Category Archives: Filtration

Charity Spotlight: The Rotary Foundation & Rotary International

By Megan Vick

 

What is The Rotary Foundation?

Rotary began over 100 years ago in Illinois and now has approximately 1.2 million members in over 200 countries. Since its creation in 1917, The Rotary Foundation has grown into a global force for good, thanks to the generosity of Rotarians and friends of Rotary who share our vision for a better world. Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

What do they do? How does it help?

The mission of the Rotary Foundation and Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty. Rotary's main objective is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.

The Rotary Foundation and Rotary International have many programs set up throughout the world. The programs are funded through grants; most notably the PolioPlus program. PolioPlus is a worldwide initiative to eradicate polio by providing vaccines to those who may not other be able to receive the vaccine. Rotary Foundation and Rotary International also help with eliminating fluoride from water in areas whose people are prone to fluorosis- a debilitating degenerative condition found in parts of India, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Rotarians worldwide also help with Disaster Recovery efforts when an area is struck with a natural disaster.

Rotary-Clean-Water

Who does it help?

Rotarians help anyone and everyone. The Rotary Foundation has volunteers to help provide clean water, support education , eliminate hunger issues, and improve health and sanitation both in American and throughout the world. Rotarians are your friends, family, and neighbors who help friends, family, and neighbors.

How can I help?

 

Visit the site for information on volunteering your time.

You can also visit for ways to donate.

You might also see charitable donation collections all around your town in convenient stores, restaurants, and shops. Please feel free to donate anything you can.

A season of change

Fall season of change

The cooler weather is finally here! Everything is changing as nature prepares for the upcoming winter months. After a long hot summer I am really excited to feel the temperature drop and see the leaves changing color. Of course, the changing seasons are also a great reminder to check on the little things around the house too. Here’s a little checklist for you with a couple quick home maintenance tips.

  • Inspect and (possibly) clean out your gutters
  • Clean or replace dirty furnace filters
  • Test smoke and CO monitors (especially if you use your fireplace in the winter)
  • Check for gaps in caulk and weather-stripping around windows and doors
  • Check your roof for missing shingles, cracks in flashing and wind damage

While you’re busy preparing your home for the colder weather, go ahead and check on your water filter too. One place you don’t want to see the colors changing is in the water coming from your refrigerator. Most refrigerator filters need to be replaced about every 6 months to insure the best water quality. If you haven’t changed your fridge filter in a while, go ahead and add that to your list. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the results.

Like Clockwork

Clockwork

April is a very busy woman. She works for Dwayne Johnson & Associates, S.C. an accounting firm in Waukesha, WI. In addition to the work she does in reception and billing, she also handles all of the online orders for the company. I asked April what she looks for when she shops online and she explained that there are two major factors on her list.

The first thing is to order from someone you can trust to do things right the first time. Because Dwayne Johnson is a company that is built around trust and integrity, two very important values when you manage financial details for your clients, they expect the same from other businesses. April tells me she has ordered refrigerator filters from FridgeFilters for the last 5 years and has never once “had to use customer service ever” for an issue.

The second thing she looks for is prompt service. Ordering a water filter is “something you need to do and get it out of the way” April explains, because “you want to put the energy into your clients, not ordering a water filter.” In a fast-paced business environment time is a valuable commodity and needs to be invested wisely. Having an email reminder when it’s time to order new filters and a quick click re-order option saves her time. “The efficiency of what you offer is very important to me,” April says, “I found the right place online to buy filters”.

A very special thank you to April B. of Dwayne Johnson & Associates for taking the time to speak with me today!

A semester of clean water

Backpack, check. iPod, check. Meal plan…maybe, what’s the cafeteria like? Sound familiar? Before you head back to school this Fall make sure you add one more item to your list, a water pitcher. Drinking plenty of water helps you stay healthy and alert. A recent study by researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City that monitored college students found that students who showed mild signs of dehydration also reported they felt less energetic and focused.

Brita Classic Water Pitcher

Drinking water is essential for an active and healthy lifestyle, but how do you make sure to drink enough water every day? One thing that really helps is to make sure you have easy access to clean drinking water. Those old pipes in your dorm may not deliver the best water, but with a Brita Pitcher you can filter out the contaminants and have great tasting water to drink at any time.

Bottled water is expensive and has a negative impact on the planet, but unfiltered tap water often has an unpleasant taste or smell. Brita filters remove bad taste and odor along with lead and other impurities to give you cleaner, better tasting drinking water. Using a Brita Pitcher with a built in water filter is the ideal way to stay hydrated on campus. Be good to your body, drink lots of water!

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Independent Investigation of Bottled Water finds unsavory results

Bottled water

I came across this article from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) where they tested 10 major brands of bottled water and found common chemical pollutants present in some samples. The report claims that bottled water from the Walmart brand (Sam’s Choice) and Giant Foods’ Acadia brand contained trihalomethanes, a disinfectant byproduct, in levels that exceed California standards for safe drinking water. The bottles tested came from manufacturing plants from several states, but some states tested far better than others. So what does it all mean?

