Category Archives: Drinking Water

What a Wonderful, Watery World

This article is
adapted from the original.

By Megan
Vick

 

Similar to Howard Wolowitz from TV’s The Big Bang Theory, former NASA employee and environmental
engineer, John Feighery, designed the bathroom for the International Space
Station. Feighery and his team needed to focus on efficiency, waste management,
and air and water quality to have a successful system aboard the ISS.

 
Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz

In 2003, Feighery changed his focus to helping the global
water crisis. When he spoke to AlertNet, he said, “I’d been working on supplying
clean water to three or four people in space, and meanwhile there are a billion
here on Earth that don’t have it.” This profound change in thought led him to
work in Bangladesh with a group from the US Health and Human Services Department testing
well water. While he was there, he lugged around heavy equipment and had to
take notes and chart locations by hand. Because of his other physically taxing
duties, Feighery decided this process could be, and should be, easier.

 

mWater App for Android

Feighery developed mWater. mWater is an Android app which
records vital information about any given water source. This amazing app allows
a user to input the results of water quality tests and map them. Users can also
notate the appearance of the water, scent, flow, and other defining features. Photographs
can even be uploaded to give more information.

 

 

mWater is an accessible and functional tool to help people
affected by the growing global water crisis. Feighery will be working with UN
Habitat and Rwanda’s ministry of health in the future to teach employees to use
the app. These employees will be able to continue to monitor water sources and
possibly even prevent an outbreak of waterborne illness from reaching the human
population.

 

The app is available for Android devices at the Google Play
Store.

 

 

Rocket Fuel in My Water?!

By Megan Vick

That’s right.  You may have heard about it on the news or seen it online- 26 states have found perchlorate (rocket fuel) in their public water supply. Now the EPA is investigating setting a standard for allowable levels of this chemical in the water supply.

What is Perchlorate?
Perchlorate is derived from perchloric acid and can be both natural and artificial. The most common perchlorate is ammonium perchlorate which is used in pyrotechnics, as well as a component of rocket fuel. Perchlorate can cause numerous health problems both in children and adults.

Rocket

Rocket Launch

Is Perchlorate in Other Things?
Undoubtedly!  Sadly, because it has been found in the water supply, it has been found in many foods.  Rocket fuel has been documented in as much as 93% of samples of both milk and lettuce and as much as 32% of organic produce.  In one FDA study, 97% of mothers tested had perchlorate in their breast milk!  Unfortunately, this seems to be an unavoidable toxin.  Because plants are often irrigated with perchlorate-polluted water the concentration found in produce may be found in higher concentrations than in drinking water.

What Does Perchlorate Do to People?
Perchlorate has been directly linked to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Because perchlorate limits iodide absorption, it was used in the 1950s to treat hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). It has been suggested by the CDC that those individuals with hypothyroidism may be even more at risk. Any additional exposure to perchlorate may be enough to cause significant and substantial changes in thyroid hormones. These changes in hormones could lead to a host of medical disruptions and problems-including weight gain, fatigue, and depression-over a lifetime.

Can You Protect Yourself?
Perchlorate is a unique problem to have in the water. It’s not something water quality tests typically test for, so you may not know if you have it in your water. California and Texas have the highest instances of Water test
rocket fueled water; however it’s likely to be in the water near rocket testing or manufacturing facilities, military bases, and chemical plants. The only surefire way to remove rocket fuel from the water is to drink 100% pure water—either distilled water from the store, or through a system (reverse osmosis or distillation) installed in your home.

The Future
Luckily, there have already been major strides to reduce perchlorate in water supplies. The EPA is in the process of setting allowable levels of perchlorate in drinking water. Ideally this will create new ideas and technologies to remove perchlorate from the water supply to better protect people. However, it may take the EPA two years (or longer) to set an allowable level, and who knows how long it may take to develop a common and price-effective method of removing it from water.

 

The Safe Drinking Water Act-What It Means for You

Tap waterLet's be honest-most of us give little thought to the source of our tap water, how safe it is, and who regulates it. We simply rely on the federal government and various state and local agencies to protect our drinking water. We trust that our water is safe and clean.

Thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), we here in the US have some of the safest tap water in the world. Originally passed by Congress in 1974, it protects public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply.  In fact, the SDWA is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water. Under SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.

So what does this mean for you? Your water is safe and you never have to think about it, right?

Wrong.

  • Since 2004 testing by water utilities has found over 300 pollutants in the tap water we drink-including arsenic, lead, murcury, BPA, asbestos, and Teflon..
  • More than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to SDWA and can legally be present in any amount.
  • The federal government does have health guidelines for others, but 49 of these contaminants have been found in one place or another at levels above those guidelines, polluting the tap water for 53.6 million Americans and increasing their risk for birth defects, cancer, organ toxicity, hormone disruption, fertility problems, allergies, and other health effects. 
  • The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001.

The EPA itself admits that the government can do more to protect the public water supply. They recommend that citizens:

  • reading our annual water quality reports
  • reviewing our communities' drinking water test results
  • press public and local officials for increased enforcement of regulations and improvements to water quality and infrastructure.

You can easily take the matter of safe water into your own hands, though. Yes, you should educate yourself; yes, you should be mindful of if not active in water quality issues. 

Yes, you should filter the water that comes from your tap-a simple water filter can reduce and even remove contaminants from your tap water. 

Have questions about the contaminants in your drinking water? Check out ewg.org, keep reading the fridgefilters.com blog, or give us a call at 800-683-8353. (We LOVE talking about this stuff. Seriously.)

My Water Smells Like… (An Exercise in Ick)

Fill in the blank: my water smells like_____________. Hopefully you answered "nothing," or maybe "chlorine." 

A quick Google search yielded some far more interesting results:

Water_smells_like
(Poop? Really?)

Unfortunately, most contaminantsgive no off-putting scent or taste to your water. (Wouldn't it be more convenient if we could taste lead in our water? Then we'd know we had a problem!) If you do smell something in your water, though, you might have a problem.

So what does your water smell like? If you answered:

Rotten eggs or sewage. You likely have sulfur in your water.  The presence of sulphur, or rather hydrogen sulfide, in even the smallest amount can make your water smell like sewage and can negatively affect taste. Small concentrations of  hydrogen sulfide in your water usually pose no health risks. However, higher concentrations can cause nausea and illness. 

Gasoline. You might have sulfur or iron bacteria in your water, neither of which poses a health threat. The more worrisome problem would be VOCs in your water. VOCs are a group of common industrial and household chemicals and are emitted by gasoline, fuel oil, paint strippers, and thousands of other products. Some VOCs are quite toxic, while others pose very little risk.  

Bleach. You're smelling the chlorine your public utility uses to disinfect your water. A simple water filter will remove up to 99% of this stuff, ensuring that you have clean water that doesn't taste like a swimming pool.

Garlic. Once again, sulphur bacteria is your likely culprit. 

Fish or dirt. A fishy or earthy smell in your tap water is probably the result of algae growth in the water reservoir that supplies your public utility. Any filter that removes or reduces VOCs will help keep your water from smelling like a fish tank.

Metal. Copper piping, magnesium in your water source, and iron piping can all make your water smell like metal. You're more likely to notice this smell if you live an an older house. You might also consider that the metallic smell is coming from the anode in your hot water heater.  (The purpose of this thing is to prevent corrosion in your hot water pipes, since most corrosion is increased by heat.  What happens is that the water literally eats this thing up so that it won't eat your pipes up.)

As you can see, many different factors can contribute to your water's smelling less than appealing. Ultimately, you solution will depend on what's causing your water to smell-which means water testing and sufficient water filters or water treatment systems if necessary-particularly if you get your water from a well and not a municipal water supply.

How Clean Is the Water from My Tap?

Glass of water
While the US has one some of the safest drinking water in the world, drinking water sources are still subject to contamination. Bacteria, industrial pollutants, disinfection byproducts, and even pharmaceuticals can all find their way into the public water supply and ultimately, into the water that flows from your tap. In fact, US water utilities have identified over 300 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink! More than half of these chemicals aren't regulated by the government and can legally be present in any amount. And the chemicals the EPA does regulate? They can still end up in your water supply. In 2010 (the latest data available), 10% of all community water systems sold water to consumers that violated at least one EPA standard for safe drinking water.

