They have us coming and going

The companies selling us filters to remove “forever chemicals” from our drinking water are the ones who put them there.

We recently installed an under sink reverse osmosis system1, mostly to improve the taste of our drinking water and to limit scaling in tea kettles and coffee machines.

iSpring under sink reverse osmosis system

Our water comes from a community well. The water has tested below State detection limits for PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, commonly known as “Forever Chemicals”), and is chlorinated and treated for arsenic, iron, and manganese. It remains hard water that scales tea kettles, smells of chlorine, and still contains a little arsenic. Other organic compounds tested, such as volatile organic compounds, synthetic organic compounds such as pesticides and herbicides, and disinfection byproducts, are low, but more could be present that are not tested. We decided to put in a filter that would take care of all of these contaminants as well as improving the taste. The six-stage filter system we chose is designed to do just that. Installation was straightforward and we’re happy with the results. No more descaling the espresso machine!

Many people whose water tests positive for PFAS install these filter systems to remove it. The PFAS compounds most commonly found at hazardous levels in drinking water were manufactured primarily by 3M and Dupont. The health effects of PFAS2 are well documented. Books3 have been written, movies4 made, and lawsuits5 filed about these companies’ disregard for the suffering caused by these materials. Most of Dupont was acquired by Dow Chemical, although the PFAS business was spun off into a separate company. Dow Chemical also manufactures some of the other hazardous synthetic organic compounds found in drinking water.

While many companies assemble and sell reverse osmosis (RO) systems, only a handful manufacture the active filter elements that do most of the work of removing PFAS and other significant contaminants. On unboxing our RO system, I was shocked, but not surprised, to find that the granulated active carbon filter in the second stage is manufactured by 3M, and that the reverse osmosis membrane in the fifth stage is manufactured by the Filmtec subsidiary of Dow Chemical, formerly a subsidiary of Dupont.

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