From the Tap to the Bottle and Back Again - Great American Bottled Water Ripoff
Chlorinated Water Found To Increase Risk of Bladder Cancer - Study
Facts about Vancouver Drinking Water - Article from YourWaterMasters.com
Water Filtration Process for the City of Toronto
Safe Plastics Guide - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
Most Common Questions On Water Filtration
Q: Are there more in depth contaminant tests that can be
performed in a customer’s home than OTO?
feasibly, most other tests for organic chemicals or heavy metals require
testing by a spectrometer or by atomic absorption. Both methods are very
accurate and require very costly equipment. Accurate and specific water
analysis can only be performed in a laboratory. The best method of
showing a consumer that there are other chemicals in their water is to
obtain a copy of the water utilities annual water quality report, by law
they have to provide it. The OTO (orthotolidine) test gives a good visual of the levels
of chlorine in the water and the filters ability to remove
Q: What is TDS?
Dissolved Solids, the total measurement by weight of all solids that are
dissolved in water. The dissolved solids in water are primarily calcium
and magnesium and would not be a measurement of contamination. Tests
that measure the conductivity of water (often used by companies selling
reverse osmosis systems) only give a rough estimate of dissolved solids
and should not be viewed as an indicator of water quality.
Q: Is Chlorine harmful?
A: Chlorine was first added to a community water system in 1908
in Chicago and was instrumental in eliminating many types of water-borne
disease such as Cholera and Typhoid fever. Prior to chlorination, many
major cities had death tolls of 1 in 1000 people from Typhoid alone.
Chlorine has been used to disinfect municipal water for over 80 years
and has had some positive effects on public health. In the 1970’s it was
discovered that chlorine, when added to water, forms Trihalomethanes
(chlorinated by-products) by combining with certain naturally occurring
organic matter such as vegetation and algae. In 1992, the American
Journal of Public Health published a report that showed a 15% to 35%
increase in certain types of cancer for people who consume chlorinated
water. This report also stated that much of these effects were due to
showering in chlorinated water. The National Cancer Institute estimates
cancer risks for people who consume chlorinated water to be 93% higher
than for people who do not. The effects of drinking chlorinated water
have been debated for decades. However, most experts now agree that
there are some significant risks related to consuming chlorine and
Q: Why do some areas test negative for
A: Virtually all city water systems contain some level of
chlorine. The level will vary based on outdoor temperature, the season,
distance from water utility and current usage. While chlorine may
sometimes be undetectable on a certain day with a standard OTO test kit,
that level can change dramatically day to day. Also, some cities use
ammonia at certain times as a disinfectant in order to reduce
chlorination by-products. Without chlorine, the dangers of water borne
disease would be too significant. An undetectable chlorine level, on a
certain day, does not eliminate the need for an effective chlorine
Q: What are chloramines?
A: Chloramines, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, are a type of disinfectant used to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the water. Most municipalities in Canada use free chlorine to treat their water supply. In comparison to chlorine, chloramines form fewer chemicals in water, improve the smell and odor of water, and last longer to prevent bacterial growth in water. Chloramine specific filter uses catalytic "Centaur" carbon in place of coconut shell carbon and will effectively remove chloramines as well as free chlorine from water. If you want to learn more about chloramines, click here.
USE OF CHLORAMINES AS A SECONDARY DISINFECTANT IN CANADA Ontario - Toronto, Etobicoke, York, East York, North York, Scarborough, Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, Brantford, Region of Waterloo, Ottawa
Alberta - Greater Edmonton Area, Camrose, Lethbridge, Red Deer
Saskatchewan - Saskatoon
British Columbia - Victoria, Abbotsford, Rossland
New Brunswick -
Nova Scotia -
This list is, by no means, complete. If you know of other Canadian municipalities that use chloramines and are not included here, please contact us so we can add them to the list.
Q: What do you do if you have water
contaminated by radioactive matter?
Radioactive water is not very common in this country and is a more
serious problem than should be dealt with by a home water treatment
system. Many people confuse the contaminant “Radon” with radioactivity
when in fact they are quite different. Radon is produced from decaying
Uranium ore and can be effectively removed by carbon
Q: What are VOCs?
A: Volatile Organic Chemicals are synthetic compounds that turn into vapor
at relatively low temperatures. VOCs typically vaporize at a much lower
temperature than water. Most synthetic chemicals found in water, such as
pesticides and herbicides, are VOCs.
Q: Why don't filtration systems reduce
A: “Filtration” systems are designed to selectively remove
contaminants and to leave in dissolved trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
These water-borne minerals are healthful and give
water a more natural flavor. Systems that remove minerals lower the pH
of water and cause it to be more aggressive. Low pH water will seek to
balance itself by leaching elements such as copper, lead or aluminum
from plumbing fixtures and cooking utensils. Cooking in de-mineralized
water will also draw the minerals from your foods causing a reduced
nutritional value. Water with a balanced mineral content has a much less
tendency to take on foreign elements. TDS (total dissolved solids) is
primarily made up of dissolved minerals and is not related to harmful
contaminants. It is very deceptive for companies to imply that a
reduction in TDS means improved water quality, in most cases it does
Q: Why would the filtered water from the
unit appear cloudy sometimes?
A: Occasionally, filtered water may appear milky or cloudy. The
siphon action in closing the faucet can create air pockets in the
filter. These air pockets will produce tiny air bubbles in the filtered
water that can cause the appearance of cloudiness. This air will disappear
if the glass of water sits for a minute. If cloudiness is noticed in the
filtered water, turn the filter upside down and allow water to run for
two to three minutes. This will allow the air pockets to purge out of
the filter cartridges.