In truth, prescription drugs, parasites, and pesticides could be flowing from your faucet. The good news is that a simple water filter installed in your refrigerator or water line removes up to 99% of common contaminants. When changed every six months (or more often depending on your usage), your refrigerator filter protects you and your family from contaminants in the public water supply.  

If you're concerned about contaminants in your tap water, you might want to test your water for lead, bacteria, and other common contaminants with an easy to use drinking water test kit. Once you know what's in your tap water you'll be armed with the information you need to choose the right filter for your fridge. 

Not sure what filter you need? Just shoot us an email from our support page or give us a call at 800-683-8353. 

 

 

What’s in Your Water? Common Contaminants in US Drinking Water

Hands in clear waterPure water is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. But because water becomes contaminated by every substance it comes into contact with, by the time it reaches your tap it’s no longer pure H20.

While the US has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world, drinking water sources are still subject to contamination. There are many sources of water contamination, including :

Chlorine and Chlorination By-Products
Chlorine is a type of disinfectant, not a contaminant, that’s added to drinking water to control microbes. In addition to the objectionable taste and odor that can be caused by chlorine, chlorination by-products, such as total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), can form in the water. TTHMs can cause anemia in infants, young children, and fetuses of pregnant women.

Heavy Metals
Heavy metals like lead and mercury can get into your water from the pipes and plumbing coming into your home. The health effects of excessive exposure to these heavy metals can be serious, especially for young children and babies. It can cause delays in physical and mental development. Also, adults may suffer kidney problems and high blood pressure when exposed to levels above the EPA maximum contaminant level for extended periods of time.

Microbial Cysts
Microbial cysts can enter the water from human or animal fecal waste. Both giardia and cryptosporidium are microbial cysts—and they are tough to disinfect. What makes them tough is the way they operate. These microbes grow a cyst wall around themselves for protection in unfavorable conditions. When giardia and cryptosporidium reach more favorable environments like your stomach, their cyst walls break down and the microbes inside them release to potentially cause gastrointestinal illness like diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps.

Industrial Pollutants
Industrial pollutants in your drinking water can come from discharge from different kinds of factories and chemical plants-solvents, fertilizers, dry cleaning chemicals, dyes, insecticides, petroleum, and fuel additives are among the chemicals you might find in your drinking water.  Long-term exposure to excessive amounts of these chemicals can cause anemia, decrease in blood platelets, liver problems and even increased risk of cancer.

Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals
Chemicals like arsenic, radon, and uranium may occur naturally in the environment, but ingesting them in your drinking water can cause serious health concerns.

Pharmaceuticals
Trace levels of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, mood stabilizers, hormones, and painkillers have been identified in the tap water serving over 51 million Americans. In fact, many water treatment facilities may not be able to remove all of these types of manufactured compounds or substances.

Want to know how your water quality rates? Check out this drinking water quality analysis conducted by the eco-nonprofit Environmental Working Group and see what’s in your city’s drinking water.

The good news? A simple water filter installed in your refrigerator or water line removes up to 99% of common contaminants. When changed every six months (or more often depending on your usage), your refrigerator filter protects you and your family from harmful chemicals in the public water supply. 

By Becky Powell

 

How Clean Is the Water in My Community?

drinking water
While the US has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world, testing by water utilities over the last eight years has identified over 300 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink. More than half of these chemicals aren't subject to government health and safety recommendations and can legally be present in any amount. 

So how clean is the tap water where you live? Well, it depends. Water quality can vary from state to state-and even from city to city. Austin, Texas, for instance, has some of the safest water in the country, but Houston ranks 95th out of 100 for pollutants in its water supply.

Want to know how your water quality rates? Check out this drinking water quality analysis conducted by the eco-nonprofit Environmental Working Group and see what’s in your city’s drinking water.

I'll warn you…you might not like what you find out. A quick scan showed me that the water here in Apex, NC exceeds health guidelines for 8 different chemicals-including lead-and exceeds the legal limits for THMs-chlorination by-products known to cause cancer. 

The good news? A simple water filter installed in your refrigerator or water line removes up to 99% of common contaminants. When changed every six months (or more often depending on your usage), your refrigerator filter protects you and your family from harmful chemicals in the public water supply. 

