Warning: Counterfeit & Imitation Water Filters May Be Hazardous to Your Health
While it may be acceptable for some products to be manufactured in China, when it comes to health related items like food, medicines, medical items and water purifiers, you should carefully consider the source.
Chinese manufacturers have a long-established track record of producing compromised products. Examples include contaminated pet food and treats, toys1,2 coated with lead paint3, and defective drywall that made consumers sick.4
When buying a water filter system, protect your family’s health by evaluating products carefully. There is no substitute for Berkey® quality.
1. Don’t fall for “it fits, so it’s a replacement” statements
2. Know that filtration does NOT equal purification
3. Beware of general “NSF” claims
4. Scrutinize vague or misleading claims
5. Watch out for conflicting statements
6. Inspect element lifespan claims carefully
7. Demand testing
8. Evaluate warranties and customer service
9. Read the fine print
The Bottom Line
Always buy from brands you trust, and know where the items are made. If something seems suspicious, your instincts are probably right.
For more information about Chinese manufacturing problems, we suggest reading Paul Midler’s book, “Poorly Made in China: An Insider’s Account of the China Production Game” .
Let’s Take a Closer Look
Beware of general “NSF” claims
Some knockoff, imitation manufacturers also make filters for whole-house and in-refrigerator filtration systems. Understand that the NSF testing protocols for those applications are different than those established specifically for gravity-fed systems.
Understanding NSF Standards 42 and 53
It is important to note that NSF Standards 42 and 53 do not certify that a filter removes pathogenic bacteria or other contaminants; the standards only require reduction.
- NSF Standard 42 (Aesthetic Impurities)
Under this standard, filters are certified to reduce (but not remove) aesthetic impurities such as chlorine and taste/odor in water that is already biologically safe and of known quality. Therefore, this certification does not pertain to the purification of non-potable water. Moreover, this standard is only intended to reduce substances affecting the aesthetic quality of the water only, or to add chemicals for scale control, or both.
- NSF Standard 53 (Health Effects)
A filter can be awarded NSF Standard 53 certification if it treats (and effectively reduces) at least one of the contaminants with health effects (such as lead and other heavy metals or volatile organic compounds), as detailed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Also note that reducing one unhealthy water contaminant (a 25% reduction qualifies as reducing) to qualify for NSF Standard 53 is nothing when compared to the powerful contaminant removal capability (>99.9 %) of Black Berkey® Purification Elements. View the complete list of contaminants removed by Black Berkey® Purification Elements on our website.
Watch Out for Conflicting Statements, and Inspect Lifespan Claims Carefully
We examined one manufacturer’s product listing, and found five different filter lifespan specifications:
- 6 months (as shown on the product package)
- 3,000 gallons for each filter
- 8,000 gallons for a pair
- 4,000 gallons for each filter
- An auto-ship option for as little as 3-months
That’s confusing and misleading for consumers.
Demand to See Actual Testing
Here is an example: one manufacturer lists results from testing they have allegedly conducted, but then fails to show the actual lab test results. You are expected to simply take their word for it. Moreover, the NSF test reports referenced below apply to refrigerator filters, not the gravity-fed filter advertised.