Category Archives: Drinking Water

What Pete Seeger Meant To Clean Water

Pete Seeger At Farm Aid 2013This week marked the passing of Pete Seeger, a folk-singer and activist, that reached the impressive age of 94.

In an obituary published by Bloomberg, Seeger’s influence on artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan – along with his overwhelming role in the emergence of folk music – are prominently cited.  Seeger’s life and accomplishments could, and have, stretched across several volumes – with his voice booming through more than 100 albums and thousands of concerts & hootenannies.  Seeger even performed at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration where he was joined in a performance of This Land Is Your Land by Bruce Springsteen.

When we at FridgeFilters.com remember Seeger, what will resonate most strongly is what he meant to the clean water movement.

In 1966, Seeger and his wife founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River and surrounding wetlands.  Clearwater, known for its hard-to-miss boat and impromptu concerts by Seeger and his banjo, was instrumental in supporting the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Seeger was named a Clean Water Hero in 2002, in fact, for his efforts in support of this major initiative.

Seeger’s influence on the cleanliness of the Hudson River is difficult to sum up in just a few words, but this quote from writer Michelle Nijhuis perhaps comes the closest:

The river was dirty, and now it’s cleaner. What’s wrong is being righted. What’s impossible is possible.

As recently as this year, Seeger took on another clean water issue by becoming a vocal opponent against fracking – a controversial practice where thousands of gallons of highly pressured water are pumped into the ground to extract natural gas.  Seeger joined the likes of Neil Young and Dave Matthews to protest this practice at Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid just this September.

When we think of Pete Seeger going forward, we’ll remember the lifetime of music and activism dedicated to the well-being of so many that depend on clean drinking water.  Fortunately, the video below that will play out this post – a clip of Seeger well into his 90’s playing This Land Is Your Land at an anti-fracking protest – allow us to remember everything this man encompassed all at once.

An RIP and a thank you to Pete Seeger, a true clean water hero, on behalf of all of us at FridgeFilters.com.

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Are you a veteran, currently serving in the Armed Forces, or are you buying a gift for a veteran or soldier?  Use the discount code ‘SOLDIER’ at checkout to take 10% off your entire order!

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.

Are You Ready for Spring?

Even though Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and New Years were a short time ago, spring is quietly sneaking up on us. Whether you're ready or not, it will be time to beautify your lawn and yard in just a short time. When you're planting this year, take time to plant water-conserving species to help you save water.

Plants

As more and more states are affected by droughts each year, many cities and towns impose water restrictions on its residents. Because water used for irrigation is good enough to be drinking water in many areas, we are only contributing to the clean water crisis. Two key components in water conservation is planning and management.

 

If your soil has high organic matter, like all the good stuff that comes from compost, it will help keep the soil fluffy rather than compacting. When soil is fluffy, water can travel more easily to the roots of plants to help keep them hydrated. Using mulch,even in the summer,is a great way to help your plants. Mulch keeps soil from losing water during evaporation. 

PRO TIP: Use a two to four inch layer of mulch around the base of your plants. It will also help reduce the amount of weeds that may pop up. 

 

When planning your landscape, stick to native plants which require infrequent waterings. Many plants can still be beautiful, but have evolved and adapted to live in your home's climate. Another characteristic of water-conserving plants are deep roots. Many home and garden centers are now labeling plants as native or water-saving, so be sure to look for these when shopping. Keep in mind that the native plants your cousins grow in Maine probably won't work if you live in Kansas.

 

To further maximize your landscaping efforts, be sure to know your area's hardiness zone and to get plants that can withstand the winters. The last thing you want is have a beautiful, water-conserving landcape in the spring, summer, and fall, only to lose it during the cold winter. 

PRO TIP: Check out the US National Arboretum's Hardiness Zone Map to help. 

 

Now, go start planning and planting! 

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! 

How Much Are You Paying for Tap Water?

At Fridge Filters, we're big fans of filtered water. We're not such big fans of disposable plastic water bottles. That's because water you buy at the store can cost anywhere from 50-2700 times more than filtered water from your faucet.

Say No to Water Coolers

Some supporters of bottled water may claim that their bottled water is from fresh mountain springs or secluded mineral wells on remote islands, however those claims may not be true. Recently, several businesses have been duped by water companies advertising "fresh, great-tasting spring water" when, in fact, it is merely municipal tap water. 

 

A plumbing company in Chicago recently filed a lawsuit against Nestlé Waters North America for this terrible lie in advertising. It was quoted "Nestlé Waters' failure to discloser this critical fact caused consumers to purchase five-gallon jugs thatthey wouldn't have otherwise purchased… and caused consumers to pay more" than municipal water costs.

 

Nestlé Waters North America is believed to have a 32% market share in the bottled water industry and sells brands like Ice Mountain, Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, and Nestlé Pure Life. With so many brands under one corporate giant, this lawsuit could change the face of the bottled water industry. There is already an increased focus on bottled water sources, labeling, cost, and environmental issues surrounding production. 

 

Over the years, there have been other lawsuits similar to this one. Even major companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been involved in them. At the end of the day, it's important to know that tap water in America is some of the best you can get in the world. Why pay 2700 times more when you can get the same great, quality water right from the filter? 

 

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!