Response to Natural News testing of gravity water filters
Response to ICP-MS testing of gravity water filters conducted by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
What He Didn't Tell You
In the fall of 2014, Natural News released test results performed by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. I am the USA importer for Crystal Drop water filter stainless steel bodies. I wish to clarify some things that are not apparent from the summary results and headlines now circulating on the Internet.
Natural News is a Paid Affiliate of Big Berkey
Yes, the people who did the study receive compensation for helping sell Big Berkey water filters. They do state that they waited until after the test results were in before selecting Big Berkey to partner with. Here is a quote from the test results article found at http://www.waterfilterlabs.com/Introduction-gravity-water-filter-heavy-metals-lab-results.html
"Natural News formed an affiliate relationship with Big Berkey to publicize their filters on our preparedness websites (such as BioDefense.com), earning a relatively small affiliate fee from each sale."
The Test Only Looked at Heavy Metals
Most people purchase gravity filters with ceramic filtering elements for the purpose of removing bacteria and common chemicals from water. Only a small percentage of purchasers are specifically looking for heavy metal reduction. This test did not measure removal of bacteria or the more common chemicals like chlorine or fluoride. Crystal Drop does offer the AquaCera CeraMetix ceramic filter for customers who want to add heavy metal (and fluoride) reduction capability, but this filter was not included in the testing.
Selection of Filter Elements Pre-determined the Test Results
Of the filters tested, the Big Berkey was the only filter equipped with filtering elements that make any claim to remove heavy metals. When a person purchases a Crystal Drop water filter, they can choose from several types of ceramic filtering elements to fit their need. One of the elements we offer is the AquaCera CeraMetix. This filter element reduces levels of heavy metals and also fluoride. It seems odd to me that Natural News chose an AquaCera ceramic filter element that makes no claims to remove heavy metals to compete against a Berkey filter that does make such a claim, especially when AquaCera does manufacture a candle specifically designed to remove heavy metals and fluoride.
Let's say I wanted to do a scientific experiment that compared how many sheets of plywood could be carried in a vehicle. For my testing, let's say I chose a Ford Fusion, a Chevrolet Impala and a Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck. After running my tests and concluding that the Dodge truck was the clear winner, I could then write a headline saying "Dodge Wins - Ford and Chevrolet Failed Test". While technically true, my choices of models within the brands pre-determined the results of the test.
In the Adams test results, the following statement was made:
"Water filter performance varies from near perfect to almost useless"
This statement is true only if you understand the context in which it was written - i.e., heavy metal reduction. Had he chosen the CeraMetix ceramic candles in the Crystal Drop water filter body, the results would have been much different.
I agree that filter manufacturers need to do more independent third-party testing of their products. American consumers want to have the data they need to choose the product that best fits their needs. But when a testing lab partners with one of the manufacturers of the tested products and receives compensation for promoting a specific product, that has to raise a red flag. If you are going to test products for heavy metal reduction, then choose products that claim to remove heavy metals. This test could have pit the Big Berkey against the Crystal Drop filter equipped with AquaCera CeraMetix ceramic candles, or against the Doulton filter equipped with the Doulton SuperSterasyl ATC candles. It did not.
Individual consumers need to determine for themselves whether heavy metal contamination is something they need to be concerned about. Filters that reduce heavy metals cost more, so the premium price must be weighed against the actual need. In the event of a major disruption to the water supply, people should be concerned first with bacteria removal. In my 16 years of selling water filters, including Big Berkeys for more than a decade, I have had only a handful of people ask about heavy metal reduction. And with the Crystal Drop filters I currently sell (equipped with Aqua Cera ceramic candles), the consumer has the choice of purchasing standard ceramic candles, black candles that remove additional chemicals and pesticides, or candles that also remove fluoride and heavy metals.
In the test, Adams says the filters were obtained on Amazon during the spring and summer of 2014. While I don't doubt that Adams had a filter with the Crystal Drop logo on it, I don't know where he obtained it. I am the only USA importer of Crystal Drop stainless steel cans, and a fire destroyed our warehouses on January 1, 2014. From 1/1/14 until early November, 2014, no Crystal Drop filter bodies were sold in the United States. I am not saying that anybody lied - simply that the acquisition date and/or place is incorrect. I have photos of the debris field that include almost 2000 Crystal Drop water filter bodies.
The test did not include any Berkefeld water filters. Dealers who sell Big Berkey products often sell Berkefeld candles as well. Berkefeld and Doulton ceramic candles are identical - both are made by Fairey Industrial Ceramics in England, commissioned by the Doulton-Berkefeld company that owns both brand names. The only difference between the brand names is the packaging and pricing. Had the Berkefeld water filter been tested, it would have had the same poor results (in removing heavy metals) as the Doulton.