Water Filters Put To The Test
WASHINGTON D.C. (WUSA 9)-- Do you filter the water that comes from the faucet in your home? The Environmental Working Group believes you should. "I think its very important for consumers to protect themselves from water contaminants out there," says EWG research analyst Paul Pestano.
He says the contaminants in tap water vary, depending on where people live. But even the chlorination process used to disinfect our water supply leaves behind chemicals called trihalomethanes. The EPA has set safe maximum levels for these chemicals, but EWG maintains they should still be filtered out as often as possible.
Pestano says, "There's a lot of leftover contamination that comes after the treatment process, what they can't remove and what they add on."
EWG's updated water filter guide classifies filters by cost, most effective, those that soften water, and those certified to remove specific contaminants a consumer may be worried about, like arsenic or lead.
"EWG's goal was to include in this guide the products that are most cost effective, not too expensive, affordable to the consumer. Some water filters cost around $40 some over $200."
Pestano says filters using carbon filtration systems are the most economical; they include pitchers, and faucet-mounted attachments that cost about $100 a year. Compare that to buying bottled water for a family of four, which EWG estimates at between $950 and $1800 dollars a year.
So how do consumers know what specific chemicals or contaminants are in their drinking water?
Pestano advises, "The best way is to read the water quality reports that water utilities send the customer every year. A lot of people don't know they are receiving these reports. It lists where the water comes from, what processes the water utilities use, and what contaminants are ultimately left over."
Here are three moderately priced filters in their guide that have some perks:
-The Zero Water Filter, with it's five stage dual-ion exchange filtration system is $30 dollars and is specifically designed to remove chromium, lead and mercury.
-The Applica Clear 20 Cws 100 filter is a pitcher filter that is also $30 dollars and can be attached to a hose that fills 9 glasses of water in 34 seconds. It also can remove 99% of lead and 54 other harmful substances.
-The Sun Water Systems Aquasana, AQ-4000 is manufactured by Sun Water Systems and costs roughly $100 dollars. While it is a bit pricey, this carbon block is designed to remove various contaminants and easily attach to your filter without taking much space.
Once again, here's a link to the Environmental Working Group's Water Filter Guide. It also includes filter maintenance advice. Once you invest in a system, you need to change the cartridge on the recommended basis. Otherwise, bacteria can grow and leave you worse off than having no filter at all.