First, you should know that the state of California has stricter standards for public drinking water than the rest of the country. This means that a chemical can violate the legal limit for a contaminant in the state of California and still be legal in another state. California also enforces stricter standards than the FDA when it comes to bottled water, which says more about the lack of action from the FDA than it does the state of California. Water that is bottled outside of California doesn’t have to meet the state’s safety standards to be sold there. Though, personally, when it comes to drinking water I want the best water quality possible.

According to the EWG study Walmart representatives acknowledged that Las Vegas tap water was the source for some of their bottled water. This easily explains how disinfection byproducts, like trihalomethanes, were found in their bottled water. Trihalomethanes are the result of a naturally occurring chemical reaction between chlorine and waterborne contaminants, so it isn’t unusual to find the contaminant in tap water that is disinfected with chlorine. Of course, the marketing of bottled water products leads you to believe that the water is more than just ordinary tap water.

Water from the faucet

If you look at the label on bottled water you will usually see a lot of 0′s. 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fat, etc. The bottled water industry uses this tactic to make you think their drinking water is more “pure” and safer than tap water. Trihalomethanes are not safe to drink and at higher concentrations have been linked to cancer and birth defects. Not all bottled water is created equal. The EWG believes that the FDA needs to crack down on the misleading labeling and marketing of bottled water as a safer way to drink water. As the article points out “Consumers could have obtained much better drinking water simply by installing a home tap water filter at a fraction of the bottled water cost.”

At the end of the day the message is to make sure you know what’s in your water. Take control of your drinking water quality and consider filtering and bottling your own water (preferably in a reusable bottle). At least this way you can be sure exactly what you are putting in your body when you take that first refreshing sip of water.

You’ve Got Mail

Thornton, CO

A resident of Thornton, Colorado, Chris works for Oracle America selling hardware and software. His work schedule allows him to work from home a couple days a week, but Chris tells me he very rarely drinks water directly from the tap. “The water is so bad coming from the city,” he explains, “it’s very hard water with lots of minerals in it”. Because of the poor water quality he relies on the filtered water dispenser on the fridge to get drinking water. He knows to replace his filter when the indicator light changes to red, but this time when the red light came on he had a decision to make.

Chris knew he needed to order some replacement filters for his refrigerator, but didn’t know how much longer his current fridge would hold up. He had ordered from fridgefilters.com before back in 2005 and wanted to order another case of 6 filters to get the bulk pricing and free shipping, but what if his fridge stopped working? So he sent an email to customer service and was “astounded that I got an email response in less than 5 minutes, literally. Two minutes later I had a response from a customer service manager” to explain fridgefilters.com returns and exchanges policy. Chris tells me he was amazed not only at how fast the response was, but also at how thorough the information was that he was provided, “it was almost over-explained” and the quick response “answered my question to a tee.” He was able to confidently place his order for 6 new water filters, knowing he could always return any filters he didn’t need if his current system stopped working.

You've Got Mail

When I asked him what brought him to our store he replies, “The website was great. I loved the side-by-side filter comparison chart that showed the best filter and the next step down.” When he first bought the fridge it came with the lower grade model from the manufacturer. After reading the filter comparison on the fridgefilters website he chose to go with the upgraded filter because it removed quite a few more contaminants. Now with his current refrigerator he only has to replace the filters about once a year. “You are one of the best companies out there selling online,” Chris jokes with me, “the only downside is only dealing with you once every 5 years”. I think that’s a problem we can all live with for now.

A huge thank you to Chris S. of Thornton, Colorado for taking the time from his busy day to speak with me.

The Seven Foot Knoll

I was visiting my sister in Baltimore over the weekend when I saw this really cool lighthouse known as the Seven Foot Knoll. Obviously, it is not in use anymore and has been moved to shore to preserve it as a historical sight, but it used to sit out in the water at the mouth of the Patapsco River. When the lighthouse was in use the light keeper and his family had to live inside of it for long periods of time because there wasn’t any easy access to land. They would take everything they needed out with them, including livestock and food supplies. For drinking water the lighthouse funneled rainwater from the roof into 2 large cisterns.

Seven foot knoll
Seven foot knoll cistern

The biggest problem with collecting the rainwater from the roof was the lead that was washed into the cistern with it. Salt spray from the ocean caused the lead roof of the lighthouse to corrode so when it rained the lead mixed with fresh rainwater and contaminated the cistern. Lead is highly toxic and is one of the contaminants that you really don’t want in your drinking water. To neutralize the lead they added powdered chalk to the collected water. Fortunately, modern filters are far more effective at reducing lead, but in 1902 it was a standard practice for the light keeper and his family to add chalk to the water.

