaminants are vastly different which is why it is so difficult to make filters to remove all contaminants. There are also differing opinions regarding contaminants. Some people believe fluoride is a contaminant, while the EPA does not regard it as such. Because the opinions and beliefs are so varied, there are many filters available to help meet your needs.

 

When you learn about contaminants and the potential threats they pose, don't get scared of the tap water! Remember, America still has one of the best drinking water systems in the world and we are very lucky. First, you should have your water tested. You can get an at-home water test kit, or you can contact a local plumber to help you. You can also get easy to install point of use filters like refrigerator water filters, faucet filters, and shower filters to remove many common contaminants. You can also install a whole house filter system on your home's water line to filter all water coming into your home.

 

When in doubt, don't hesitate to contact our customer service team by phone at 800-683-8353 or by email at support@fridgefilters.com.

 

Food Allergies and Pesticides- Is There a Link?

By Megan Vick

You may have noticed lately that the number of people, especially children, with food allergies is increasing. With common allergens such as wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk (and milk products), fish, and shellfish, you may wonder why so many people have allergies.

Healthy-child-drinking-water

On December 3, 2012, the results of a study were released which tested the hypothesis that chemicals, specifically pesticides, in our drinking water may increase food allergies. The study did not find the two were linked. However, this same study did find (to no surprise) that both environmental pollution and food allergies are increasing in the USA.

The researchers found that while pesticides in water do not directly cause food allergies, the increase in chemicals in the water is associated with more food allergies. This study surveyed over 10,000 Americans regarding their health. Researchers analyzed the participants’ urine and determined that dichlorophenol, a chemical used in pesticides, weed-killers, and as a method of chlorinating water, was at measurable levels in over 2200 participants. Of those individuals, over half reported having either a food allergy or an environmental allergy (such as pollen). This information led the researchers to believe dichlorophenols may weaken food tolerance in some people, causing a food allergy. This could also explain why some children outgrow food allergies and why some adults develop them later in life.

Researchers did say that they cannot draw any specific conclusions on the link between pesticides in drinking water and food allergies, but there is enough evidence to warrant more research and more studies. Until we know for certain, it is recommended pregnant women, children, and those with a compromised immune system drink distilled or filtered water to help reduce the risk of developing or aggravating a food allergy.

*Read the whole article by Ryan Jaslow here