Description: Household water filters have become just about essential for lots of people. Incidents of municipal and rural water contamination have destroyed eroded trust in the safety and efficacy of large aquifers across the continent. But most household filters only catch particulate down to 0.2 microns in size. This may be a problem.

Contamination of communal water supplies has been an issue over time. One of the most cited incidents in recent memory was of lead contamination in water supplies in Michigan. During the last decade, groundwater contamination throughout the American shale oil and gas basin have left many increasingly pessimistic about drinking water integrity. Globally, the water filters market is expected to exceed 17 billion US by 2026.

Blind faith

Most of the harmful waterborne particulate that causes problems cannot be seen by the naked eye. Many of the big water filter brands found in households base their entire business model on this well-known fact. Interestingly, most home air purification devices operate under similar parameters to that of home water filtration.

Particulate that are 0.2 micrometers in size have become the industry standard for filtration in general. As far back as the 1950s, HEPA filtration devices have been filtering particulate as small as 0.2 micrometers from the air in public buildings and private homes. When people became concerned about water quality, manufacturers realized that it would be relatively easy to modify the technology currently used for air purification, to make it work in water too. After all, it is a relatively easy sell to convince people that many of the same pathogens in the air could easily end up in the water too. The end result was a marriage of convenience between water and air to the 0.2 micrometer standard.

The waterborne dangers of 0.2

Most personal and home water filtration devices capture particulate down to 0.2 micrometers in size. This means that they will capture most bacteria and metallic contaminants like lead, copper and magnesium. What nobody says is that this is not small enough to capture many waterborne viruses and chemicals.

One such example are protozoa. Protozoa are single celled waterborne microorganisms that are responsible for diseases like dysentery. Although many municipalities have devised effective methods of sewage treatment that kills many specific protozoa that cause problems, most that remain are smaller that 0.2 micrometers, and will not be removed by a standard filter. Most viruses are also smaller than 0.2 micrometers, and are consequently difficult to detect in water. Chemicals like chloroform and benzene are too small to be detected by filters too, and thus may be present.

Testing is the way to go

Household testing kits are available that can test your water for all of those pathogens and contaminants that are not detectable by filters. The advantage is that you will be able to make specific plans to eradicate specific contaminants, which may be more effective than the traditional one process to catch everything solution offered by filtration devices. Nobody wants to be ingesting something that could make them sick. Testing is the most objective way to rule something out. After all, tests don’t lie.

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