Category Archives: Filtration

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!

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.

 

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? 

 

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

4396710 and 4396841 – Which Filter Do I Need?

By Megan Vick

 

Multiple times a day, our customer service team gets phone
calls regarding the PUR refrigerator water filter for Whirlpool/Kenmore. PUR
makes the filter for both Whirlpool and Kenmore brands and it does have many
product numbers. Both 4396710 and 4396841 will fit the same in your fridge, but
the performance may differ. Here is a quick way to help determine which filter
is right for you!

 

4396710

This is the “Advanced” filter for your model refrigerator.
This filter is slightly slower than its “Deluxe” counterpart, but it removes
more contaminants. It is also NSF tested and certified to meet or exceed NSF
standards 42 and 53.

 

The 4396710 filter is great if you have heavy metals,
pesticides, chlorine, and particulates in your water. We particularly recommend
this filter over the Deluxe filter if you have well water, live in a more rural
area, or if pesticides are used frequently in your community for landscaping.

 

PRO TIP: If your
refrigerator has “Fast Fill” or “PUR Measure” on the water dispenser, do not use this filter. Your water
dispenser’s performance will decrease significantly.

 
4396710/4396841

4396841

This is the “Deluxe” filter for your model fridge. This
filter is also known as the “Fast Fill” filter or “PUR Measure” filter due to
its higher gallon per minute output. If your water dispenser has either of the
two phrases on it, make certain you use this filter instead of the “Advanced” because
your water dispenser’s performance will suffer.

 

The 4396841 filter is excellent if you have lead, mercury,
chlorine, or particulates in your water. It is also NSF tested and certified to
meet or exceed NSF standards 42 and 53. We recommend this filter to customers
who have municipal water and want a little extra filtering of their drinking
water.

 

If you have any questions about which filter to use, don’t
hesitate to contact our customer service team by phone 800-683-8353 or by email
at support@fridgefilters.com. We
are more than happy to assist you!

Happy Filtering!

 

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.

 

Water Filters: A Boiled Down History


Supernova


14,00,000,000 B.C.E.    The first molecules of water form in space after an early star explodes in a supernova (try filming that, Michael Bay.)

 

 

4,000,000,000 B.C.E.    Liquid water on planet Earth–IN YOUR FACE, NEPTUNE AND MARS!

2000 B.C.E.    Egyptians boil water and use crude sand and charcoal filters like, you know, Egyptians.

Hippocrates

 

 

400 B.C.E.       Hippocrates designs a sleeve-like cloth filter. He uses his "water cure" to treat many diseases but sadly does not cure his baldness. 

 

 

 

500-1500 A.D.        Beer is the staple beverage of Europeans because the fermentation process naturally purifies water and they need more excuses to day-drink. 

1627    Sir Francis Bacon attempts seawater filtration. The resulting product is salty and undrinkable, much like seawater.   

1660s    Anton van Leeuwenhoek uses a microsope to discover tiny, living organisms in the water–cholerae, salmonella, and maybe these little guys. (On a side note OH MY GOSH DELICIOUS SHRIMPJUICE!)


Jonsnow

 

1800    John Snow (not that one) discovers chlorine as a disinfectant. Happily, people stop dying of cholera and typhoid.* 

 

 

1804    Paisley, Scotland installs the first municipal water filter plant. SLAINTE!

1972    The Clean Water Act becomes law (USA! USA!)

2012    Concerns about pesticide chemicals, industrial sludge, chlorine byproducts, and lead continue to motivate consumers to use water filters in their homes. Lots of people read the Fridge Filters Blog and get happy and smarter.

Ff-logo-tagline

www.fridgefilters.com


*Sadly, waterborne illnesses are still a major concern in many parts of the developing world. Please visit http://thewaterproject.org/ to learn more


Charity Spotlight: Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club

By Megan Vick

 

Mussoorie-Water-Project

In December, our Charity Spotlight was on the Rotary Foundation and Rotary International. In Cary, North Carolina, the Rotary Club of Cary-Kildaire collaborated with the Rotary Club of Mussoorie, India. These two clubs collaborated to provide sanitation and pure drinking water facilities to three schools in India. I was able to ask Scott Rossi a bit more about the completion of the project.

Fridge Filters:Scott, can you tell us more about the project and its completion?

Scott Rossi: The first phase of the ‘Purified Drinking Water System and Sanitary Facility Project’ undertaken by the clubs was dedicated to the students of MY Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir, Gandhi Niwas, Mussoorie on Monday, 27th June 2011. The second phase was dedicated to the students of Mussoorie Girls Inter College, Mussoorie on Thursday, 30th June 2011. The third phase was recently dedicated to the students of Sanatan Dharm Girls Inter College, Mussoorie on Friday, 4th November 2011.

FF: How did your club come to decide on doing such an ambitious project?

SR: Rotary has six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development. Our International Service Committee felt that well-planned water projects have the potential to address multiple areas of focus.

FF: What made the club choose India for the clean water project?

SR: Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club was part of three water projects last year. The first project was constructing soak pits or recharge wells in Kolkata City and surrounding rural areas, West Bengal, India. The second project was digging a bore hole well and constructing water storage tanks at a school in Our Lady of Lourdes School, Ozuoba, Rivers State, Nigeria. The third project was providing drinking and sanitation facilities at three schools in India. We chose these projects because of the needs that existed and because their were excellent Rotary partners at each location.

Mussoorie-Water-Project-Speech

FF: How can other groups do something similar?

SR: They can search for water projects that need partners/sponsors on websites www.waterteaminternational.org or www.startwithwater.org (a website run by WASRAG, the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group).

FF: What was the best part about being involved in these projects?

SR: It is tremendously uplifting to be able to help people and to contribute to the alleviation of needless suffering.

Special thanks to Scott Rossi and Carl Ryden of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club for their information on this topic.

Check out the video for the Cary-Kildaire West Bengal water project!

Rotary Club West Bengal Project