By Becky Powell

Fridge Filters, Facebook, and the Quest for Clean Water

wa·ter·works 

 (wôtr-wûrks, wtr-)

pl.n.

1.  The water system, including reservoirs, tanks, buildings, pumps, and pipes, that supplies water to a city, town, or other municipality.
2.  An exhibition of moving water, such as a fountain or cascade.
3.  Informal Tears: turned on the waterworks.
Meet Tabatha Hackley. Tabatha's a college student who works in the Fridge Filters warehouse between semesters. She's just one of the people here who makes sure that your fridge filters are boxed up carefully  and shipped to you quickly–because Tabatha cares about our customers. And like all of us here at Fridge Filters, Tabatha cares about the people who don't have access to clean water. 
Facts:
  • Almost one billion people drink contaminated water every day.
  • Over 1.8 million people – mostly children – die every year from diseases communicated through water.
Last week Tabatha told us about a new Facebook app she found called WaterworksTM. She was really, really excited about it.
Waterworks3
It's simple.
  1. You partner with a Waterworker- a real woman working to provide access to clean drinking water in her community – via a Facebook app. Mine is Santoshi Ahrivar. She lives in India. She's 24 years old. She looks like this:

 

Waterworks4
2. You set up a small daily donation. One that even a college student like Tabatha can afford-like, 10 cents a day small. Santoshi and women like her get jobs distributing clean water kits; the people in their communities get clean drinking water.
3. Your Waterworker uses a mobile device to record the actual impact your funding is making, which you can see on Facebook: 

Waterworks5

And so can your friends. Sharing your stories from Waterworks helps encourage your Facebook friends to get involved, too. Turns out you don't need to be Zuckerberg wealthy to have the potential to change 500 million people's lives.  
Cue the waterworks… (sniff)
Want to keep up with Santoshi, Tabatha, and the rest of us at Fridge Filters? Just follow us on Facebook.  
Ff-logo-tagline

 

Got Water? How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in 5 Easy Steps

If the past month's headlines haven't convinced you that the zombie apocalypse is upon us, well, the zombies have already eaten your brains. 

Zombies

BRAAAIIIINS

That's right. We said it. Zombies. Sure, we're a team of highly educated water filtration experts more given to discussing micron ratings, but today we're talking ZOMBIES. Laugh if you want to, but when it happens (and it will) you'll be glad you read this. So without further ado (time is running out, you know), here's

The Fridge Filters' Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. 

 

1. KNOW THY ZOMBIE. Think all zombies are slow, dull-witted shufflers? HA! YOU'RE DEAD. Zombies being controlled by voodoo curses, hypnotism, aliens, or microchips can run just as fast as you or I. Scarier still? The Enhanced Human Zombie. Altered by viral or bacterial infection, or  worse yet–DNA alteration–enhanced zombies are the Terminators of the undead and can run, jump, and kill faster, harder, and more effectively than anyone but Chuck Norris. 

(FACT: When Chuck Norris bites a zombie, it turns human.)

2.  ARM YOURSELF AND GO FOR THE HEAD. Can't keep your silver bullets straight from your wooden stakes? No worries. If you've seen Zombieland you know there are buckets of ways to kill zombies. No matter your weapon of choice, though, go for the head–it's the only way to re-dead the undead.

(FACT: The word zombie entered the English language in 1929. That same year the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Coincidence? NOT LIKELY.)

3. PREVENT INFECTION. Sure, voodoo and zombie bites are responsible for like, 99.9% of zombie infections. But did you know you can catch zombie by sharing a drinking glass with a zombie? Not putting the paper down on a toilet seat after a zombie uses it?  Breathing recirculated air on an zombie piloted aircraft?

Bio

(Don't even get us started on zombie mosquitos and zombie chiggers. It's June in North Carolina, y'all– we'd be the first to die.)

4.  BLEND IN. Should you find yourself in the midst of a zombie horde, DON'T PANIC. Blend in to the crowd and move like a zombie. That's right. Dance the Thriller.