Seven foot knoll cistern - sign

Becky Powell on Lightsaber Duels and Raising Healthy Kids

Obiwan-darthmaul

She may never get to be Darth Vader when dueling lightsabers with her son, but a quick check of her twitter profile reveals that @OpheliaRising is still “pretty badass with a lightsaber”. When asked why she has to act out the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi she tells me it is because her daughter insists on always playing Padme while her son plays Anakin. Wait, she has lightsaber duels with her kids on the living room furniture? I wish my mom played Star Wars with me when I was growing up!

Becky Powell (the real world face behind @OpheliaRising on twitter and author of the blog “Alice in Motherland”) plays quite a few roles at home including: wife, mother, writer, star wars re-enacter, and (my personal favorite) fellow Tarheel. I had been following her on Twitter for a few months when I was asked to interview her for the fridgefilters blog. Since her Twitter account is one of my favorite follows I was really excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the real Becky Powell.

One of the things you need to know about Becky is that she is incredibly smart (I did mention she graduated from UNC right?) and puts a lot of effort into taking care of her children. Naturally we spent a lot of time talking about her family and how to raise happy, healthy kids. When she and her husband found out they were going to have their first child they agreed to try and make the healthiest choices possible. Becky set out to learn as much as she could about how to take care of her child, “I read books, ate all the right stuff” she explains and even switched to drinking only bottled water. At the time there were a lot of people saying that tap water wasn’t safe and her doctors were telling her to drink a lot of water.

According to Becky that is when she first started to think about the quality of the water she was drinking. Her family has always been very health conscious and so when her second child was born it was back to bottled water, because “it seemed like a healthy choice”. She had read up on Bisphenol A and knew to only buy plastics that were BPA free, but then she started following @fridgefilters on twitter. “I read on your blog that BPA Free is not the only toxin in plastics and the thing that really worried me is that they can leach estrogen disruptors”. Now she tries to use less plastic, but if you have ever had a baby you know that avoiding plastics is not an easy job.

“Have you ever been to a Babies ‘R Us? It’s like the evil baby stuff Wal Mart,” she tells me “they have everything for babies and so much of it is plastic.” To make matters worse for a young health conscious mother she explains they also have a “huge display of Nursery Water, which is steamed, distilled, boiled water with fluoride added.” Why put fluoride in water for babies for their formula when the babies teeth haven’t even emerged yet? Oh, and Nursery Water also comes in large plastic containers. Which reminds me, never mess with a mom, especially not an informed one.

So Becky and her husband stopped buying plastic water bottles and switched to tap water. Their refrigerator had a water dispenser with a filter so they started using only water from their fridge. What she did not do was remember to change the water filter in her refrigerator. Ironically, Becky explains to me that her husband works in heating and air and often has to remind homeowners to change their air filters. It is really easy to forget to change your fridge’s water filter, but you really can taste the difference. Becky found that out recently when she got a new water filter and “within a day I felt that our water tastes better. Now our kids are drinking a lot more water. Our kids don’t drink a lot of soda, they drink juices and things like that, but I used to have to flavor their water to get them to drink it…now they are okay with drinking it straight from the fridge”. The best part is that her whole family is no longer drinking from PET plastic bottles.

There are so many resources available now trying to tell you how to raise your kids and there is no way you can do them all. I asked Becky what her advice would be for other moms. Focus on the things you can control, “for me it is all about making incremental changes for me and my families health.” A very special thanks to Becky for taking the time to share her story with me today. You can follow her on Twitter @OpheliaRising and on her blog at “Alice in Motherland”.

A (Perfect?) Gift for Dad

Number-1-dad

This weekend I will take a day off from everything else to spend some time with my dad. We will sit down and have a meal together, talk about sports, the weather and how his business is doing. I will remember being a little kid and how my dad always looked so tall (I still think of him as tall, even though I have known grown up to be taller than my dad). This Sunday I will enjoy time well spent with my father, but…before I can even think that far ahead I have to figure out what in the world to get for him!

Shopping for my dad is never easy and my whole family has to struggle to find something that he wants that he didn’t already buy for himself. This year I got lucky. Earlier this year the neighborhood well at my parent’s house turned the water brown. To be fair, their water is not all that great to begin with, but brown is never a color you want to see coming out of your tap. The two filters that my dad has set up for the refrigerator and kitchen sink kept their drinking water clean, but the increased sediments in the water eventually clogged the filters. So I got my dad some replacement filters for Father’s Day!

Before you judge my dad’s gift think of it this way, for the same cost as dinner and a movie I gave him 6 months of clean drinking water. I know it may not be the most exciting gift, but I know it is one he will use and appreciate every time he gets a glass of water. Just in case you think your dad could use a filter or two this Father’s Day (or if you are a Dad and are shopping for filters) be sure to check out our special Facebook offer for 15% off your order this Father’s Day Weekend.