Q: Can filters be used on hot
A: It is
not recommended to use drinking water filters on hot water due to the
potential for leakage. The soft rubber tubing on most Counter-Top
systems and the o-ring seals can soften and create leaks when exposed to
hot water. Most countertop systems are rated for water temperatures up
to 32°. Shower filters can be used with water up to 50°;
36°-42° is normal shower temperature.
Q: Do people on private wells need to use
A: There are many health
and cosmetic benefits to removing chemicals and compounds from shower
water, even on non-chlorinated private wells. Virtually all ground water
contains traces of some chemical or chemicals that can be absorbed
through the skin or inhaled. Also, shower filters help balance the
water’s pH, which has also a cosmetic benefit.
Q: How does a water softener differ from filtration
softeners are not designed to improve the healthfulness of water, but
rather to decrease dissolved minerals and reduce scaling of pipes and
appliances. These systems typically use a sodium charged exchange medium
that releases sodium ions and removes minerals such as calcium,
magnesium, or potassium. From a health standpoint, the minerals would be
preferred over the sodium. Filtration systems are designed to
specifically remove harmful contaminants and leave in the natural
Q: Are filtration products considered
A: Technically, a purifier would be a system that provides “pure” water –
hydrogen and oxygen with no other components. Pure water of this sort
does not exist except in the controlled environment of a laboratory.
Most references to “pure water” are in relation to the bacteria content
and not the chemical contaminant concentrations. The EPA defines “pure”
as water free from all types of bacteria and viruses. Each of these
definitions would describe a system significantly different from a
drinking water filter. Many filtration systems are designed to eliminate
chlorine resistant parasites like cryptosporidium and giardia, but should
not be sold as a means of treating water of unsafe bacteriological
Q: Are water products EPA
A: No, the
EPA does not approve anyone’s product. Only products that contain
regulated contaminants, like silver in silver impregnated carbon
filters, are required to have an EPA “registration” number. An EPA
registration number simply means that the product contains something
that the EPA has determined to be harmful.
Q: Do water treatment products require FDA
however certifications that apply to certified products require proof
that all component materials meet FDA requirements for food grade
materials. The performance claims of a filtration system should be
validated and certified by Departments of Health, like the California Department of Health Services,
to ensure compliance.
Q: How do filters compare to reverse osmosis
or distillation systems?
osmosis and distillation are non-selective de-mineralizing processes.
The water produced by these systems has been stripped of all mineral
content, which causes water to be acidic and aggressive. The healthiest
water is water that is free from contamination but still contains a
natural mineral balance. Filtration systems are designed to selectively
remove contaminants and allow the natural minerals to pass
Q: Are whole house systems (P.O.E.-
point-of-entry) better than counter-top filters (P.O.U.–
systems are by far the best way to ensure the highest quality water
since many water-borne contaminants come from the plumbing in your
house, especially lead and vinyl chloride from the piping. By filtering
water at the point-of-use you remove contaminants just prior to
consumption, eliminating the chance of recontamination. Point-of-entry
systems are very beneficial in that they provide filtered water to all
baths and showers as well as other water appliances. By filtering all
the water going into your home you improve not only the healthfulness of
the water, but you greatly improve the indoor air quality by removing
chlorine and other chemicals that vaporize and get into the indoor
Q: How do you know if there are contaminants
in your water?
A: All public water
systems contain some level of one or more unhealthful chemicals.
Regulations only require periodic testing of about 86 chemicals. There
are now more than 75,000 chemicals used in our society with over 1000
new ones being developed each year. Contaminant levels fluctuate
throughout the year making it impossible to know the actual level of
contamination in a central water system. So far over 2100 toxic
chemicals have been detected in America’s water systems. The risk is
high and the cost for a sure solution is low.
Q: What are some good web sites to find documentation on water
Resources Defense Council, Environmental Working Group,
Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention are all good informational sites with numerous documented
studies on water problems.
Q: Do filter systems remove radon?
A: Radon is a gas
produced by decaying uranium and is more often a problem when airborne,
however some areas may have radon in the water, which can be effectively
removed by most carbon filters.
Q: Does the AQ-4000 system use silver to prevent bacteria from
growing inside the filter?
A: No, silver is used in
some systems to reduce bacteria growth, however, silver is a toxic metal
that can leach into the filtered water. The type of bacteria
(heterotrophic) that can colonize on carbon media are very slow growing
bacteria and are typically only a problem with filters that are used for
12 months or longer without cartridge replacement.
Q: What materials make up the housing of the Aquasana Countertop?
A: The AQ-4000 is made with FDA approved , food grade ABS 15% glass plastic for the housing and LDPE (low density polyethylene) for the tubing.
Q: Does this filter remove chloramines?
A: The AQ-4000 will reduce chloramines by up to 99%, but not for a full 2400 litres. Because chloramines are a combination of ammonia and chlorine, they will exhaust the filters after about 1900 litres (which means testing showed that the system was actually good for 3800 litres, as testing is done for twice the advertised capacity), or about 5 months (actually 10 months). This does not mean you can extend the lifespan of your AQ-4000 to 10 months, as other factors, like bacterial growth come into play. Cartridges on the AQ-4000 used in a chloramine environment should be changed every 5 months, for a family of 4-5 people. For smaller families, they should be changed every 6 months.
Q: What are the dimensions of the filter unit?
A: The dimensions of the AQ-4000 are 23.25cm x 17cm x 9cm.