Don't have the moves like Jackson? You can learn a thing or two from these cute kids:

 

5. PREPARE. Gather food and supplies now, because the last place you want to have to go during the zombie apocalypse is your local Walmart.  In their “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse” blog, the CDC (No joke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention really has a "Zombie Preparedness” page on its official website) recommends having an emergency kit stocked with food, medicine, tools, and supplies to get you through till you can find a zombie-free refugee camp. The most important item in the kit? You guessed it. 

Water.

In fact, you'll need one gallon of water per person per day that you're on the run. That's a lot of water to carry! Those gallon jugs of water take up a lot of space in your survival pack…and at 8+ pounds per gallon they're sure to slow you down while you're on the run! You'll need something lighter, more compact

You need the Katadyn Portable Water Purification System.

 

Katadyn MyBottle Ultralight Series 24-Ounce Personal Water Purifier Bottle

Katadyn MyBottle Ultralight Series 24-Ounce Personal Water Purifier Bottle

 

The Katadyn bottle frees you from having to carry or locate safe drinking water while hiking, evading zombies, or any other outdoor activity. You just dip the bottle into any fresh water source, squeeze to force filtration, and voila! Fresh, clean water.

 

(Sorry. The folks at Katadyn aren't using zombies in their product videos.)

(Yet.)

Order one today and you'll be ready for whatever comes your way–the zombie apocalypse, the next big hurricane, or a hike on a hot day. We'll be ready. Will you?

Fridge Filters

www.fridgefilters.com


 

What the Frack is Fracking?

 Admit it. The first time you heard the term "fracking" you immediately pictured Yosemite Sam: 

Sounds like Yosemite Sam knew all along that fracking was bad!

In the natural gas business, fracking is slang for hydraulic fracturing.

What the rootin' tootin' heck is hydraulic fracturing? 

 In short, it's a way to get fuel out of rock by drilling deep into the earth and releasing natural gas by EXPLODING THE ROCKS IN THE SHALE LAYER. 

Boom
BOOM!

Are you picturing a full-on Michael Bay Transformers explosion? Oh. Well, it's not quite that awesome. There's no dynamite involved-just a mixture of water, sand, and toxic chemicals pumped underground with enough force to shatter shale rock. The process actually looks like this:

Shale_50833618_shale_extraction_diagram_464(image via the BBC)

 

So what's the big frackin' deal?

 Earthquakes. No, this is not a fangirl/film geek Michael Bay reference–turns out the fracking process can create small tremors. Man. Made. Earthquakes. Eleven in Ohio alone last year. Yeah, Ohio. (Not really an earthquake state.)

Methane Leaks. The process of extracting gas from shale also causes a good deal of methane leakage.  Methane leakage is problematic because a) stinky, b) major planet-warming greenhouse gas, and c) WATER! ON! FIRE!

 

Air Pollution. Those chemicals used in the fracking process? Turns out they're not so healthy to breathe… ok we're kidding they're totally poisonous. People who live near fracking sites are more likely to suffer from eye and skin irritation, headaches and nervous system damage, asthma, kidney and liver problems, and oh yeah-leukemia. 

Groundwater Contamination. How about a splash of benzine in your glass of water? No? Radioactive ice cubes? No?  Here in North Carolina (home of your favorite water filter company), our natural gas reserves are pretty frackin' close to our groundwater. That layer of rock between our water and our natural gas–it's not actually watertight. Which means those toxic fracking chemicals pumped deep underground could migrate upward and contaminate our water. The water we use for drinking, bathing, cooking, and growing food.

Say it with me: FREAKIN FRACKIN RACKAFRACKIN RASSAFRASSIN HAMMER HEADED HALIBUTS.

Waste. Today, nearly one billion people don't have access to clean water, while fracking injects trillions (repeat–trillions) of gallons of (now poisonous) fresh water in. To. The. Ground. 

Makes you want to go Megatron on somebody, right?

The Good News. Is there any? You bet your Shia LaBeouff there is. All across the country communities have banned fracking in response to grassroots groups committed to clean water.  A little education and a lot of passion go along way! Says activist Sandra Steingrabbler, "[My kids] are made of water. They are made of the food that is grown in the county that I live in. And they are made of air. We inhale a pint of atmosphere with every breath we take… And when you poison these things, you poison us."

 

fridge filters
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